Ethernet Powerlink

Ethernet Powerlink is a deterministic real-time protocol for standard Ethernet. It is an open protocol managed by the Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group (EPSG). It was introduced by Austrian automation company B&R in 2001.

This protocol has nothing to do with power distribution via Ethernet cabling or power over Ethernet (PoE), power line communication.

Ethernet Powerlink expands Ethernet with a mixed polling and timeslicing mechanism. This provides:

  • Guaranteed transfer of time-critical data in very short isochronic cycles with configurable response time
  • Time-synchronisation of all nodes in the network with very high precision of sub-microseconds
  • Transmission of less timecritical data in a reserved asynchronous channel

Modern implementations reach cycle-times of under 200 µs and a time-precision (jitter) of less than 1 µs.