Real-time communication has been dominated by a wide range of proprietary solutions. Due to their lack of interoperability, real-time networks are often fragmented. This challenge has grown substantially over the last years and is currently one of the main obstacles in the digitization of production. Many approaches in the context of Industry 4.0, e.g. digital twins or big data, are typically located in an IT environment but require access to sensors, actors and control systems, which are located in an OT network. In order to fulfill these requirements, converged networks integrating IT and OT are needed.
In the context of Time Sensitive Networking (TSN), standard Ethernet (IEEE 802.1) is being extended with deterministic capabilities. As a result, standard Ethernet will fulfill the requirements of the field level, while at the same time enabling converged networks. The presentation provides an overview of the state-of-the-art real-time communication and analyzes the requirements regarding converged networks. In this presentation, the TSN technology, its current state, key features and use cases are introduced. We also talk about the open-source project AccessTSN, developing a Linux reference architecture including configuration, time synchronization and scheduling. Specific examples of how to use the new features are also given.