Single pair ethernet moves into aircraft designs

Single pair ethernet moves into aircraft designs
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Single pair ethernet such as TE Connectivity's Mini-ETH system reduces weight and increases bandwidth in commercial aircraft systems
By Nick Flaherty

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TE Connectivity has launched a single pair ethernet system for commercial aircraft that offers substantial weight savings, more bandwidth and simpler installation and maintenance. This folllows the Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee (AEEC) releasing the ARINC 854 Cabin Equipment Network bus specification, opening up the use in aircraft designs.

As designers search for greater efficiency onboard aircraft, single pair ethernet offers 73 percent weight savings in cables and up to 41 percent weight savings in connectors compared to standard eight-wire cables and rectangular connectors.

The single pair ethernet protocols are derived from the automotive market, allowing weight savings by employing a two-wire cable design standardized under ARINC 854. Two-wire cables and corresponding 369 connectors help reduce termination time by half compared to standard quadrax connectors. The reduction in wires can also simplify maintenance when compared to quadrax connectors.

These efficiencies come in a versatile package that is qualified to 100Mb/s with the ability to support up to 1Gb/s in future applications. The Mini-ETH system is currently designed for use in In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) systems, seat power and lighting controls.

“The Mini-ETH single pair ethernet system adapts to what customers need from it, so they can retrofit an existing aircraft with Mini-ETH products to achieve-esavings or design it in to a future system as some customers are doing,” said Russell Graves, global aerospace business development manager for TE’s Aerospace, Defense and Marine division. “TE is pleased to be one of the first manufacturers to offer an ethernet over single pair solution for the commercial aerospace market.”

The Mini-ETH system consists of a range of proven TE products, including 369 shielded connectors, DEUTSCH DMC-M connectors (EN4165), Cheminax twinax high speed copper cables and end-to-end ethernet assemblies. Collins Aerospace supplies single pair ethernet cables for aircraft designs, while Carlise Interconnect Technologies  also supplies NETflight ethernet cables in single pair, dual pair and quadrax configurations for 100 Base-T cables in aircraft In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) systems. 

Texas Instruments provides automotive-qualified single pair etheret transceivers that cuts the external component count and board space in half and consumes as little as half the power of competitive solutions. The DP83TC811S-Q1’s supports the serial gigabit media independent interface (SGMII) and improves design flexibility by enabling connections to multiple switches and interfaces. As well as requiring fewer external components, the DP83TC811S-Q1 comes in a 6-mm-by-6-mm wettable flank package, which can cut the transceiver size by half. SGMII uses only four pins instead of the 12 required for reduced gigabit media independent interface (RGMII), reducing board size and number of traces and in turn simplifying the design layout. 

For more information see TE’s Mini-ETH single pair ethernet system; www.colllinsaerospace.com; www.carliseit.com; www.ti.com

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