The first set of Avnu TSN conformance test plans have been announced by Avnu Alliance which are designed for time synchronisation of industrial devices, and are ready and available now for test houses to implement. Avnu Alliance has built a rich set of conformance and interoperability tests with a defined procedure for certification in various markets.
Leveraging that multi-industry experience, Avnu defined a baseline certification in the industrial market that consists of robust and comprehensive test requirements based on the market requirements for industrial automation devices and silicon. These conformance tests ensure that the device or silicon conforms to the relevant IEEE standards, as well as additional requirements that Avnu has selected as necessary for proper system interoperability.
“Time Synchronisation, or 802.1AS, is the foundation for all TSN devices, hence it is the first set of conformance tests that are ready and available,” said Todd Walter, Avnu Alliance Industrial Segment Chair. As the standards and networks continue to evolve, so does Avnu’s work to define and certify the standard foundation. In the future, Avnu will also be able to test and certify other traffic shaping mechanisms, frame preemption, redundancy, ingress policing, strict priority, and security. “Our work with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), OPC Foundation and other industry organisations drives the industry closer toward achieving an interoperable ecosystem,” added Walter.
A liaison agreement between Avnu Alliance and OPC Foundation has been established to provide conformance testing and certification of OPC UA over TSN devices. These groups and more are currently working together to create a unified standard and interoperable ecosystem for the industrial market, however the market continues to require multiple upper layer protocols for networked industrial systems.
Avnu bridges these various protocols with a common foundation and the accompanying conformance tests for that base communication level, including silicon and infrastructure. Avnu works with other protocol and standards organisations, such as OPC Foundation, who provide conformance testing for application layers to develop a certification that will allow the industry to test for conformance at all layers and certify for interoperability based on those tests.
Avnu is a member of the IIC TSN Testbed, which hosts regular plugfests for members to test their TSN devices for interoperability. “Testbeds and plugfests help test for a certain degree of interoperability and allow us to create real-world systems as an early check for problems but conformance testing ensures alignment with the standards in a more complete way. Leveraging the work done through these liaison agreements and interoperability workshops helps to create a stronger environment for interoperability,” added Walter. “The conformance testing and certification provided through Avnu will be critical to provide the needed foundation for interoperable IIoT networks and give industrial vendors a more streamlined vehicle for participation in the TSN ecosystem.”
In October 2017, Avnu Alliance and Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) held an Interoperability workshop with more than 20 leading industrial companies across silicon, infrastructure, and automation in order to demonstrate interoperability of TSN devices. This weeklong face-to-face workshop focused on vetting the usage of TSN for flexible manufacturing and working on configuration for these systems. The lessons learned from the ongoing IIC TSN Testbed activities and the results from this workshop contributed to the conformance test development and will continue to feed into standards revisions as necessary.