Evaluating Software-defined Networking for Deterministic Communication in Distributed Industrial Automation Systems

Ben Schneider, Alois Zoitl, Monika Wenger and Jan Olaf Blech

IEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies And Factory Automation (ETFA),



As networks continuously grow (keyword Internet of Things) the configuration and management of industrial networks gets more complex. Additionally the trend towards Ethernet networks in the domain of industrial automation leads to the adoption of new Ethernet based technologies for factory automation. One of these technologies is Software Defined Networking (SDN), which provides a programmable and more flexible method for network control through an abstract network view. This work focuses on the evaluation of SDN in the field of industrial automation. It provides the implementation of a prototype SDN controller for direct multicast routing of industrial traffic in a cyclic switched Ethernet network using the Ryu SDN framework. For evaluation, experiments about the performance penalty introduced by switch-controller-communication are performed. An IEC 61499 compliant development environment is used for the experiment definition. The experiment results and the prototype implementation of the SDN controller showed that SDN provides great opportunities for a flexible and reliable network setup in the automation industry and is suited for real-time traffic.

subject terms:software defined networking, SDN, UDP multicast routing, Ryu, IEC 61499, switched industrial Ethernet