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The IEEE produces Ethernet-for-cars industry standard

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March 16, 2016

Don't look now, but the great push of Ethernet into motor vehicles continues unabated, with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) launching the first automotive industry standard for 100 Mbps Ethernet connections over single twisted pair cables.

Previously called the 100 BASE-T1-IEEE, the new 802.3bw industry standard is designed to give auto and truck makers a single homogeneous network architecture, the IEEE asserts.

One of the core concept for auto applications is to cut down weight to save on fuel and energy comsumption. If you take a look at a familiar Cat 5 cable, you'll count four pairs, and that would make auto wiring harnesses unacceptably bulky and heavier.

Bosch senior manager Thomas Hogenmueller, who chaired the 100 Base-T1 project, says the industry standard gets around the weight issue while still delivering enough speed for the industry.

HPE's David Law, who chairs the 802.3 Ethernet Working group, notes that the new standard is “based upon and is interoperable with the existing OPEN Alliance Broad R-Reach automotive specification.

But the 100Base-T1 standard is only the first in a family of Ethernet protocols to address these application areas, with other projects underway in IEEE 802.3 to develop 1 Gb/s operation and power the delivery over a single twisted pair cable, as well as traffic prioritisation.”

BroadR-Reach is a Broadcom-sponsored effort-- 100Base-T1 interoperability will mean that pre-standard development based on that company's development tools won't be wasted. That was one of the industry's main concerns for the new industry standard.

The new system defines the baseband medium for 100Base-T1, as well as the PHY layer specifications for point-to-point full duplex 100 Mbps operation. It will be interesting to see how the new standard is accepted and integrated with the various networking equipment and parts suppliers in the auto industry.

Source: The IEEE.

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