The Common Industrial Protocol Top Ten

Everyone loves top ten lists. When I was growing up there was a guy by the name of Dave Letterman who regularly did a top ten list. I don’t remember now if it was every night or just once a week, but it was always worth watching to find out what his top ten was. He did it very dramatically starting with number 10 and counting on down. It was very popular in those days, and you had to tune in to find out what the top ten was. That was long before social media, and if you missed it, you missed it. No place else to get it.

Today, I have a top 10 list for you. My top ten is why CIP and the CIP technologies are rock solid technologies for US manufacturing. Rockwell has said over and over that they, as a company, are 100% committed to CIP and the networks based on it (EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, ControlNet, and CompoNet). I agree with that decision for many reasons.

Here are my top ten reasons (in reverse order à la David Letterman):

Number 10 – CIP is well-understood and reliable. It’s been around now in one form or another for over 20 years.

Number 9 – CIP is the best way to integrate an I/O device into the Rockwell architecture.

Number 8 – Rockwell has any number of ways to make configuration of a CIP device very easy for the user. The AOP (Add-on-Profile), which we help EtherNet/IP device vendors’ customers use to integrate their device with a Rockwell Logix PLC, is very effective.

Number 7 – CIP provides mechanisms to move both control data and information. Cyclic is useful for moving control data (I/O) while acyclic is best for configuration and operational data.

Number 6 – CIP includes extensions for energy, safety, motion, and other application layer needs. It covers the automation control landscape very well.

Number 5 – CIP provides users with the ability to deploy interoperable, best-in-class devices with the assurance that they are not only getting reliable devices but devices that will work well with their chosen controller.

Number 4 – CIP is widely adopted. CIP is supported in the Americas, in Europe, in Africa, and in Asia. There is almost nowhere where you can’t find CIP devices, training and expertise.

Number 3 – CIP can be easily integrated into any Ethernet-enabled device. For example, RTA provides a mechanism to integrate EtherNet/IP and DeviceNet into any low resourced device.

Number 2 – CIP is a strictly object-oriented protocol that organizes attributes (data), services and behaviors into objects. It includes an extensive object library that support many of the common manufacturing functions such as analog and digital IO, valves, motion systems and other sensors and actuators.

Number 1 – CIP devices work to certifiable standards. Devices are required to meet very strict conformance testing standards so that users know that a Certified EtherNet/IP or DeviceNet device is going to perform properly in your application.



CIP is a media independent networking technology. Users can choose ControlNet, EtherNet/IP or DeviceNet and be assured that there will be little to no learning curve for their engineering and maintenance staff. They can pick the application of the technology that best meets the requirements of their application.

I’m not David Letterman. I don’t have a band backing me up. And unlike old Dave, I’m not looking for laughs. I am a serious proponent of CIP technologies for I/O systems on the factory floor.


Attn: Our office is closed Monday, 5/27/24 in observance of Memorial Day. Orders placed after 2 pm CST 5/24/24 will be processed 5/28/24.