What is ControlNet?

ControlNet is an open industrial network protocol belonging to the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) family. It was initially supported by ControlNet International. Since 2008, the activities and management of ControlNet is being handled by ODVA. The CIP is also used in DeviceNet and Ethernet/IP.

ControlNet is included in the EN 50170 and IEC 61158 standards. In ControlNet fieldbus systems, only the session layer is empty when it is seen in the context of the OSI model. It is designed to be used both at the device and cell levels of industrial control systems.

Applications of ControlNet include batch control systems, automotive industries, and process control systems.

In ControlNet communication profile, which shows that layer 5 of OSI, i.e., the session layer, is absent in ControlNet.


ControlNet is a real-time industrial networking protocol that is commonly used in control and automation applications. It is part of the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) suite managed by the ODVA (Open DeviceNet Vendors Association).

ControlNet is designed to provide high-speed, deterministic communication for demanding control and motion control systems in industrial environments.


Here are some key characteristics and features of ControlNet:

Communication Speed: ControlNet operates at a high-speed communication rate of up to 5 Mbps, allowing for rapid data exchange and control updates between devices. This high-speed capability is beneficial in applications where real-time control and fast data transfer are required.

Deterministic Communication: ControlNet offers deterministic communication, meaning that the timing and delivery of messages are predictable and consistent. This allows for precise synchronization of control actions, critical in applications such as motion control or distributed control systems.

Redundancy and Fault Tolerance: ControlNet supports redundant network configurations to enhance system reliability and fault tolerance. Redundancy ensures that if one network component fails, the system can seamlessly switch to a redundant path, minimizing disruptions and downtime.

Multicast Communication: ControlNet enables multicast communication, which means that a single message can be sent to multiple recipients simultaneously. This is particularly useful in scenarios where the same control command or data needs to be distributed to multiple devices or controllers.

Flexibility in Network Topology: ControlNet supports various network topologies, including linear, star, and tree configurations. This flexibility allows for efficient network design and scalability to accommodate different system architectures and communication requirements.

Integration with CIP: ControlNet is integrated within the CIP suite of protocols, which provides a common object model, messaging services, and network services for seamless integration and interoperability between different devices and systems in an industrial control environment.

ControlNet is often utilized in applications that require real-time control, motion control, and data exchange between devices such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), distributed control systems (DCS), human-machine interfaces (HMIs), drives, and other control devices. It is commonly found in industries such as manufacturing, process control, automotive, and robotics.