Spanish startup takes 1Gbit automotive Ethernet to plastic

September 23, 2016 // By Julien Happich
Exhibiting at IEEE's Ethernet & IP @ Automotive Technology Day which took place in Paris this year, Spanish startup KDPOF (Knowledge Development for Plastic Optical Fiber) ran a demo of a 1Gbit/s automotive Ethernet backbone across 40 meters of Plastic Optical Fibre (POF).

Four surround-view cameras as well as an LTE-A antenna module linked to an SJA1105 E 802.3-compliant automotive Ethernet switch from NXP through KDPOF's 1000BASE-RH ports.   

Lifting the POF bundle, KDPOF's Director for marketing and communications Óscar Ciordia highlighted the immediate benefits. "POF advantageously replaces copper because it weighs only a fourth of the equivalent length in twisted-pair copper cabling. It is impervious to electromagnetic interferences and unlike glass-based optical fibres, it is very rugged and can be bent without damage".


KDPOF's surround-view demo over 40 meters of plastic optical fibre.

Since its inception in 2010, the company has been focusing on the development of POF PHY interfaces and transceivers for high speed Ethernet. It released its first chip in 2014, serving consumers and telcos with POF-capable SOHO and home networking solutions.

"Four to five years ago, Broadcom was focusing on automotive Ethernet over twisted-pair copper cables. The result was the Broad-Reach line of 100Mbps automotive Ethernet PHYs and switches. But infotainment and more sophisticated features call for even more bandwidth, and car OEMs are now calling for 1Gbit/s or more" noted Ciordia. "But EMC issues are already a problem at 100Mbps, that's why we've set our goal to deliver automotive Ethernet directly on POF".

"It took BMW over a year to solve its EMC issues at 100Mbps on twisted-pair copper cables, it even had to delay a commercial launch. Jaguar-Land Rover does not even want to try with copper, they don't want to face the same problems when moving to 1Gbps", Ciordia told EETimes Europe.