What is the difference between Ethernet and Industrial Ethernet?

what is the difference between ethernet and industrial ethernet?

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When you come across a technology, many questions arise. Is that the case with you? Usually, at home, we have Wi-Fi for data connection. Do you know we have better technology in terms of data speed? It is Ethernet. People deploy Ethernet networks in enterprises where network requirements are higher.

Different places have different versions of Ethernet. For example, the industrial zone full of machines has industrial Ethernet switches and networks. Do you want to know how they are different from the standard Ethernet? No problem! You can learn from this guide. This article will highlight the significance of Ethernet and how industrial Ethernet is different from Standard Ethernet.

What is Ethernet?

Have you ever heard of Ethernet technology before? Yes, if you work in Enterprises, industrial areas, and similar places where Ethernet applications are typical.

Ethernet technology provides data connection and power over a single Ethernet port. It works based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering principles. Moreover, there are different types of Ethernet ports.

All the data and power transmission occurs over the Ethernet port, ensuring a high-end user experience. Since we use a single port for everything, isn’t it astonishing for you? That’s why big businesses consider it a more feasible option to get.

How does Ethernet work?

To understand Ethernet’s work, you must first learn its anatomy.

Before moving ahead to the Ethernet networking, determine the following factors you would require:

The ethernet switch plays a fundamental role in transmitting the data over Ethernet ports.

So, how exactly does the Ethernet work?

  • You must connect the power device to the Ethernet switch with the Ethernet port.
  • Ensure your device works perfectly and all connections are in the perfect place.

That’s how you can get the Ethernet speed. Remember, it is different from a wireless connection. So, the network will require the ports.

What is industrial Ethernet?

If you visit the industrial area and check out their network communications, you can get an industrial Ethernet, another version of Ethernet that is more durable and efficient.

In actuality, Industrial Ethernet is the more compatible Ethernet with the harsh environment of the industrial production units. It sustains the higher temperatures and is more durable, enabling the connection without interruption. The standard industrial Ethernet protocols are PROFINET®, EtherNet/IP®, EtherCAT®, SERCOS III, and POWERLINK®. I have discussed these standards in detail later.

How does it work?

Industrial Ethernet works like standard Ethernet since the principles are almost identical. However, we consider multiple different factors that differentiate them.

You must install the Hardened switches or Industrial Ethernet switches in your system and connect your power devices to get the connection. Industrial Ethernet networks have rugged cables and connectors in the local area.

You can get the data quite efficiently once you have perfectly set up all the connections. You can install the Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet in the industrial zone and get over gigabytes of data speed.

Do you know what makes an industrial environment different from a commercial environment? Industrial environments have sudden fluctuations in temperatures, continuous noises, and the use of machines for inventory production.

Industrial Ethernet Network: All you need to know

Industrial Ethernet Network is a bit different scenario here. When considering the Industrial system, we come across multiple components that manufacture the industrial Ethernet network. An industrial Ethernet network is quite different from a commercial Ethernet network. So, here are some details about the industrial Ethernet network.

3 Fundamental Components of Industrial Ethernet Networks

Industrial Ethernet networks might consider different tools and machines. To manufacture a network, you must determine various facts before landing at your ultimate networking channel.

There are three primary tools to establish an Industrial Ethernet system. Here are these:

Hardened Switch

Hardened switches are more complex switches. They can be the Power over Ethernet switches with unique capabilities not present in the standard Ethernet switches. For example:

  • They can endure high temperatures.
  • They are resistant to damage. Thus, you can expect better functionality and high performance.
  • An industrial setting has a higher noise ratio due to the continued working of machinery. So they can tolerate the noise of the factory.

Hardened switches have higher capabilities and are compatible with the industrial network. So, you can purchase these switches.

Remember, there are multiple varieties of these switches. These can be:

Moreover, you can categorize the Ethernet switches into Gigabit and fast Ethernet. Most industrial areas have Gigabit Ethernet for real-time data management with 10GbE or higher versions for more incredible data speed.

Suggested Reading: What is an Industrial Ethernet switch?

Ethernet ports

Do you think industrial Ethernet ports are the same as the standard Ethernet? No. Not at all. They have the same categorization as Ethernet. I mean the Cat1 to Cat8, but with different features to ensure higher compatibility with the industrial control.

Industrial Ethernet ports might have the following features.

  • Rugged connectors
  • Power supply
  • Data transmission

You will expect a better system with the industrial Ethernet.

Power devices

Power devices are usually high-power devices. Therefore, the industrial sector uses the power over Ethernet to get the maximum power supply of 100 watts.

So, you can observe different machines that require different power. Depending on the given situation, you can employ the technology and power supply to the devices.

4 Primary Protocols for Industrial Ethernet

The Industrial Ethernet system relies on different protocols. You can check these protocols and understand why they can be significant.

I have listed four significant protocols of the industrial Ethernet.

Modbus TCP/IP

Modbus Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol are the first protocols developed for industrial Ethernet. It belongs to the Modbus family protocols that were first developed for communicating and supervising automated equipment.

