Time Sensitive Networking Moves Forward

Ethernet was originally designed as a best effort approach, but now there is a need for more time determinism.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Nov 11, 2016
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Ethernet has become the de facto standard approach for building networks, but it is still missing some capabilities. As the Internet of Things (IoT) movement grows, the need for improved Ethernet determinism has become increasingly apparent, which is why the The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) is launching three industry-specific time sensitive networking (TSN) consortiums.

The three consortiums include: Automotive Networking, Industrial Networking, and ProAV Networking. The core goal is to help enable what is known as 'deterministic' performance. With determinism, an action occurs within the exact same amount of time every time.

Ethernet originally was not designed with determinism in mind, rather it was built to be a best efforts connection approach. Over the years as Ethernet's usage has grown, multiple industry group have attempted to improve Ethernet to meet specific needs. The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), for example, has worked for a decade to add quality of service features into Ethernet that expand beyond just best effort connection reliability.

The UNH-IOL is aiming to help building testing tools to help validate deterministic capabilities needed in Ethernet by automotive vendors and industrial manufacturers.

"Standards-based precise time, guaranteed bandwidth, and guaranteed worst-case latency in a converged Ethernet network is a game-changer to many industries," Bob Noseworthy, Chief Engineer of UNH-IOL, said in a statement. "Through UNH-IOL’s industry-specific TSN consortiums, companies can be at the forefront and drive the technology forward by validating their solutions with a full suite of testing services, which will allow applications such as self-driving cars and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to take off."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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