Broadcom rolls broadest automotive Ethernet product portfolio

December 14, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Communications chip vendor Broadcom Corporation has introduced a broad automotive Ethernet portfolio, engineered to meet the rigorous qualifications and demands of the automotive semiconductor market. Broadcom's BroadR-Reach automotive portfolio delivers high-performance bandwidth of 100Mbps and beyond while dramatically reducing connectivity costs up to 80 % and cabling weight as much as 30 %, the company claims.

As consumer demand for in-vehicle connectivity continues to grow, automotive manufacturers are under pressure to deliver competitive, innovative features while minimizing cost. Broadcom's BroadR-Reach automotive solutions allow multiple in-vehicle systems (such as infotainment, on-board diagnostics and automated driver assistance) to simultaneously access information over unshielded single twisted pair cable. By eliminating cumbersome shielded cabling, automotive manufacturers can significantly reduce connectivity costs and cabling weight.

The Broadcom automotive Ethernet product portfolio consists of five devices including three highly integrated switches with embedded PHYs, and two stand-alone PHY solutions. Each device in the automotive portfolio is designed to meet in-car EMC requirements and extreme automotive temperature grades. Broadcom is TS16949 compliant; AEC-Q100 qualification is currently under way.

This announcement follows the recent introduction of the OPEN (One-Pair Ether-Net) Alliance Special Interest Group (SIG). Established to drive wide scale adoption of Ethernet-based automotive connectivity as the standard in automotive connectivity, the SIG will address industry requirements for improving in-vehicle safety, comfort, and infotainment, while significantly reducing network complexity and cabling costs. Members include Broadcom, NXP Semiconductors, Freescale Semiconductor, Harman International, BMW, Hyundai Motor Company and Jaguar Land Rover. License to specification for BroadR-Reach is available to all interested OPEN Alliance members under RAND terms via a license from Broadcom.

In detail, Broadcom announced five Ethernet products. The BCM89500 7-port, layer 2 switch with four integrated BroadR-Reach PHYs is designed to support IEEE 1588 and IEEE 802.1AS timing functions. The BCM89501 is very similar but contains five integrated PHYs. The BCM89200 is a -port, layer 2 switch with two integrated PHYs, supporting various uplink ports for connectivity to external devices. The BCM89610 single-port PHY is optimized for in-vehicle diagnostic applications for when vehicle is powered off. The BCM89810 single-port PHY, in contrast, is optimized for multiple in-car network applications for when vehicle is powered on.

All devices with exception to BCM89610 are compliant with OPEN Alliance specifications. Devices are now sampling with production volume