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Ethernet could integrate automotive infotainment, study says

April 19, 2010 | Christoph Hammerschmidt | 222900771
After MOST and Firewire, Ethernet is emerging as a third option for in-car infotainment networks. A study reveals that Ethernet respectively IP (Internet Protocol) offers several benefits over its competitors.
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The study, conducted by the Fraunhofer ESK research institute along with automotive system supplier Continental Automotive GmbH and engineering company M-Sys GmbH, comes to the conclusion that due to its inherent openness, the Ethernet /IP combination facilitates the integration of mobile devices such as cell phone or portable music players into the automotive environment.

The study also investigated options to integrate MOST and Ethernet networks. Towards this end, the researchers tested two migration scenarios for exchanging control information for audio equipment. One scenario focused on interworking between Universal Plug-and-Play Ethernet (UPnP/Ethernet) and MOST control data. The other scenario included real-time data tunneling as 'MOST over IP', aiming at the integration of audio devices in an Ethernet system.

Migration scenario with MOST and Ethernet/IP (Source: Fraunhofer ESK)

In addition to control information, the study examined the network component synchronization as well as the predictability of streaming data transmission times. To this end, the researchers compared Standard Ethernet/IP along with real-time protocols such as Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) and Precision Time Protocol (PTP) with Ethernet Audio Video Bridging (AVB). The results show that Ethernet AVB has the best potential for this type of applications. However, in contrast to Standard Ethernet/IP Ethernet AVB currently exhibits several shortcomings with regard to the industrial-level availability of some network components.

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