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National Instruments integrates time-sensitive networking into Ethernet chassis

The internet of things is distributing intelligence to the network edge, and that means test and measurement solutions must also migrate to the edge. National Instruments is working to solve the synchronization and systems management challenges created by the distributed nature of IoT compute nodes.

This week at NI Week, National Instruments announced the release of two new multislot Ethernet chassis that incorporate time-based synchronization. Synchronized timing over the network can eliminate the need for physical timing cables and increase the accuracy of analysis.

“Time sensitive networking is a new standard that’s coming out of the IEEE committees,” said NI’s Jamie Smith, business and technology director and director of embedded systems. Smith explained the technology earlier this year when NI launched an IoT test bed in Austin, Texas. Smith said NI is working on the technology in cooperation with the Avnu Alliance.

“We’re actually building a new network stack that can truly converge operational technology networks like OT networks, along with informational networks like IT networks,” Smith said. “The capabilities that are being added is the ability to synchronize and control devices on a standard Ethernet network, which is required for these industrial applications, but still have the high security and the high data movement that we enjoy in our homes and offices.”

“We’re getting synchronization to around 150 nanoseconds, 0.15 millionth of a second,” Smith continued. “Once you have synchronization you can then precisely time when a packet leaves a device to go to another device.”

With the launch of NI’s new hardware, the company’s customers will be able to leverage this new network stack for IoT applications.

“These new chassis automatically synchronize measurement data using network-based time. This allows accurate synchronization over long distances, which greatly simplifies customer setup and systems management of high-channel-count and distributed systems,” said Todd Walter, chief marketing manager of the DAQ and embedded lead user team at NI. “This new, innovative method of synchronization combined with the signal processing libraries in LabVIEW system design software helps engineers quickly collect and analyze results, which drives faster test completion and higher efficiency.”

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