Ethernet is considered (for the most part) a non-deterministic networking scheme, using “best effort” and requiring handshakes and confirmation. While this makes it inherently reliable, it also makes Ethernet natively unsuitable for time-sensitive applications — such as voice/video over IP, Robotic (Motion) Control, Industrial Automation, etc. — that require real-time communication or time synchronization.
The Precision Time Protocol, as defined in the IEEE-1588 standard, provides a method to precisely synchronize compute devices over a Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN) using “clock synchronization.” However, if two clocks are set at the same rate, there is no guarantee that they will stay in synchronization. Therefore, the synchronization process must be continuous.
In addition to guns, ammunition, ruck sacs and more, the modern US soldier must now carry electronics– from night vision to radios, and now programs such as Nett Warrior add smartphones, tablets, and GPS to this load. And just like the bullets for a soldier’s gun, a soldier’s electronics need ammo in the form of batteries–and they all need to be able to communicate with themselves to share intelligence both on the field and with central command.
The Vehicular Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability (VICTORY) specification was developed as a standard for US Army vehicles to combat a history of the “bolt-on” approach when adding new communications systems and electronics—systems that were often siloed and had no interoperability between them. This earlier approach often led to duplicate hardware, little future-proofing and a lack of required economies for size, weight, power and costs (SWAP-C).
Ethernet is the well-established standard in government, enterprise, and home applications. It is rapidly becoming the standard for military and other rugged applications due to proven interoperability, reliability, and speed. Historically, dedicated bus architectures have been used in military applications, resulting in heavy and somewhat inflexible systems.
Ethernet has been shown as a viable alternative for a number of reasons:
- • Ethernet and IP technologies are ubiquitous
- • Ethernet devices are inherently interoperable, encouraging modularity
- • Rugged commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components are readily available
- • Ethernet continues to receive large technology investments
- • Ethernet operates over world-spanning distances using established infrastructures
MilSource will be returning for a 5th year to AUVSI XPONENTIAL taking place in Chicago from April 30th to May 2, 2019. We’re looking forward to meeting familiar faces and making new acquaintances at our booth #3210.
As a returning exhibitor, it’s fun to watch the continual growth in unmanned applications. The first event we attended, the show floor was full of military applications. As the FAA regulations and technology continue to evolve, we see so many more consumer and law enforcement/rescue applications.
As the payloads continue to evolve to meet application requirements, so does the need for communication between IP-based payload elements: LiDar, video, sensors and more. With the smallest SWAP in the industry, Techaya continues to be a vendor of choice for network switches, routers and USB hubs
As always, AUVSI allows for FREE pre-event registration for those interested in attending the exhibitor hall. Register by April 26th using this LINK. Other passes are available on the XPONENTIAL web site if you wish to attend classes and sessions.
See you in The Windy City!
In all mobile military and airborne platforms, the transition from mechanical systems to electronically controlled systems is taking place. As the electronics content continues to grow, so do the processing loads that happen on every platform. Embedded computers are rising in sophistication as they need to support sensors, radar, video streams, and remote-control functions. Distributed processing, the interconnection of devices, and communication between devices has led to an exponential jump in bandwidth requirements on the interconnects between these devices. Traditional protocols like IEEE 1394 and USB still have legacy applications on these platforms, but most new platforms and platform retrofits are turning to Ethernet as their de facto communications protocol, supporting 1 Gbps in most platforms and growing to 10 Gbps in certain payloads.
In my last blog, I took a look at the history of Ethernet. It was fun to look back at history, however it is more important to look at the future. With Ethernet becoming the ubiquitous connectivity standard for service providers, enterprises, and military applications, we are letting go of proprietary networking technologies and heading directly in to industry standard networking based on Ethernet.
So, to get a little retro on everybody, I thought I’d take a step back in time and have a fun look at the history of Ethernet. A couple of months ago, Ethernet actually celebrated its 44th anniversary. That’s right. Ethernet was developed back in 1973 and today, 44 years later, it is becoming THE ubiquitous local area networking (LAN) technology in addition to wide area networking (WAN) and now even infiltrating storage area networking (SAN).
We’re often approached by companies who have designed a prototype system composed of networks sensors, cameras, GPS systems, and other elements with compute platforms over Ethernet. These prototypes often use commercial-grade Ethernet switches. Sometimes they use the enclosure, sometimes they pull the components out of the enclosure and try to jerry-rig the switch components in some sort of fashion. What they soon find out, however, is that these commercial-grade switches (and other commercial-grade componentry) do not stand up the rigorous environmental factors that mobile military and aerospace applications almost always run in to.
Ethernet has become the connectivity platform of choice for military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system designers.
Fixed- and rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are employed extensively by the military for reconnaissance, search and rescue, counterterrorism, and combat. UAVs function in missions where it is too dangerous, too difficult, or too demanding to send a pilot, whether the mission is in inaccessable terrain or a war zone, whether the objective is covert surveillance, a long-haul flight, or continuous extended observation.