SAN JOSE, Calif. – Engineers are driving real-time capabilities into Ethernet for use in cars and the factory floor. The work is spread across nearly a dozen standards efforts many of which will be implemented in products that could ship before the end of next year.
Industrial and automotive giants including Bosch, GE, Rockwell and Siemens are working with Ethernet chip vendors on the new specs.
Historically, the industrial companies made Profinet and other components that met their needs, but “they don’t want to be in the network business anymore,” said Michael Johas Teener, a Broadcom senior technical director, chairing several of the efforts. “They are making 100 Mbit/s devices now, but going to Gbit is a big deal, so they would rather just buy the part,” he said.
Teener chaired the Audio Video Bridging (AVB) efforts that paved the way for streaming media.
“Two milliseconds is good enough for real-time A/V, but industrial guys wanted orders of magnitude better than that,” Teener said. “We knew we could do it but it would take more time,” he said.
So the group changed its name to Time-Sensitive Networking to reflect its new charter. It aims to enable versions of Ethernet with latencies of a few hundred microseconds for some apps and less than 10 microseconds for others.
One important consideration was not changing anything in the physical layer of Ethernet. Even at the media access control layer, engineers will add some new sub-layers, but not fundamentally change the MAC, said Pat Thaler, another senior technical director at Broadcom who chairs some of the standards efforts.