EtherCAT G builds on the principles of the successful EtherCAT technology but moves the available data rates up to 1 Gbit/s and 10 Gbit/s. The EtherCAT protocol itself remains unchanged. As before, all of the devices on a network receive the telegrams sent by the EtherCAT master. Each EtherCAT slave still reads the data addressed to it “on the fly” and inserts its own data into the frame as the frame moves downstream; now, though, it does this at 1 Gbit/s or 10 Gbit/s. Hardware propagation times are the only factor delaying telegram processing. The last device in a segment or stub line identifies an open port and utilises the full duplex feature of Ethernet network physics to send the telegram back to the master.
EtherCAT G and EtherCAT G10 also retain all other capabilities of EtherCAT. Devices with three or four ports (junctions) enable users to flexibly configure network topologies that suit the exact requirements of their machine architecture. Optional machine modules can still be plugged and unplugged via the Hot Connect feature. Network-wide diagnostics are available to help minimise machine downtime and increase availability. And the built-in system of distributed clocks still ensures devices are synchronised precisely in better than 100 ns.