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PROFIBUS vs PROFINET: what are the main differences?

PROFIBUS and PROFINET are often compared and indeed share some similarities. However, their functionalities and features are completely different. Find out below about the main differences.

What is PROFIBUS?

PROFIBUS (Process Field Bus) is a fieldbus which is being used for high speed cyclic data communication in the world of automation. PROFIBUS has two different applications:

For each application PROFIBUS can use a different protocol. PROFIBUS DP (Decentralized Peripherals) is the high-speed version, which is mostly used for factory automation (i.e. logistics, production areas, etc). PROFIBUS PA (Process Automation) is mostly used in industries such as water treatment, oil, gas, chemicals, etc. 

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PROFIBUS PA runs at a fixed transmission speed of 31.25 kbps, where PROFIBUS DP can be configured to run at a maximum speed of 12 Mbps. PROFIBUS communication is half duplex, which means that only one device is communicating at the time. PROFIBUS DP is based on the RS485 protocol and PROFIBUS PA is based on the MBP-IS protocol, which is a bus-powered protocol.

PROFIBUS DP networks are most commonly installed as a large daisy chain, creating a fault sensitive network. PROFIBUS PA can either be wired as a daisy chain or as a star topology, but by using intelligent/advanced junction boxes, PROFIBUS PA can also be installed as a ring topology. 

What is PROFINET?

PROFINET is a fieldbus system which is based on Ethernet. PROFINET is one of the many industrial ethernet systems out there, which is often compared to PROFIBUS.

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PROFINET is a full duplex system. PROFINET networks are often designed as a star topology, or as several stars branching off a large ring backbone by using managed PROFINET switches. Because it’s ethernet based, PROFINET can operate on a much higher transmission speed than PROFIBUS.

With PROFINET, the cycle times are also adjustable for each device, whereas PROFIBUS has a fixed cycle time. PROFINET is applied in a wide variety of industries, such as automotive, oil and gas, logistics, etc.

All together: PROFIBUS is still commonly used all around the globe. However, we do notice that more and more companies (logistic companies in particular) are increasingly turning towards PROFINET systems nowadays.

For more information about PROFIBUS / PROFINET and customized advice for your network design, request a FREE online consultation with one of our experts! 

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