Micrel drives Ethernet into the Automotive World - Embedded.com

Micrel drives Ethernet into the Automotive World

Micrel Inc. introduced Ethernet capability into the worldwide automotive market with the launch of its family of AEC-Q100 Automotive qualified Ethernet devices. This device family offers complete flexibility when interfacing Ethernet to any desired processor via MII, RMII, SNI or PCI bus. Solutions are available from a single Ethernet port up to three Ethernet Ports. The devices, KSZ8041NL AM – Single-Port Fast Ethernet Physical Layer Transceiver; KSZ8842-PMBL AM – 3-Port Managed Fast Ethernet Switch with PCI; and KSZ8893MQL AM – 3-Port Managed Fast Ethernet Switch with MII/RMII, are the industry's first and only AEC-Q100 Automotive qualified Ethernet devices on the market, the vendor claims.

Over the past 30 years, the automobile has essentially transformed from a mechanical to an electrical device. Back in 1980, less than one percent of vehicle cost was attributed to electronic equipment. This number rose to 7 percent by 1990 and 22 percent in 2007 (Source EETimes: 'Under the Hood: Silicon in Autos Driving Patent Plans' September 2007). Driving this trend is the automotive users' demand for the same services in the car as the office or home: emails, music, gaming and video, along with increased safety. A single IP-based network is the key, enabling the car to enter the World Wide Web.

In this emerging market, Micrel is the first to supply Ethernet devices to a car. Production will commence in late 2008 with high end models, with automotive manufacturers then rolling out the application across the entire range. German car manufacturers are leading the way. Ethernet is initially being introduced for ODB (on board diagnostics) and software memory download. Current methods have proven too slow to re-program the increasing amount of electronics in the car; Ethernet is faster, cheaper and offers the same common interface used by the PC / laptop and office, industrial and home networks. The next step is using Ethernet as the backbone for next generation automotive multi-media networks carrying 'live' traffic. Micrel's Ethernet solutions provide flexibility when interfacing Ethernet to any desired processor via MII, RMII, SNI or PCI bus. The ICs reduce cost of ownership, provide faster networking speeds as demand for more electronics in cars increases and most important to the consumer, connects the car to the IP world wide web using a proven network bus, the defacto standard in office and industrial control. These solutions bridge the gap between lengthy vehicle design cycles and today's fast moving IP world.

Both KSZ8842-PMBL AM and KSZ8893MQL AM are highly integrated Layer-2 managed, high-speed non-blocking switches with enhanced features including QoS (Quality of Service), VLAN, LinkMD(TM) Cable diagnostics, and both copper cable and fibre support, including POF (Plastic Optical Fibre). The devices contain two mixed-signal, low power technology 10/100 transceivers, three MAC (Media Access Control) units and a robust switch engine. The KSZ8041NL, on the other hand, is a low cost, low power PHY that comes in a small 5mm x 5mm QFN package. In addition, at 6KV ESD, the chip exceeds the ESD requirements for most industrial applications.

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