May 8, 2018 – The approach to TSN as introduced by the EtherCAT Technology Group is now supported by TSN technology providers and major switch manufacturers: Moxa, Hirschmann, Hilscher and Xilinx will all implement the EtherCAT TSN stream adaptation functionality in their TSN switches and infrastructure products. This will allow users to directly connect EtherCAT slave devices and entire networks to heterogeneous TSN domains without any change or modification to the EtherCAT devices.
In November 2017 the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) published a TSN profile that specifies how EtherCAT will make use of TSN technologies. Because EtherCAT uses TSN streams for deterministic communication through heterogeneous network environments, it is used where it makes the most sense: above the EtherCAT segments. This means that all the features of EtherCAT are fully preserved, and EtherCAT devices do not have to be modified for TSN at all. The TSN stream adaptation feature that connects the EtherCAT segment to the TSN network can be placed in the TSN switch or in the first EtherCAT device. Now, TSN technology providers are announcing their support for this approach.
The EtherCAT Technology Group is coordinating the TSN-related EtherCAT specifications through a liaison with the IEEE 802.1 Working Group. As a result, the ETG Technical Working Group can access draft IEEE 802.1 specifications and ensure that the EtherCAT TSN profile follows all the latest developments. The stream adaptation feature in the profile describes the use of standard TSN features and does not make any changes to TSN, nor does it require any changes in standard EtherCAT devices.