Mesh network withstands multiple failures

Foxboro Automation Systems' new "mesh" network technology for Invensys' I/A Series system uses commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Ethernet switches, ports, and fiber-optic media in meshed configurations to provide multiple communication paths between network stations. The technology can configure ultra-high-availability, high-performance, 100 Mbps/1 Gbps, switched Ethernet process control networks...

01/01/2005



Foxboro Automation Systems' new "mesh" network technology for Invensys' I/A Series system uses commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Ethernet switches, ports, and fiber-optic media in meshed configurations to provide multiple communication paths between network stations. The technology can configure ultra-high-availability, high-performance, 100 Mbps/1 Gbps, switched Ethernet process control networks and field networks for new I/A Series systems.



In addition, I/A Series Mesh Control Network technology can be used to efficiently extend existing I/A Series systems. It also can be used to configure plantwide process control networks and provide a secure, high-performance link between I/A Series control processors and associated fieldbus I/O modules.

Foxboro says the significance of the technology is that one switched Ethernet network in a mesh topology with multiple communication paths can provide more reliability and fault-tolerance than a conventional dual-redundant Ethernet network. The degree of fault-tolerance achieved depends on the specific network topology implemented, such as point-to-point, ring, star, inverted tree, etc.

While all switches, ports, and network media (fiber or copper) are commercial off-the-shelf components, Foxboro's proprietary software for the stations that reside on the network (control processors, workstations, etc.) plays a critical role by efficiently managing redundant Ethernet ports in response to network faults. This extends the "self-healing" communications characteristics of the mesh network into the stations to help ensure nonstop system-wide communications. www.foxboro.com

  • High-speed (100 Mb/1 Gb) throughput with smart data routing

  • Superior availability to rapidly recover from multiple faults

  • Supports up to 2,000 system stations

  • Uses COTS technology to reduce costs