PHY chips for optical Ethernet backbones in cars

September 08, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Ethernet via plastic optical fiber (POF) can be the data transport medium of choice in environments with a high level of electromagnetic noise. With two new chips from fabless semiconductor company KDPOF (Madrid, Spain), electronics designers can establish POF-based Ethernet as data backbone in vehicles.

Thanks to their automotive qualification, the KD1051 and KD1052 are suited for on-board data networking applications in cars. Because these devices are Ethernet compatible, they make it easier to add POF ports to existing vehicle-bound electronic systems. According to KDPOF, they are the ideal solution for in-vehicle Ethernet backbones.

The KD1051 and KD1052 are fully integrated POF-PHYs for automotive deployment, optimized for low power consumption and a small footprint. The transceivers implement the Ethernet Physical layer on POF and transfer data at a bandwidth of 100 Mbps on standard SI-POF, MC-POF and PCS media. The are designed for future POF automotive applications such as infotainment, battery management and driver assistance systems. Operation at 1 Gbps is only supported for evaluation purposes.

Both transceivers support the digital host interface standards RGMII and MII. The KD1052 supports also 100Base-X and 1000Base-X, which simplifies system designs at system and board level. For configuration and monitoring purposes, the devices are also equipped with a Serial Management Interface (SMI).

Along with the two PHY chips, KDPOF introduced an evaluation kit that helps product designers to fathom out the potential of these chips. The kit contains two Media Converter Boards (MCEs) that are connected to KDPOF’s GUI tool for monitoring and control purposes.

Typical applications of these two PHY devices are replacing BroadR-reach in EMI critical environments, infotainment and driver assistance systems, data backbones for autonomous vehicles, battery management systems.

The KD1051 comes in a QFN package, the KD1052 in an LGA package.

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