Jason Lackey
Solutions Marketing

What is Automotive Ethernet?

March 21, 2018 by Jason Lackey

What is automotive ethernet?


What is Automotive Ethernet?

Automotive Ethernet is a physical network that is used to connect components within a car using a wired network. It is designed to meet the needs of the automotive market, including meeting electrical requirements (EMI/RFI emissions and susceptibility), bandwidth requirements, latency requirements, synchronization, and network management requirements.

Why Automotive Ethernet?

Automotive wiring harnesses are heavy and expensive while auto makers compete in a fiercely competitive market. They are challenged by the need to control costs, enhance performance and improve fuel economy. Reducing component cost and complexity address the first challenge, while reducing weight helps with performance and fuel economy. Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus, legendary maker of high performance sports cars, summed it up nicely: “Simplify, then add lightness.” Automotive Ethernet nails it on both fronts. This is a big deal as the wiring harness is the third most expensive component in many cars (after chassis) and can weigh in excess of a couple hundred pounds.

Why Not Automotive Ethernet?

In the past, there were challenges in coping with RF interference in high speed connection, including from sources in the car. Control over latency was another concern – good enough/best effort isn’t good enough when talking about things like ABS brakes, stability/traction control or engine control systems.

Enter AVnu, AVB and TSN

AVnu is a global consortium of industrial, consumer electronic, network and automotive manufacturers formed in 2009 to provide a framework for interoperability testing of Audio Video Bridging enabled products. Audio Video Bridging, or AVB, and closely related Time Sensitive Networking technologies provide “core technologies of prioritization, reservation, traffic shaping, and universal timing” needed to ensure successful implementation of Automotive Ethernet. It is surprising but interesting to consider that some of the same basic drivers, simplicity, cost and weight as well as the need for deterministic control over timing which helped drive adoption in pro-audio environments like recording studios, stadiums and houses of worship also help make AVB/TSN technologies idea for automotive applications.

Learn More

Learn more about Automotive Ethernet and Ixia Automotive Ethernet test solutions on our Automotive Ethernet Testing page or download our latest white paper, Automotive and Industrial Ethernet: Moving Beyond Standards Validation to System-Level Testing.