50 Gbps Automotive Optical Ethernet demo

June 24, 2020 // By César Esteban, KDPOF
50 Gbps Automotive Optical Ethernet demo
Demonstrating 50 Gbps automotive Ethernet with datacom component leveraging

With the increase in Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), and the industry looking at autonomous vehicles on the horizon, the intelligent car needs growing bitrates to flow through its nervous system. Optical fibers have clear advantages as the nerves of this system; for example, the fact that no EMC problems will cause headaches to its implementers. This advantage becomes more critical with vehicle electrification, due to the noise immunity requirements demanded by the use of high power and efficient on-board power electronics.

Without doubt, the protocol of choice to implement the communication infrastructure in the car is Ethernet, and the 802.3 Working Group of the IEEE standardization organization is already paving the way to have multi-gigabit per second optical Ethernet in vehicles. A dedicated Study Group is already working on the future IEEE 802.3cz standard.

KDPOF is the leading company in the effort to build this new Ethernet standard. The purpose of this demo is to demonstrate that it is possible to implement 50 Gbps communication in automotive operating conditions, leveraging the components widely used for the datacom market.

Figure 1: KDPOF demo at Automotive Ethernet Congress, Munich, February 2020

VCSEL operation

A key component for this communication system is the light source. The Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (VCSEL) is the device that best fits the high speed and low-cost requirements of the application. The technology of the VCSEL device is well-known, mature and optimized, being heavily used in two killer applications: optical sensors for mobile phones and data center communications. The VCSELs used for this latter application can be leveraged for automotive communications, seizing on its already excellent cost and speed.

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