What is the Difference between ProfiNet and DeviceNet?

  • Profinet and DeviceNet are both popular industrial communication protocols used in the field of factory automation and control systems.
  • While they serve similar purposes, they have significant differences in terms of their underlying technology, architecture, capabilities, and application areas.
  • Understanding these difference crucial for engineers and technicians working in industrial automation to choose the appropriate protocol for their specific requirements.


  • Profinet, short for Process Field Network, is an Ethernet-based industrial communication protocol developed by Siemens.
  • It is known for its high-speed data transmission, flexibility, and real-time capabilities.
  • Profinet utilizes standard Ethernet hardware, making it compatible with existing network infrastructure and reducing implementation costs.
  • This protocol supports both TCP/IP and UDP/IP communication, allowing seamless integration with higher-level enterprise systems.
  • One of the key features of Profinet is its ability to transmit large amounts of data in real-time, making it suitable for applications requiring high-speed communication, such as motion control and distributed control systems.
  • Profinet also supports a variety of network topologies, including star, line, ring, and tree structures, providing flexibility in designing industrial networks.
  • Profinet offers advanced diagnostic capabilities, allowing for efficient troubleshooting and maintenance of industrial systems.
  • Additionally, it supports device redundancy and synchronization, ensuring high availability and reliability in critical applications.


  • DeviceNet, on the other hand, is a controller area network (CAN) based protocol developed by Allen-Bradley (now part of Rockwell Automation).
  • Unlike Profinet, DeviceNet operates on a non-Ethernet physical layer, utilizing the CAN bus for communication between devices.
  • This makes DeviceNet suitable for applications where Ethernet connectivity is not available or required.
  • DeviceNet is widely used in industries such as automotive manufacturing, material handling, and packaging due to its simplicity, reliability, and deterministic communication.
  • It supports data rates of up to 500 kbps, making it suitable for applications with moderate to low-speed communication requirements.
  • One of the primary advantages of DeviceNet is its ease of installation and configuration.
  • Devices can be connected using simple, plug-and-play connections, reducing installation time and complexity.
  • DeviceNet also offers power over the network (PoE) capabilities, allowing devices to be powered directly from the network, eliminating the need for separate power supplies.

Difference between Profinet and DeviceNet:

Physical Layer:

  • The most significant difference between Profinet and DeviceNet lies in their physical layer.
  • Profinet utilizes standard Ethernet hardware, while DeviceNet operates on a CAN bus.

Data Transmission:

  • Profinet offers higher data transmission rates compared to DeviceNet, making it suitable for applications requiring high-speed communication.


  • Profinet supports a wider range of network topologies, including star, line, ring, and tree structures, whereas DeviceNet typically uses a linear bus topology.


  • Profinet seamlessly integrates with TCP/IP and UDP/IP, enabling connectivity with higher-level enterprise systems.
  • DeviceNet, on the other hand, is more standalone and is often used in isolated industrial networks.

Diagnostic Capabilities:

  • Profinet offers advanced diagnostic features, facilitating efficient troubleshooting and maintenance.
  • DeviceNet provides basic diagnostic capabilities but may require additional tools for in-depth analysis.
  • In summary, while both Profinet and DeviceNet serve as industrial communication protocols, they differ significantly in terms of their underlying technology, capabilities, and application areas.
  • Profinet excels in high-speed, real-time communication and seamless integration with enterprise systems, whereas DeviceNet offers simplicity, reliability, and ease of installation in environments where Ethernet connectivity is not required.
  • Understanding these differences is essential for selecting the most suitable protocol for specific industrial automation requirements.