What In-Car Connectivity Solutions Are Available For Connected Vehicles?

There are currently dozens of cabling standards and solutions for automotive networking, and below is a chart that illustrates many of them.

So how do automotive manufacturers choose which one to go for? When selecting the best in-vehicle network medium, speed is a primary consideration, as well as data transfer, but within that, interoperability and network topology come a close second.

The type of cabling selected dictates what kind of network can be designed; from a simple point-point network, up to a more complex star network, where single nodes are attached to a central point like the spokes of a wheel, to a complex multi-drop system. Either way, the number of sensors and complexity of the network has a huge role to play in cable selection.

Smart or intelligent car. Sport car with polygon line on abstract background. Polygonal space low poly with connecting dots and lines. Connection structure. Vector speed concept background.; Shutterstock ID 1361413829; purchase_order: Marketing; job: Blog; client: Imagination; other:
Interoperability and topology

Interoperability is the last piece of the puzzle and binds the entire vehicle’s systems together. Often the infotainment system is running on one OS with custom hardware, the engine management system uses another running on highly-bespoke SoCs, and every other in-vehicle system comes from a different manufacturer and is configured differently. As such, the networking medium needs to be agnostic and universal enough that it can bridge these technical divides and pass information seamlessly.

Technology Peak speed Network Topology
LINBus 20kbps one host and up to 15 connected devices
CANBus FD 12Mbps star/multi-drop
IEEE 802.3cg
10Mbps point-to-point or multi-drop
MOST 25/50/150 23/46/138Mbps daisy-chain/ring up to 64 devices
IEEE 802.3bw
100Mbps point-to-point
MIPI C-PHY/D-PHY 4.5 – 13.7Gbps per lane point-to-point
IEEE 802.3bp
1Gbps point-to-point
IEEE 802.3ch 2.5/5/10G BASE-T1 2.5/5/10Gbps point-to-point
IEEE 802.3cy
25/50/100Gbps point-to-point

Looking at the traditional automotive wiring, there’s no single option that offers everything needed. Some are faster, but point-to-point only, others have an unrivalled ability to form complex networks, but this comes at the cost of raw power.

So, what is the answer? Autonomous vehicles have complex connectivity requirements. The solution that comes out on top in terms of features simplicity and interoperability is Ethernet. Ethernet is well-known and widely understood standard. It has been around as an open standard since 1980 and can be found as a connection method in everything from home internet routers to smart fridges to satellites.

The solution that comes out on top in terms of features simplicity and interoperability is Ethernet.

With the use of Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) across almost all network cable devices, using Ethernet means there is no added work in creating a custom layer for automotive-specific networking systems such as CAN bus.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has created several globally recognised standards for Ethernet all designed to suit different purposes, meaning that a designer of automotive networks has a shopping list of mediums to select based on what they need and can link them together via routers and switches to create affordable, reliable, and safe networks.

That’s why our IP solutions rely on Ethernet.