icNET Fieldbus Solutions

Protocol stacks for embedded systems

Today, field buses are used in various applications in industrial automation, automotive industry and medical technology to distribute control signals to actuators and status information from sensors in a networked system.

IBV offers software solutions for industrial communication under the brand icNET. In countless customer projects, IBV has gained experience with various field bus systems. Based on this experience, software products were designed and developed – especially for the use on embedded systems. With the icNET software solutions from IBV you can integrate a tested implementation into your product and bring it faster and cheaper to market.

Software Modules for Industrial Communication and Networking


EtherCAT (Ethernet for Control Automation Technology) is an Ethernet-based fieldbus system, invented by Beckhoff Automation. The protocol is standardized in IEC 61158 and is suitable for both hard and soft real-time computing requirements in automation.

The EtherCAT standard is defined by the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG). IBV is member of the ETG since 2008.

  • Cyclic task for process data (real-time critical):
    • short cycle times (≤ 100 µs)
    • low jitter for exact synchronization (≤ 1 µs)
  • Acyclic task for parameterization, maintenance and tunneling of other protocols
  • All slaves can exchange input and output data in a single Ethernet frame.
  • Low hardware costs: A master can be realized with standard Ethernet hardware.

Software Solution


TSN is a set of Ethernet sub-standards of the IEEE 802.1 TSN Task Group. TSN aims to standardize features on OSI layer 2 so that different protocols can share the same infrastructure. The challenge here is the optimal configuration for time-critical and non-critical traffic so that neither real-time behavior nor throughput is affected.

  • Guaranteed latency for real-time critical data across the entire network
  • Real-time critical and non-critical traffic can be transmitted over a common network
  • Higher protocol layers can share a common network infrastructure
  • No dependence on one manufacturer
Some important core elements of TSN are defined in the following standards:

  • IEEE802.1AS: Time Synchronization
  • IEEE802.1Qbv: Time-Aware Scheduler
  • IEEE802.1Qbu: Frame Preemption

Further information about TSN

Software Solution


Ethernet POWERLINK is a real-time Ethernet communication protocol for transmitting real-time data in the range of microseconds. The main application is the transmission of process data in automation technology.

Ethernet POWERLINK was originally developed by B&R Industrial Automation and is now further developed and specified as an open standard by the open user and supplier group EPSG (Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group). IBV is a member of the Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group (EPSG) since 2017.

The main features of Ethernet POWERLINK are

  • the guaranteed transmission of time-critical data in very short isochronous cycles with configurable timing
  • the transmission of less time-critical data in the reserved asynchronous channel
  • the time synchronization of all network nodes

More features and details

Software Solution

  • IBV has deep experience with ETHERNET POWERLINK from various projects and offers customer specific services. More information can be found in the fieldbus technologies section.


The CAN bus (“Controller Area Network”) was developed by the company BOSCH for the automotive industry with the goal of reducing the cabling effort and thus saving costs. In addition, the bus system is widely used in industrial automation and medical technology, for example.
CAN is standardized internationally as ISO 11898.

  • Cost-effective and robust networking
  • “Multi-master principle”: The participants on the bus have equal rights
  • Broadcast communication: All participants in the network see all messages and can decide which messages are relevant for them based on an identifier.
  • Each message has a priority, determining which information has priority on the bus when transmitted simultaneously. Due to the lossless bus arbitration, a deterministic time behavior can be achieved.

CANopen is a communication protocol for OSI Layer 7 and is used to connect complex devices in a network. Among other things, the protocol defines an object directory at each station, communication objects for parameterization (SDOs) and for the transport of real-time data (PDOs). In addition, it defines device profiles, e.g. for electrical drives, which specify a manufacturer-independent standardization for the functionality and structure of the object dictionary. The CANopen object model is also used in Industrial Ethernet protocols such as EtherCAT or POWERLINK.

The standard is maintained by the organization CAN in Automation (CiA).

Software Solution

  • IBV offers customer specific services in the field of CAN and CANopen and has deep experience with this bus system from various customer projects. More information can be found in the fieldbus technologies section.


Modbus is an open standard for client/server communication. It is mainly used in industry to exchange information between measuring and control devices. The transmission takes place via a serial interface (e.g. EIA-485) or via Ethernet. Modbus-TCP is part of the IEC 61158 standard.

  • Simple implementation
  • Open standard

The standard is defined and maintained by the Modbus Organization.

Software Solution