Some alternative proprietary Ethernet protocol approaches use modified versions of the Ethernet standard compatible with automation technology applications,. Fast Track Switching is totally based on standard Ethernet, but adds a new switching method to ensure that the specific requirements that automation technology places on performance anddeterminism are fully met.
Using Fast Track Switching, a user can port an Ethernet-based system into the automation world with the full use of all of the degrees of freedom that standard Ethernet has to offer. This includes the integration of components and subsystems from outside the traditional automation environment – such as vision or RFID systems – which may not support automation-specific protocols but which generally have an Ethernet interface.
Fast Track Switching technology can also be used in diverse automation environments, so that a switch can be equally effective in PROFINET and EtherNet/IP environments, for example.
The components which make up Fast Track Switching are Fast Ethernet switches in Harting's (Espelkamp, Germany) Ha-VIS FTS 3000 product family, which can detect and identify automation profiles (PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP and customized profiles), accelerate their data-transmission speeds and prioritise them.
The product family includes the Harting Ha-VIS FTS 3100s-A, which allows the connection of up to ten network devices over shielded twisted-pair cable. It supports Ethernet (10 Mbit/s) and Fast Ethernet (100 Mbit/s).
Fast Track Switching is protocol-neutral and can be used with all market relevant Ethernet systems. In addition, vendor neutral, flexible and cost-optimized installations are possible due to the fact that the switch, as a network component, solves the performance and determinism problems according to the Fast Track Switching concept.