Network Interfaces & Communication Protocols
A network interface protocol is an agreed upon language that includes words, syntax, encoding, and the link speed at which information is communicated between two or more devices. Devices and computing subsystems are interconnected through interfaces based on specific protocols.
An interface protocol is a specification that defines how data is delivered and interpreted. An example of this is when two pieces of separately manufactured equipment can effectively communicate with each other without having previously discussed their specific engineering concepts.
Data can successfully be delivered over any of the following interface protocols, however, depending on your system requirements one protocol may be more advantageous based on data throughput, latency, security, redundancy, interoperability, or a combination of parameters. Below are examples of different communication protocols for embedded systems:
Ethernet Data Link Layer
Ethernet networks have become ubiquitous today in a wide range of applications. Ethernet technology provides both switched-fabric and point-to-point topology options. Depending on link speeds, network topology, and device implementations Ethernet networks can be designed for simple, low-performance data exchanges all the way to high-performance, low-latency, compute-intensive solutions.
Fibre Channel Communications Interface Protocol
Fibre Channel provides either point-to-point, arbitrated loop, or switched-fabric topology options for simultaneous internetwork communication over numerous interfaces. The upper level protocols available on Fibre Channel networks enable high-bandwidth and low-latency mission critical exchanges of data between sensors, processors, storage, displays, and other functions. Fibre Channel network interfaces are generally used for distributing any type of high-bandwidth data across an entire network of processors, sensors, storage devices and displays.
sFPDP Interface Protocol
Serial Front Panel Data Port (sFPDP) is a high-speed, low-overhead, point-to-point communication protocol that is built specifically for sensor interfaces. sFPDP is primarily utilized to move numerous types of sensor data from data-source to data-sync. These sensors include but are not limited to: radar, video, digitized RF, medical imaging, and communications. Serial FPDP also supports not only the point-to-point topology, but also supports a range of other topologies, including: chained topology (also known as looped or ring-based), unidirectional, or bi-directional.
Mil1394 (1394b-AS5643) Communications Interface Protocol
The Mil1394 protocol, until recently known as 1394b-AS5643, is specifically designed and built to support point-to-point, daisy chain, tree, and multiple loop connections. Fault tolerance can be seamlessly achieved by using looped connections, where traffic is dispatched in the direction of the shortest path towards its destination. 1394b-AS5643 network interfaces are regularly utilized by military and aerospace systems for critical operations involving high-speed communications and isochronous real-time data transfer.