The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has accepted Ethernet Powerlink (EPL) as a Publicly Available Specification, putting the real-time industrial protocol on track for international standardization.

The Industrial Automation Open Network Association submitted specifications to IEC SC65C as a real-time industrial Ethernet communication profile. The proposal was accepted by 96% of the committee. A subcommittee approved the specification as a new work item as well.

This is a step towards Ethernet Powerlink becoming part of IEC Standard - IEC 61784-2 “Digital data communications for measurement and control — part 2: Additional profiles for ISO/EIX 8802-3-based communication networks in real-time applications,” which is currently under development. The Ethernet Powerlink Standardization Group and its strategic partners will reformat the specification to be integrated into the next revision of IEC-61158 field bus standard.

Ethernet Powerlink's major advantage is that it can be implemented on any standard Ethernet hardware and chip. It offers microsecond speed and precision without support through proprietary hardware components or ASICs.