At rt-labs, we are experts in development of embedded systems with EtherCAT support. At this site you can download and use some of the tools and components we have developed. You can also find a list of useful reference implementations which might be useful for your project and information about the EtherCAT classes and workshops that we offer. If you have difficulty in choosing EtherCAT provider, continue to our solution answers.
EtherCAT has a master/slave architecture with up to 65535 slave units. A master requires only standard hardware for Ethernet communication and a number of software components. Each slave node requires specific hardware to achieve real-time performance with cycle times of just a few microseconds.
Its other notable properties include redundancy, Peer to Peer tunnelling of application data such as TCP/IP (EoE), simple file transfer via FoE for firmware updates in the field, tailored black channel communication via VoE, Functional Safety via EtherCAT (FSoE) in accordance with IEC 61508 which meets the requirements for Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3, standard wiring with support for distances of up to 2 km between nodes, support for run-time addressing, and configuration of EtherCAT networks. There are open source alternatives for implementation of master and slave. EtherCAT is administrated by ethercat.org which is responsible for maintaining and developing the standard. Automation specialist Beckhoff is the company behind Ethercat.org.