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To clarify - with "APL-Certification" you refer to the APL PHYSICAL LAYER Certification?!
Yes, this test is a prerequisite. The APL Physical Layer tests are designed to make sure your implementation is aligned with the APL physical layer requirements.
This is a bit unusual, as for other Ethernet physical layers Profinet Certification does not require a Physical Layer Certificate to start with. The reason this is different with APL is APLs potential use in intrinsic safe environments.
Prerequisite is the APL Physical Layer test to make sure the requirements for intrinsic safety are matched. This test is available at different organizations. The cool part is that if you passed this test with either Profinet, ODVA or Fieldcomm, it is mutually accepted by the other partner organizations.
When it comes to Profinet Certification, APL devices commonly require Conformance Class B certification. Support of S2-Redundancy is expected in most applications. If described in the GSDML, S2-Redundancy is automatically tested by the Profinet Certification tester. Pruning has to be supported by an APL device and therefore is part of the Profinet certification test. Last not least, a Profinet APL device has to pass the “Netload Class 2 @10 Mbit/s” robustness test.
Many APL devices also support the PA-Profile 4. If that is true for your device, the PA-Profile 4 Certification Test is also available at PI.