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Ethernet bus systems with TCP/IP are easy to set up, inexpensive, and widely used. However, reliability and real-time capability are imperative for process automation. To meet these requirements, the Ethernet Precision Access Protocol (EPAP) was developed. With a master-slave node configuration using the simple command-response EPAP, load on the nodes is smaller than with previously-developed control protocols, out-of-sequence data and IP address errors can be detected, failed nodes can be quickly detected, and dual-redundant bus systems easily implemented. EPAP is built on User Datagram Protocol (UDP). EPAP uses CSMA/CD; limiting the number of master nodes on an Ethernet segment, and using a simple command-response protocol, results in extremely small probability of significant frame-start delays. EPAP is easy to implement on general PCs , workstations and IO devices. We intend to publish details of EPAP, so it can be widely used with a variety of PC applications.
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