Modbus protocol works based on the principle of the Slave and Master. One node, called the slave node, can not transfer the data packets until the control node, also called the primary node, allows it to do that. However, this protocol is old and is separate from real-time communications. However, this IP is under use for industrial Ethernet.


EtherCAT is another protocol in use for Industrial Ethernet. Ethernet for Control Automation Technology works on the same principles as Master-slave. However, it has some different features from the Modbus protocol. It was first introduced in 2003 and provided access to real-time communications among the devices.

This protocol can provide:

  • Data Acquisition systems
  • Industry Automation
  • Real-time Control Systems
  • Motion Control Systems

This protocol increases speed in two ways.

  • Only one device can send the data, which increases the speed of data packets.
  • It uses a technique called processing on the Fly. According to its principles, it can extract essential information from the data packets and send them downstream simultaneously.


EtherNet Internet Protocol is a commonly used Internet protocol introduced in 2000 that overcomes several data issues in the industrial sector. It is an application layer industrial Ethernet protocol supported by the Open Device Vendors Association (ODVA).

Unlike other Ethernet protocols, it is derived from other Standard Ethernet protocols. It provides unlimited nodes because of access to functionality like the standard Ethernet protocols. You must use a limited number of nodes to reduce latency and improve network performance with real-time communications.


PROFINET or Process Field Net is an industrial Ethernet protocol that plays a crucial role in data exchange between controllers and devices.

Controllers might include Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), Distributed Control Systems (DCSs), and Programmable Automation Systems (DDCSs). At the same time, the devices might include Input and Output (I/O) blocks, vision systems, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) readers, drives, process instruments, etc. The PROFINET protocol makes it easy to exchange between devices without worrying about user interaction.

5 Fundamental Differences between the Ethernet and Industrial Ethernet

Here are some fundamental differences if you want to know how Industrial Ethernet networks differ from the standard Ethernet networks.

The network Requirements

Do you know the difference between Industrial and commercial Ethernet networks? Both require different applications and deploy various features.

In the industrial system, we need real-time communications to check out the progress. For this reason, we must have a system that can recognize the given requirements and overcome the issues.

Real-time applications are reasonably implemented in Industrial zones. So, could a traditional Ethernet provide us with fast and real-time tracking facilities? Standard Ethernet uses CSMA/CD and needs more efficiency and data speed to reduce the need for industrial networks.

Therefore, the Industrial Ethernet has a different network requirement than the standard Ethernet.

Real-Time Communications

Do you know about real-time communications? Real-time refers to the current situation, offering and reporting within milliseconds to inform everything. For instance, if you install an IP camera in your office and need real-time videos, the live streaming of the IP cameras will be the one.

Now, the question is — How is the industrial Ethernet different from the Standard Ethernet based on Real-time communication?

In real-time communications, data must be so fast that it sends the information in milliseconds and microseconds. In the case of Standard Ethernet, it consumes time due to various network bottlenecks and even spends more time. So, industrial Ethernet is far better than Standard Ethernet when implementing machines and applications.

Stability and Reliability

The industrial environment is quite different from the home and office environment. For example, industrial production centers have heavy machines running and manufacturing products in bulk. The real-time monitoring reduces the potential mistakes and helps in the efficient production of the bulk inventory.

So, to cope with such situations, you must have a better system that is quite reliable and sustains the harsh environmental conditions in the industry.

The industrial Ethernet is perfect for industrial applications. Industrial Ethernet uses different protocols that can withstand harsh environmental conditions and fulfill the networking options at the industrial level. So, it is more reliable than the standard Ethernet and has less electromagnetic interference.

Security of the Ethernet

When discussing data networks, we commonly mention cyber attacks and hacker penetration. However, this is not the case because industrial applications need more than cyberattacks. So, we consider the explosion-proof system that will sustain the environmental conditions in the industrial Ethernet.

In that case, industrial Ethernet is a better option than commercial Ethernet. Commercial Ethernet is good at preventing hackers’ attacks and penetrations into the system. Compared to it, the hardware system of an industrial Ethernet network can be explosive-proof. It sustains harsh environments. Therefore, an industrial Ethernet network is best suited to commercial Ethernet.

Bus Power Supply

In the beginning, Ethernet didn’t consider this issue for future applications. The bus power supply is quite an essential phenomenon available at industrial sites. It transmits the data and provides the power supply to work equipment on the site.

However, industrial Ethernet has resolved this problem by providing a quick and efficient solution. So, industrial Ethernet is a better option in this case.

Final Words:

Depending on your requirements, you can come up with a better solution. Considering installing your surveillance system in the industrial zone, consider industrial Ethernet technology first. Similarly, you can use the standard Ethernet versions in your home or office.

For these reasons, do you need the Ethernet tools and switches? Contact HoweVision Professionals. We have all that you need for your Ethernet installation. You can get it all, from PoE extenders to Gigabit Ethernet switches.

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Hi, I'm Mr. Hua, The funder of HoweVision technology, I'v been woking industrial communication equipment for 8 years now, and the purpose of this article is to share with you the knowledge related to industrial communication from a China supplier's perspective.

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