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Automotive Ethernet is getting closer

John Day

John Day

Posted Oct 10, 2012

No offense to CAN (controller area network) technology, but with demand mounting for sophisticated in-vehicle systems and on-board diagnostics, there is a clear need for a faster protocol for automotive networking.

More than 70 technology and automotive companies are working together in the OPEN Alliance (One-Pair Ether-Net) to make faster networking available. As the name implies, Alliance members are focused on 100Mbps Ethernet over a single pair, unshielded cable.

“Standardization of the world’s first automotive solution capable of delivering 100Mbps Ethernet connectivity over unshielded cabling will revolutionize in-car networking with the goal of creating the ultimate in-vehicle experience for consumers,” says Dr. Kirsten Matheus, Ethernet Project Manager, BMW, and OPEN Alliance SIG Chair.

The Alliance has a standard, BroadR-Reach, developed by Broadcom Corporation, and this summer the Alliance endorsed the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) as the first laboratory to test BroadR-Reach.

UNH-IOL is starting with chips. The lab launched the Automotive Ethernet Consortium, which is currently open only to semiconductor companies, and members of the consortium have completed the first round of BroadR-Reach conformance testing.

The UNH-IOL and the Alliance are working together on BroadR-Reach interoperability specifications, additional testing procedures, and higher data rate specification requirements. As adoption of BroadR-Reach progresses, the UNH-IOL plans to make membership in the consortium available to parts suppliers and car manufacturers. Dave Estes, the Ethernet manager at UNH-IOL, says that by testing together in the same consortium members can save on research and development costs and minimize the risk that comes with new technology adoption. They also get a “first mover” advantage in preparing their products for market ahead of wide-scale BroadR-Reach adoption.

The UNH-IOL has been conducting Ethernet testing for nearly 25 years and operates one of the world’s most comprehensive Ethernet test beds. It’s considered the de facto standard for Ethernet testing. More information on the Automotive Ethernet Consortium is available at

Broadcom, BroadR-Reach, Automotive Ethernet Consortium, OPEN Alliance (One-Pair Ether-Net), University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL)

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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