The design and maintenance of an industrial Ethernet system is now a professional field with certification. Our advice is to get professional help early. Whether you train your own staff or contract the work out, this is not your office Ethernet. EtherNet/IP can be reliably implemented for high performance motion and safety applications, but only if the right steps are taken.
Your automation and control vendor network should be able to help you identify certified professionals who can help assess your requirements, build media standards and define systems to support your needs. These professionals will ensure that your network is verified as it is installed and certified to perform under operating conditions. Verification and certification are two final steps to ensure that your connected smart devices perform reliably.
Verification and Network Certification
Verification testing ensures that components of the system have been installed and wired correctly. This testing is usually performed as component installation is completed. Cable segments are verified for proper connection. Commercially available Ethernet cable testers are available for use in this process.
Typical instruments used for this process include:
- Multi-meter (DVM)
- Verification test tool that provides wire map, cable length and cable tracer functions (for troubleshooting)
Certification is a process that occurs after a network has been installed and verified. It differs from verification in that it:
- Provides baseline network performance data that can be referenced in the future for troubleshooting.
- Confirming that your installation can support the performance requirements expected (as connected and loaded)
Certification is conducted by trained professionals and is usually required by component manufacturers to honor warranties. It should be performed on any new network or those that have had extensive work. Periodic certification can be conducted as part of maintenance.
Tools and Reporting Required for Network Certification
Compared to the typical office Ethernet startup, certification is a fairly extensive process. But it’s an absolute necessity for a network supporting automation and control functions.
Certification is a combination of testing and documentation that provides a level of assurance that your network, as connected, is operating at bandwidth and within appropriate health levels. Network test tools required for certification are rated Level ll or higher. Per the ODVA, it is recommended that you use either a Level lll or lV tester. We typically recommend Fluke equipment.
EtherNet/IP, Benefits of Industrial Connections, Rockwell Automation