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Avnu Alliance Best Practices – Theory of Operation for TSN-enabled Industrial Systems

A new demand for the integration of disparate traffic types and an increase in devices and communications pathways in industrial networks requires new technologies and standards as well as new best practices that can enable interoperability among multiple vendors and provide an ecosystem for simplified network design.  Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) is a set of technologies and standards from the IEEE that solves the need to communicate and process data in a time critical fashion, reducing communications latency while providing robustness, interoperability, and determinism.  These are all delivered as enhancements to standard Ethernet.

Avnu Alliance’s Theory of Operation for TSN-enabled Industrial Systems provides a system architecture and requirements for enabling multiple industry groups, vendors, and protocols to share a TSN-enabled network. This comprehensive document introduces the fundamental mechanisms needed for a, industrial system to build on, including:

  • Time synchronization
  • Quality of service using scheduled transmission
  • Network configuration using a centralized approach and informed by software defined networking concepts


In addition to defining a detailed system architecture that applies fundamental mechanisms and definitions from TSN and related standards, the paper describes the requirements for several industrial use cases including machine control and process automation.

Device developers, system designers, and engineers will benefit from the system architecture and reference models made available in this paper. Developers can apply the concepts of the paper to ensure that their products can coexist in a shared TSN-enabled network.

The Theory of Operations for TSN-enabled Industrial Systems best practices paper is a product of the Industrial Market Segment within Avnu Alliance. Alliance members from industry leading companies including National Instruments, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, Belden, Cisco, Analog Devices, and Ixia contributed their time and industry expertise to author and edit the Theory of Operations paper.