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New Open Source Stack saves money

Scientists of Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) release EtherNet/IP? open-source software stack to help product developers cost-effectively connect devices to industrial Ethernet.

The Automation and Control Institute (ACIN) of the Vienna University of Technology announced the release of the Open Source EtherNet/IP? Adapter Stack for industrial Ethernet® products.

The stack is designed to connect a wide range of products that already follow open Ethernet communication standards. The new license and royalty-free adapter stack is available for download for free through (

"The stack's small footprint, modularity and flexibility make it both a time and cost-saving solution for product developers seeking a standard EtherNet/IP communication stack for industrial products," said Alois Zoitl, director of research, Odo Struger Laboratory, Vienna University of Technology.

The new communications stack was created and released to the global engineering community by the Agile Control Group team of researchers from the Vienna University. The stack is an open-source implementation of EtherNet/IP, an open network standard made available through ODVA, Inc. EtherNet/IP uses the proven Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) on standard, unmodified Ethernet to enable communications from I/O to IT, connecting industrial control devices all the way into business-level systems. The lightweight, adapter-class stack is scalable and written in the widely used C programming language.

The EtherNet/IP open-source stack includes all basic objects required by the CIP specification and allows for the addition of other optional or vendor-specific CIP objects that further expand a product's functionality. The stack supports both explicit messaging (server) capability and implicit I/O (adapter) target connections, including connected and unconnected explicit messaging, and cyclic I/O messaging across unicast and multicast CIP I/O connections.

The stack complements commercial off-the-shelf Ethernet TCP/IP and UDP communication stacks already in use inside many Ethernet-enabled devices. It has been tested on a number of hardware platforms, including Atmel, Linux, Luminary, PowerPC, ST Microelectronics, Windows (cygwin) and Windows CE. As incorporated into a product, the stack can also help accelerate the EtherNet/IP compliance testing process prior to the product's release. Similar to other established open-source software, a developer community has already started to build around the stack. Improvements and suggested modifications from this community will ultimately enhance the usefulness of the stack to its growing list of users.

Rockwell Automation, Inc. sponsored Vienna University of Technology in the development and release of the free, open-source EtherNet/IP software stack for I/O adapter devices. "The availability of this open-source stack demonstrates the openness of EtherNet/IP and makes network connectivity more accessible to a greater variety of product developers, all working to solve the contemporary needs of today's customers," said Kenwood Hall, vice president of Architecture and Systems Development, Rockwell Automation.
EtherNet/IP allows networks, including motion and safety, to communicate seamlessly on the factory floor, along with other common sets of IT capabilities like video, data and telephony. The Open Source EtherNet/IP? Adapter Stack extends the reach of CIP technology to new product developers and new classes of simple devices including I/O, drives, pneumatics, power components and other smart sensors and actuators.
To download the Open-Source EtherNet/IP Adapter stack, visit Products from various vendors utilizing the stack are in development and are expected to be available beginning in 2010.

(Trademarks are property of their respective companies.)

DI Dr. Alois Zoitl
Vienna University of Technology
Institut für Automatisierungs- und Regelungstechnik
Gußhausstr. 25-29, 1040 Wien
T: +43 (1) 58801-37683

Werner Sommer | idw
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