Ethernet networks installed in office buildings rely mostly on a star topology. This is not suitable for most machine networks. Fieldbuses helped to reduce the wiring effort required while being able to adapt the network topology to the needs of the application. To help industrial Ethernet succeed at the lowest level, it must be possible to implement it with any network topology.
That's why individual POWERLINK devices are equipped with several Ethernet ports which can handle lines and branches. Therefore, any topology such as line, tree, star or mixed structures can be realized. Inside the device, a repeating hub ensures that the data stream continues on to its intended destination. In addition to greater flexibility when networking, this reduces the need for external infrastructure components such as switching or repeating hubs.
With POWERLINK, the physical and the logical topologies of the network are separated. It is possible to connect a device to any port on the network without having to reconfigure it. This achieves a higher degree of freedom when designing and upgrading modular machine systems and prevents errors that may occur when the wrong cable is inserted.