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Applying Single-Pair Ethernet to Make Aircraft Cabin Networks Smarter and Lighter
The recent ARINC 854 Cabin Equipment Network Bus standard defines an Ethernet physical layer to reduce bulk and increase standardization in aircraft cabin network cabling.
Russ Graves, Global Aerospace Business Development Manager, TE Connectivity
Designers of electrical cabling interconnection systems (EWIS) in aircraft handle a heavy challenge in applying wiring harnesses and cabling throughout the airframe. Connecting all the screens, sensors, data hubs, switches, solid-state drive (SSD) arrays, computers, in-flight entertainment (IFE) servers, and other electronics involves a lot of wiring and connectors. All of these network connectivity components can weigh thousands of pounds, and hauling them can cost over $100,000 in fuel annually. As engineers strive to develop more fuel-efficient aircraft, cutting the mass and bulk of cable and wiring harness can be a struggle. To their rescue, the Cabin Systems Subcommittee (CSS) SAE Industry Technologies Consortia developed the ARINC 854 Cabin Equipment Network Bus specification.
ยป TE Connectivity designs and develops innovative solutions designed solve space, weight, reliability, and efficiency challenges in connected aircraft.
The ARINC 854 standard references the 100BASE-T1 standard for Automotive Ethernet, which utilizes what is commonly called single-pair Ethernet (SPE). Under this standard, two-way (full-duplex) SPE links support 100Mb/s data rates over a single twisted pair of wires in cable lengths up to 15m (49ft). Compared to heftier, enterprise-grade 100BASE-TX (100Mb/s), 1000BASE-T (1Gb/s), and 10GBASE-T (10Gb/s) that use four unshielded twisted-wire pairs (UTP), the two-wire SPE design reduces cable weight by nearly half. Compatible connectors and cables are described under ARINC Part 2 and Part 3 specifications, respectively.

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