#WishIknew – How does DeviceNet work?

Field Network

When you have a question about process automation that needs a short answer, let us know with #WishIknew and @Visaya! We’ll reply with a #WishIknew post. It’ll give a quick explanation, then some related articles, videos, or reviews if you want to know more.

I wish I knew how DeviceNet works!

First, you should know that a DeviceNet network can support devices from simple sensors to complex controllers. Its trunkline-dropline topology means the main line connects to smaller lines. Where you have your devices connected to the network, each node should be no more than six meters from the trunkline.

As a loop-powered gizmo, DeviceNet can power your devices directly from its cables, although some devices need external power. DeviceNet also supports various data exchanges such as cyclic, polled, and strobed. You can define your setup too, such as multi-master or master-slave.

It can support up to 64 nodes,  and its end-to-end point will change depending on the baud rate:

  • 125 kilobytes per second (Kbps) – 500 meters
  • 250 Kbps – 250 meters
  • 500 Kbps – 100 meters

DeviceNet also uses the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) for the upper layers. The CIP follow the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model in seven layers: physical, data link, session, presentation, network, and application.

Usually, you’ll find this network with valve actuators, push buttons, detection sensors, and so on. You’ll rarely find pressure, level, or flow devices in a DeviceNet network. But a few will use converters, and you’ll sometimes find a flow meter with DeviceNet integrated.

This network can bring many benefits to an application, but you should study the pros and cons of each network on the market to pick the right one for you.

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