Industry IoT Consortium Publishes Networking Framework to Guide the Digital Transformation Process

August 21, 2021 by Shawn Dietrich

The framework provides details about the requirements, technologies, standards, and solutions for networking to support applications across a broad range of IIoT sectors.

Who is the Industry IoT Consortium (IIC)?

The Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) is an organization that focuses on helping other companies and organizations develop products that utilize the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology. This week, they rebranded from The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) to Industry IoT Consortium. The organization hopes this change will harness evolution and maturity in the IoT marketplace

A diagram showing how some IIoT components work with the overall system. Image used courtesy of Industry IoT Consortium


The organization consists of members and staff who are part of the object management group, a not-for-profit group that develops technology standards for many different industries. The IIC works with members to develop standards, business values, and best-practice frameworks across many different industries.


Industrial Internet of Things Networking Framework

The IIoT movement can help to access sensors, instruments, motion components, and other smart technologies on an industrial network.  This network can sometimes be accessed via the internet. Exposing these components to the internet does have some level of risk, but the benefit can far outweigh that risk when used appropriately.  

While this technology is still relatively new, many components are already Ethernet-ready. The IIC has been working on a standard framework to help designers and engineers develop Ethernet networks that can support IIoT devices. The IINF acts as a guideline or toolbox for the members of the IIC who design or integrate industrial networks that will work directly with IIoT technology.  This framework is not only for manufacturers. The standard covers many different industries such as oil and gas, utilities, smart manufacturing, and pharmaceutical.  

The IINF also includes use cases from many of the industries mentioned above to help guide designers, engineers, and end-users to develop and maintain IIoT ready networks. A list of best practices provides a user a starting point when in the developing stage. IINF also provides a best practice for IT architectural blueprints. 


Components of IINF

The IINF consists of mostly network-related design standards along with scenarios from different industries and case solution examples.  

  • Network Topology: The design standard provides a well-described way of developing the different kinds of network topology. This includes bus, ring, or star topology and their respective uses. Both wired and wireless networks are considered in the standard, even though some industries have not fully adopted wireless technology. 


A diagram showing some components of IINF. Image used courtesy of Industry IoT Consortium


  • Industrial Protocols: A list of industrial protocols are mentioned in the standard, as well as their respective properties. The standard describes where the protocols should reside on the network and covers time-sensitive networking, which is an important topic for devices such as motor control or robots.  
  • Deterministic Networking: This is a process of designing a network that is sensitive to data loss and cycle time. For example, video streaming, industrial protocols, and vehicle control all need to have a real-time reaction and with zero data loss.


A diagram showing how some IIoT components work with the overall system. Image used courtesy of Industry IoT Consortium


  • Case Solutions: Two case solutions mentioned are a smart factory network, and the other is a smart grid. Both examples cover the cost, operational model, regulatory aspects, deployment, and lifecycle. Technology and architecture considerations are mentioned for both examples, which compare multiple solutions. A conclusion and recommendation are included outlining how the IINF was used to develop an IIoT solution.

The Industrial Internet of Things is becoming more popular as manufacturers require more flexible equipment. The push for more IIoT capable equipment requires a change in how the industry develops and designs Ethernet networks. The IINF can offer a framework to develop these networks more effectively and efficiently.