In the LoCoRet research project, analyses are carried out to implement inexpensive Ethernet in industrial applications. The project is being sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The aim is to develop key figures that enable the evaluation of specific industrial scenarios for less expensive but not ideal technologies for implementing Ethernet communication.

As the cabling of an Ethernet-based industrial system is very expensive, it is advisable to consider the use of inexpensive cables. An example of this is the two-wire cable from the automotive industry. By using less copper and further reducing costs through bulk quantities, an inexpensive network can be created using a physical layer that has been coordinated for this purpose.

Extensive simulation is necessary to determine the interaction between the unfavourable channel and the physical layer. The focus was initially upon building a simulation of a particularly robust physical layer. This is based upon OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) and is orientated on the “Green-PHY” specification. This type of transmission is very suitable for channels that are prone to interference. This PHY simulation is currently fully functional and has already been evaluated using a function generator on real two-wire cables.

A transmission channel simulation is to be created in further steps. This should map special interference profiles in the industry with which key figures for the use of technologies can be developed.