Flexible topologies

PROFINET permits flexible network topologies and thus optimum machine and plant planning.

PROFINET supports different network topologies and thus enables a high degree of flexibility in machine and plant planning.

PROFINET also enables the use of star, tree, and ring topologies in addition to the linear topology characterized by the established fieldbuses. This results in a high degree of flexibility in the planning of machines and plants. The PROFINET network can be installed without specialist knowledge and meets all requirements relevant to the industrial environment.

The „PROFINET Installation Guide“ supports manufacturers and users when installing networks. Symmetrical copper cables or EMC-resistant fiber-optic cables are used depending on the application. Devices from different manufacturers are easily connected via standardized and rugged plug-in connectors (to IP65/IP67).

Thanks to the integration of switch functionality into the devices, linear topologies can be formed that are configured based on an existing machine or plant structure. This results in savings in cabling overhead and cuts down on components such as external switches.


  • A network infrastructure can consist of various sub-sections with different topologies, such as star, tree, linear or ring structures.

  • The media used for networking can also be varied in a network. The available media are the classic Cat5 copper cable, glass and plastic fiber-optic cables and IWLAN, among others.

  • The SCALANCE network components not only allow any topology to be set up. They also allow access to machines and plants via a secured VPN connection, e.g. for teleservice.


  • The network topology follows the layout of the machine, which means that wiring costs are reduced and commissioning is simplified. It is even possible to later expand the topology without any additional measures.

  • Linear topologies and redundant ring structures can be cost-effectively implemented without additional network components thanks to switches that are integrated in the field devices.

  • Several controllers can be operated in one network. This means that several controllers access one field device (Shared Device) or controllers can also communicate with each other (I-Device).