Tools to monitor and simulate Profinet networks

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The Bany PNIO network analyser and the Simba PNIO module in the Simit simulation system supplied by the Siemens Industry Solutions Division provide operators of Profinet networks with a number of new tools for efficient monitoring and simulation. While the Bany PNIO enables reaction-free real-time analysis of data traffic at rates of up to one gigabit per second and a resolution of ten nanoseconds, the Simba PNIO simulates up to 256 devices on the controller in real time. Mixed operation of real and simulated devices is also possible, which makes it easier to expand facilities and accelerate commissioning.

In industrial instrumentation and control, real-time Ethernet is becoming increasingly prevalent in bus systems at both field level and higher automation levels. At the same time networks have become considerably more complex while the availability of a production plant depends on these central networks. What is needed, therefore, is technically sophisticated and powerful analysis and simulation systems for testing, engineering and commissioning, as well as for maintaining efficient plant operation. Compared to other fieldbus systems, Profinet is claimed to feature high transmission rates of up to 100Mbit/s and above-average data security.


This bus analyser device can monitor the Profinet network autonomously and at all known speeds. It records data traffic reaction-free via Ethernet and Profinet at rates of up to one gigabit per second and a resolution of ten nanoseconds. Unlike other systems, which offer retrospective offline analysis of bus events only on the basis of message records, the Bany PNIO can be used for online analysis. All the important key variables are analysed at the moment of communication, evaluated and then entered in the statistics of the network. This enables a precise statement to be made on the quality of the network and configured cycles.

Based on a system platform with FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) technology, the functions of the Bany PNIO are independent of bus technology conventions. It has freely definable filtering and triggering functions and can be deployed for development, system testing and plant diagnostics. A Windows application handles the control of all functions and can control several Bany PNIO devices via a LAN.

Simba PNIO

This module allows real-time simulation of up to 256 Profinet I/O devices and therefore complete Profinet systems - all on the controller. Simulation is carried out reaction-free; there is no difference for the controller between communication with real and simulated devices, which makes mixed operation of real and simulated PNIO devices easy to handle. The Simba PNIO facilitates the development of new network components such as controllers, devices or switches and is also suitable for comprehensive simulation of entire plants. The modular design of the system, with direct access of internal processes to all components, makes it possible to incorporate complete automatic testing of units in a single device.

In conjunction with the Simit simulation system, the Simba PNIO module is an excellent tool for the automation of constantly recurring test processes or for configuring and engineering Simatic PCS 7 installations in the process industry. Another area of use is customer training: the Simba PNIO provides the future operator with a low-cost plant simulation.

Both the Bany PNIO and Simba PNIO are based on the same hardware platform. As a result, the Simba PNIO can be used as simulation hardware in the engineering and test phases of an installation and can then continue to be used in subsequent plant operation as a Bany PNIO network analyser after payment of an additional licence fee.

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01 May 2008

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