Converged Plantwide Ethernet Model (CPwE): Transforming Manufacturing Networks

In this tutorial, we will learn about the Converged Plantwide Ethernet Model (CPwE), its Purpose, Scalability, Reliability, Security, Reference Architectures, Integration, and Convergence of OT and IT. By Shahnail Khan Last updated : October 03, 2023

In today's rapidly evolving industrial landscape, the need for a strong and secure network is critical in transforming manufacturing networks. Here's where the Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architecture comes in. This model completely changed how manufacturing businesses develop and implement their network infrastructure. Cisco collaborated with Rockwell to generate this model which is tailored to meet the specific demands of industrial automation and control systems (IACS) applications. This article explores the key aspects of CPwE and how it helps in transforming manufacturing networks.

Purpose of CPwE

The main purpose of CPwE is to meet the networking needs of industrial automation and control systems (IACS) applications in manufacturing settings. Unlike conventional office networks, industrial networks supporting IACS applications demand higher reliability and security. These networks are the foundation of manufacturing operations, managing logistics and tasks related to manufacturing. CPwE ensures that these networks are not only reliable but also secure.


The advancement of technology makes the manufacturing process dynamic. This is very well acknowledged by CPwE, stating scalability as the core principle. It offers the ability to effortlessly extend the network infrastructure as production requirements increase. This scalability makes sure that your network can easily adjust to new equipment, increasing data traffic, and changing automation requirements.


Manufacturing operations demand reliability. A short network outage can halt production and harm quality. This model prioritizes network reliability, ensuring disruptions to the manufacturing process are minimized. Redundancy features, failover procedures, and real-time monitoring are essential components of CPwE to ensure that your network stays active around the clock.


With the rise in cyber threats, network security is critical in industrial environments. CPwE. CPwE gives importance to network security measures to safeguard against cyberattacks. The platform utilizes top-tier security practices and cutting-edge technologies to safeguard important information and infrastructure. This model helps manufacturers in reducing the risk of cyber-attacks by implementing robust security policies.

Reference Architectures

Cisco and Rockwell Automation have developed reference architectures. These referencing architectures prove to be beneficial in the deployment of solutions. Companies can easily adopt CPwE with the help of detailed blueprints, recommended configurations, and best practices.


Modern manufacturing relies heavily on the integration of various systems, devices, and equipment. CPwE aligns standard network services with industrial apps for seamless communication between manufacturing components, optimizing processes and enhancing productivity.

Convergence of OT and IT

Manufacturing OT and IT networks have traditionally operated separately, with different protocols and security measures. CPwE enables convergence between these two worlds. It seamlessly provides a way for OT and IT personnel to work together effectively which leads to a unified network and security strategy.  


Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) is a game-changer for manufacturing companies looking to establish a reliable, scalable, and secure network infrastructure. The CPwE is designed to cater to the distinct requirements of industrial automation and control systems (IACS) applications. Its framework serves as a guide to triumph in today's manufacturing landscape. The CPwE prioritizes scalability, reliability, and security, guaranteeing that production operations continue without interruption and are safeguarded against cyber threats.

Furthermore, the collaboration between Cisco and Rockwell Automation has resulted in comprehensive reference architectures that simplify the implementation of CPwE. These guides provide practical insights and recommendations to make CPwE accessible to a wide range of manufacturing businesses.

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