"Ethernet to the device" gets another big push from Rockwell with open source Ethernet/IP stack

After last week's announcement by Endress+Hauser at the Rockwell Automation Automation Fair of a Coriolis Mass Flow meter with native Ethernet communications, instead of Foundation Fieldbus, HART or Profibus, Rockwell Automation again gives Cisco Systems' "Ethernet to the Device" and the IPv6 Internet protocol a big lift.

Rockwell Automation has announced a development from the Odo Struger Laboratory at the University of Vienna-- a device stack for Ethernet/IP.

But what is even more remarkable is that they've already made it open source and posted the stack on www.sourceforge.net.

Here's the text of the release:

Rockwell Automation Sponsors Development of Open-Source Software Stack
Open-source EtherNet/IP communication stack cost effectively connects devices
MILWAUKEE, Nov. 18, 2009 — Rockwell Automation announced that it is supporting the release of a free, open-source EtherNet/IP software stack for I/O adapter devices developed by the Vienna University of Technology. Designed to connect a wide range of products using open communication standards, developers can download the new license and royalty-free adapter stack through SourceForge.net (

The open-source communications stack was created and released to the global engineering community by the Odo Struger Laboratory team of researchers from the Vienna University of Technology’s Automation and Control Institute. The stack is an open-source implementation of EtherNet/IP, an open network standard made available through ODVA. EtherNet/IP uses the proven Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) on standard, unmodified Ethernet to enable communications from I/O to IT, connecting factory-floor devices all the way up to business-level systems. Access to plant and production information allows users to effectively manage real-time control and information flow throughout the manufacturing and IT enterprise, which helps drive improved management and decision-making. 

“An open-source stack with a support community gives industrial product developers a faster, more cost-effective way to integrate their products with CIP-based networks like EtherNet/IP,” said Harry Forbes of ARC Advisory Group. “Using open source accelerates time to market, decreases software development risk, and reduces many costs of custom software development. In addition, the availability of a peer-reviewed open-source component for EtherNet/IP provides product suppliers with greater assurance of full interoperability.”

Developers can use the open-source adapter stack in a variety of EtherNet/IP I/O adapter-class products, including basic sensors, actuators, simple drives and I/O components. The lightweight, adapter-class stack is scalable and written in the widely used C programming language. Its modularity and flexibility make it ideal for developers seeking a low- or no-cost communication stack for simple EtherNet/IP products. 

EtherNet/IP allows networks, including motion and safety, to communicate seamlessly on the factory floor, along with other common sets of IT capabilities like video, data and telephony. This results in a converged Ethernet architecture.

To download the Open-Source EtherNet/IP Adapter stack, visit http://opener.sourceforge.net. For details about EtherNet/IP network solutions and other product offerings from Rockwell Automation, please visit www.ab.com/networks/ethernet/.