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Introduction to Industrial Control Networks

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2 Author(s)
Brendan Galloway ; Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, University of Pretoria ; Gerhard P. Hancke

An industrial control network is a system of interconnected equipment used to monitor and control physical equipment in industrial environments. These networks differ quite significantly from traditional enterprise networks due to the specific requirements of their operation. Despite the functional differences between industrial and enterprise networks, a growing integration between the two has been observed. The technology in use in industrial networks is also beginning to display a greater reliance on Ethernet and web standards, especially at higher levels of the network architecture. This has resulted in a situation where engineers involved in the design and maintenance of control networks must be familiar with both traditional enterprise concerns, such as network security, as well as traditional industrial concerns such as determinism and response time. This paper highlights some of the differences between enterprise and industrial networks, presents a brief history of industrial networking, gives a high level explanation of some operations specific to industrial networks, provides an overview of the popular protocols in use and describes current research topics. The purpose of this paper is to serve as an introduction to industrial control networks, aimed specifically at those who have had minimal exposure to the field, but have some familiarity with conventional computer networks.

Published in:

IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 2 )