When a teacher introduced it to us he gave the impression that it specifically covers some Siemens technology; that it's even a Siemens trademark.

I believe the term covers something more general, but I haven't been able to find a useful definition from a credible source.

  • 2
    Why don’t you ask the teacher for a definition of this term he uses. Most teachers are happy about actual interaction and questions.
    – eckes
    Jun 19, 2019 at 2:12
  • @eckes: Sadly I believe the teacher is not quite competent to teach the subject, but generally I agree with your advice. Jun 19, 2019 at 11:45
  • Sadly schoolwork and education questions are off-topic here Jun 19, 2019 at 21:42
  • @Mike Pennington. Your comment seems sort of taunting/offensive. But I really don't see which part of my question/comment would warrant that? If you delete your comment, then I will delete this one. Jun 22, 2019 at 12:23
  • I’m stating a fact... if you find facts offensive I don’t know how to respond Jun 22, 2019 at 14:20

3 Answers 3


Like many IT terms, it's primarily a marketing term. It usually refers to Ethernet switches that are designed for harsh environments (i.e. industrial). The switches may have higher temperature tolerances, electrostatic hardening, shock resistance, etc.

But they're still Ethernet switches, and they function like any other.

And other manufacturers use the same term.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Ron Maupin
    Jun 20, 2019 at 19:07

Industrial Ethernet is the use of Ethernet in an industrial environment with protocols that provide determinism and real-time control. Protocols for Industrial Ethernet include EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, POWERLINK, SERCOS III, CC-Link IE, and Modbus TCP.Many Industrial Ethernet protocols use a modified Media Access Control (MAC) layer to provide low latency and determinism.

Industrial Ethernet can also refer to the use of standard Ethernet protocols with rugged connectors and extended temperature switches in an industrial environment, for automation or process control. Components used in plant process areas must be designed to work in harsh environments of temperature extremes, humidity, and vibration that exceed the ranges for information technology equipment intended for installation in controlled environments. The use of fiber-optic Ethernet variants reduces the problems of electrical noise and provides electrical isolation.

Refer from Wikipedia.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Ron Maupin
    Jun 19, 2019 at 14:43

Many older Automation systems used non-ethernet standards. Siemens used a PROFIBUS standard and Rockwell had a standard called Data Highway Plus. The problem with these older standards is that they were proprietary, expensive, and could not support a lot of bandwidth. It was also difficult to go across long distances.

Thus the Industrial Ethernet term is a way to differentiate from the older technologies that are still used at many corporations due to the cost of replacing.

Industrial Ethernet components typically use DIN rails that can be mounted in the same chassis next to PLCs and use the same power supplies.

  • Profibus is hardly proprietary. You can run Profibus on all major PLC's. I've used it on Siemens, Mitsubishi and Phoenix PLCs. It's a fairly standardized protocol, with multivendor support.
    – vidarlo
    Jun 19, 2019 at 22:10
  • Also is not true about Profibus that can go across long distance and is slow. Jun 20, 2019 at 14:03
  • Profibus maxes out at 12MBit I believe. Industrial Ethernet is typically 1000MBit. That would make it 83 times slower.
    – Super1337
    Jun 20, 2019 at 23:13

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