The ADS protocol (ADS: Automation Device Specification) is a transport layer within the TwinCAT system. It was developed for data exchange between the different software modules, for instance the communication between the NC and the PLC. This protocol enables communication with other tools from any point within the TwinCAT. If communication with other PCs or devices is required, the ADS protocol can use TCP/IP as a basis. Within a networked system it is thus possible to reach all data from any point.
The ADS protocol runs on top of the TCP/IP or UDP/IP protocols. It allows the user within the Beckhoff system to use almost any connecting route to communicate with all the connected devices and to parameterize them. Outside the Beckhoff system a variety of methods are available to exchange data with other software tools.