What Is Modbus TCP/IP ?

The Modbus TCP/IP, or Modbus-TCP is similar to the Modbus RTU protocol, but with a TCP interface that runs on Ethernet. The Modbus messaging structure is an application protocol that rules the organization and interpretation of data independently of the data transmission medium.

TCP refers to the Transmission Control Protocol, while IP refers to Internet Protocol. These two protocols are the transmission medium for the Modbus TCP/IP messaging. Essentially, the Modbus TCP/IP exchanges blocks of binary data between computers. This protocol is also considered to be a world wide standard and provides a foundation for the World Wide Web. The TCP is to ensure all the packets of data are received correctly, with the IP ensuring that the messages are addressed and routed correctly. This TCP/IP combination is the transport protocol, it is the Modbus application protocol that defines what the data means, and how it is interpreted.

To summarize, the Modbus TCP/IP uses Ethernet and TCP/IP to transport Modbus message structure data between compatible devices. What this means, in essence, is that it combines the physical network of the Ethernet, with the TCP/IP networking standard and the Modbus application protocol as a standard of data representation. So, it is a Modbus communication with an Ethernet TCP/IP wrapper.

The Modbus and user data are contained in a TCP/IP telegram, but are not modified at all. The Modbus error checking field, checksum, isn’t used. The standard Ethernet TCP/IP layer checksum methods are utilized instead to guarantee the integrity of the data. The Modbus frame address field is replaced by the unit identifier in Modbus TCP/IP, and is part of the Modbus application protocol header.

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