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The applications based on traditional digital cameras have been limited by distance, cost and networking. Gigabit Ethernet is a data transmission standard based on the IEEE 802.3 protocol, brings several benefits to image transmission. In this paper, we compare the main features of Gigabit Ethernet and traditional digital camera interfaces. And, we design a high speed image acquisition system which overcomes these application limitations by allowing cameras to send imaging data over Gigabit Ethernet. In this system, we design a highly efficient, bidirectional conversion device based on FPGA, converts imaging data from a camera to IP packets based on UDP protocol, and sends it to PCs over inexpensive Cat-5 copper LAN cable. At the PC, the Cat-5 cable plugs into a standard Gigabit Ethernet NIC(network interface card), eliminating the need for a frame grabber. An communications application software is used to acquire the network data, construct and display the image. A simple and efficient acknowledge and resend mechanism was used to guarantee packet delivery. The system architecture and the communication protocol are discussed in details, the experiment and results are presented in this paper.
Date of Conference: 25-27 June 2010