Course detail

Communication Systems in Industrial Automation

FEKT-MPC-KTAAcad. year: 2023/2024

The course focuses on communication subsystems in the field of automation technology, ie distributed control systems. Practical experience will be gained by students with RS-485 industrial communication systems as a typical representative of bus technology. Thei will also get familiar with selected Ethernet, Internet and wireless networks. Students will deepen their knowledge about open communications, standards and quasi-standards of industrial networks and their implementation with an emphasis on lower protocol layers. Students are also acquainted with the basic aspects of risk analysis as a basis for functional safety and cybersecurity.

Language of instruction


Number of ECTS credits


Mode of study

Not applicable.

Entry knowledge

Student who enrolls this course needs to be able to explain basic principles from physics and electronics related transmission lines and their loading (resistance, capacitance, inductance, impedance) and issues related to carrying of signals over the transmission lines; analyze simple electronic circuits with passive components and transistors; discuss basic issues in the field of probability and statistics; calculate probabilities of serial and parallel combination of components. In general electrical/electronic bachelor degree konowledge is expected, moreover it is recommended either to have previous experience with PLC programming.

Rules for evaluation and completion of the course

upto 30 points from laboratories
upto 70 (50+20) points from examination.
Examination has two compulsary parts - written part (5 questions 10 point each) and verbal part.
To qualify for verbal part it is necessary to gain at least 24 points from the written one, no two questions from the written part can be evaluated as zero. To pass the exam it is necessary to gain at least 10 point in the verbal part.
Exam is focused to evaluate general knowledge in the field of serial communication technologies, fieldbuses, functional safety and security.
Lab activities are compulsory, missed labs will be handled individually and usually can be performed according to lecturer's instructions (usually can be performed in the last week of semester).


The aim of the cource is to provide basic knowledge of serial communication interfaces, industrial communication buses including topics of functional safety and security.
After completition of the course students will be able to>
- describe layers of the OSI model,
- explain "communication in real time",
- list and briefly describe some of the deterministic communication solutions,
- describe most distinguishing features of RS-232, RS-485, CAN, Modbus, Ethernet and Industrial Ethernet,
- explain basic principles of functional safety,
- briefly describe bacis security building blocks,
- discuss advantages and disadvantages of selected communication technologies,
- provide qualified guess on relevance of functional safety standards for a given application,
- based on given requirements select suitable communication technology for a given task.

Study aids

Not applicable.

Prerequisites and corequisites

Basic literature

Zezulka et al., Automatizace procesů (elektronický text), kapitola 5, 2014 (CS)
Elektronické texty, katalogové listy, specifikace protokolů vložené do IS VUT pro aktuální rok (CS)
Smejkal V.: Bezpečnostní aspekty Průmyslu 4.0, Data Security Management, Ročník XXII, č.3/2018 (dostupné elektronicky v IS VUT) (CS)

Recommended reading

Mackay, S., Wright,E., Reynders, D., Park, J.: Practical Industrial Data Networks: Design, Installation and Troubleshooting, Elsevier, 2004 (EN)

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme MPC-KAM Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, compulsory-optional

Type of course unit



26 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer


1. Introduction to open communication, ISO / OSI model.
2. Functions of individual layers.
3. Communication cables, shielding, reflections on lines, bus termination methods
4. Lowest Interface, RS-232, RS-485.
5. Access methods.
6. CAN and Physical Layers (High Speed Can, CAN Single Wire CAN).
8. Ethernet
9. Industrial Ethernet and real-time communication methods
10. Wireless networks in automation
11. Risk, a brief introduction to rational risk management
12. Fundamentals of functional safety
13. Fundamentals of cyber security

Fundamentals seminar

13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer

Laboratory exercise

13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


Initial instructions and lab safety
Physial layer RS 232, RS485
Utilization of industrial buses with PLCs
Prezentation of individual lab activities