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Ethernet is an evolving standard, not a static one. It's a family of frame-based networking technologies and communication services offering different communication capabilities and quality of service to distributed applications. Ethernet is becoming more present in critical embedded systems because of the supporting software and hardware ecosystem, and guaranteed growth path supported by different industries. Ethernet is a mature technology developed for best-effort communication in high-volume and consumer applications, but its properties have imposed limitations on design of fault-tolerant, time-critical, safety-critical and mission-critical systems. As Ethernet services are continuously evolving to cover different applications, modified variants of Ethernet and additional services have been developed to allow its use in low-latency, lossless application in data centers, as well as in embedded critical applications. This paper provides an overview and comparison of existing and ongoing Ethernet developments for design of time-, mission-, and safety-critical systems. It discusses the capabilities of different Ethernet QoS protocol services (among others IEEE AVB/DCB, ARINC 664, TTEthernet/SAE AS6802, and various Real-Time Ethernet modifications) and their applicability in critical embedded systems.
Date of Conference: 3-7 Oct. 2010