Module cuts cost for car networks - Embedded.com

Module cuts cost for car networks

Communication & Control Electronics (C&CE), a supplier ofmultimedia and telematics network access solutions to the automotiveindustry, has developed a technique which will allow volumeautomotive suppliers to quickly and cost-effectively upgradeoptical-networked devices to use low cost unshielded twisted pair(UTP) cables.

The SMARTwireX Physical Layer Module provides a complete physicallayer solution for allowing devices designed for optical networkssuch as CDchangers, radio head units and hands free telephoneadaptors to be connected using a low-cost electrical interface.

The module is based on the 25Mbps SMARTwireX Physical LayerControllers (PLC), and is packaged in the same footprint as the fibreoptic transceiver (FOT) used in optical networks. The module includesthe PLC, an EMC filter and automotive grade connectors.

SMARTwireX physical layer controller

Adopting an electrical network using low cost UTP will saveautomobile manufactures a significant amount of money per vehiclecompared to an optical based network. Replacing the expensive FOT andassociated fibre optic cables can be shown to reduce the cost of theoverall network infrastructure by over 50%. The company believes thatthe SMARTwireX will provide a cost structure similar to a CAN/J1850network.

“C&CE has had a significant impact in the area of in-carnetworks, working closely with Daimler Chrysler and Jaguar on theimplementation of the D2B optical standard in their vehicles. Thereare now more than 20 different D2B optical devices on the market,including head units, CD changers, digital radios and telephoneadaptors from more than ten major suppliers to the automotiveindustry,” said Steve Evans, sales and marketing director ofC&CE.

“With the SMARTwireX Module C&CE is providing these supplierswith the means to quickly upgrade their products to support a lowcost physical interface which we believe will enable them to addressthe volume auto market with devices that have already been proven inmass production.”

Typical SMARTwireX node

C&CE is already working with vehicle manufactures andfirst-tier suppliers on EMC and electrical tests using SMARTwireX PLCtechnology.

The SMARTwireX PLC family includes devices that can support datarates of 25Mbps and faster versions are currently under development.The SMARTwireX Physical Layer Module supporting the upgrade of D2Bdevices will be available in Q4 2002.

The company is also developing a 56Mbps controller, a prototype ofwhich is working in the lab and which could be available for use incars made in 2007 depending on market demand.

C&CE has worked with a number of companies includingDaimler-Chrysler and Jaguar since 1990. It developed the first trueautomotive multimedia and telematics networking IC, the CONAN. Morethan 6million of the company's ICs are now in use in vehiclesworldwide.

Published in Embedded Systems (Europe) November2002

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