What types of topology can EtherCAT networks be configured into?
The “processing on the fly” concept allows EtherCAT to be configured in many types of topology.
EtherCAT creates the possibility of a fieldbus system using Ethernet hardware. Combing the fieldbus, or trunk, topology with the star topology creates an incredibly useful new style.
The EtherCAT frame can travel to the end of the network and, because messages travel back over the same path in reverse, the frame reverses and travels back to the master. In this way, all EtherCAT networks can act as though they’re in a ring topology.
EtherCAT is not limited to a single subnet; EtherCAT telegrams can be transported in routable UDP packets. This routing, however, will introduce more delays than having all EtherCAT slaves on single subnet.