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Automotive Ethernet

Testing Solutions to Achieve
Reliability and Interoperability

The benefits of automotive Ethernet

Today’s vehicles are generating and transmitting vast amounts of data in order to implement advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), on-board diagnostics, cameras and sensors, in-vehicle-infotainment systems, and smart safety systems. These in-vehicle networks require much faster speeds than the what has historically been possible using bus like CAN/CAN-FD, LIN, FlexRay, SENT, PSI5, and CXPI networks.

Furthermore, requirements for greater integration between vehicle subsystems are driving fundamental architectural changes with an emphasis on scalable architectures and complex topologies, including gateways connected to a backbone.

Beyond the technical requirements, these in-vehicle networks also need to be lightweight, cost-efficient, and operate in rugged conditions and wide temperature ranges. They also need to be extremely reliable, especially for systems designed to protect the safety of the passengers.

Automotive Ethernet answers all of these demands. It’s a cost-effective, lightweight option that is able to deliver data at high speeds. It’s a proven technology that serves the needs for both capacity and integration.

But unlike non-automotive Ethernet, the automotive bus uses unshielded, single twisted-pair cabling designed for lower weight and cost and PAM3/PAM4 modulation to achieve high data rates and reliability.

Read more about trends driving the connected car

Automotive Ethernet standards

As new applications for automotive Ethernet emerge and speeds become faster, standards organizations release new test and compliance requirements that automotive manufacturers and their suppliers must meet.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has introduced IP-based automotive Ethernet 100BASE-T1 (P802.3bw), Multi-Gigabit Ethernet (IEEE 802.3ch), 1000BASE-T1 (802.3bp) and 10BASE-T1S (IEEE 802.3cg) standards. Most recently, the IEEE introduced the Multi-Gigabit Ethernet (IEEE 802.3ch) standard, which can operate at 2.5Gbps, 5Gbps and 10Gbps with PAM4 encoding scheme.

To ensure the interoperability of hardware and the safe, predictable operation of the vehicle in diverse environments and operating conditions, strict constraints are placed on signal levels, noise, and clock characteristics. The testing techniques specified by the standards, although well-established for stationary Ethernet networks, have created new design challenges for many automotive engineers accustomed to working with slower serial buses like CAN and LIN.

Tektronix can offer vast experience in supporting high speed serial design implementation and troubleshooting, with a variety of instruments and solutions to help engineers test and validate their automotive Ethernet design, and ensure it is standard compliant.

Validating your automotive Ethernet design

Once a prototype device is built up, it’s time to test its integration with the system and characterize it to make sure it’s within specification.

Tektronix oscilloscopes are an invaluable tool for bringing up and characterizing your Automotive Ethernet design.

  • Complete characterization under different use cases with advanced measurements and analysis tools
  • Automated measurements such as amplitude and time measurements, along with statistical analysis and histograms, are a good place to start to check signal quality
  • Eye diagrams are the fastest way to evaluate PAM3 signaling for noise and signal integrity issues
  • Jitter analysis tools provide complete profiles of master/slave clock jitter including Time Interval Error (TIE), and cycle-to-cycle, Rj/Dj measurements and isolate the potential source of errors

Eye diagrams are the best way to view complex PAM3 waveforms

Speed debugging and troubleshooting your automotive Ethernet design

It’s to be expected that in complex networks systems or components sometimes fail, requiring speedy debug to root cause. Automotive Ethernet’s higher data rates and embedded clocking are sensitive to noise and power variations.

Engineers, used to evaluating waveforms as part of their troubleshooting procedure, often find the PAM3 signals more difficult to debug. Also, since automotive Ethernet is a bi-directional bus it can be more challenging to capture the exact signal of interest.

Tektronix oscilloscopes configured with advanced analysis software provide the tools required for quick and effective troubleshooting if you miss the mark on a spec.

  • TIE and histograms to troubleshoot clock recovery problems
  • Eye diagrams to quickly evaluate PAM3 signals
  • Advanced jitter analysis to identify noise sources by determining whether the jitter is random or deterministic
  • Extended triggering functionality
  • FFT analysis to isolate sources of interference

Troubleshooting complex systems requires multi-channel measurements and capable signal integrity tools such as FFTs and jitter analysis.

auto-ethernet-app-wedge3 psd-sftw-test-results

Automated tests such as this Power Spectral Density test, confirm compliance with the standard by comparing results to test limits.

Compliance with confidence

With greater integration of subsystems into networked environments engineers have to provide verifiable, objective evidence that every device is interoperable; that an individual Electronic Control Unit (or ECU) will reliably communicate with any other ECU. Requirements also extend to ESD and EMC/EMI testing.

However, the adoption of more complex, high-speed Mbps and Gbps serial technologies can be more challenging to test.

Tektronix has been involved in high-speed compliance testing for many years and is applying this expertise to testing newer technologies in automotive. Compliance solutions include support for 100BASE-T1 (802.3bpTM) and as well as BroadR-Reach or 100BASE-T1 (802.3bwTM). The latest compliance solution is for Multi-Gigabit Ethernet (IEEE 802.3ch) and 10BASE-T1S (802.3cg). All adhere to the testing requirements defined by the OPEN Alliance. Tektronix oscilloscopes and spectrum/signal analyzers can also be applied for ESD and EMC testing.

Introducing Signal Separation for Automotive Ethernet Testing

Signal Characterization and Protocol testing of automotive Ethernet can create challenges from design to validation to maintenance. Seeing actual data between ECU#1 and ECU#2, assessing signal integrity in Full Duplex mode and examining Protocol data at the system level without breaking the cable add test complications, time and expense. Tektronix’ unique, patent pending, Signal Separation solution overcomes the shortcomings of current offerings in the market, enabling customers to:


Automotive Ethernet Testing Solutions

Testing an automotive Ethernet often requires an oscilloscope, appropriate probes, a signal source, software and appropriate test fixtures. To meet your needs, Tektronix offers a full line of test solutions for Signal Quality and Compliance.

Automotive Ethernet Test Oscilloscope Software Probes Signal Source Fixture
Signal Quality Testing
(Signal Separation, Protocol Decode, Signal Quality & Debug)
5 Series MSO (Windows only)
6 Series B MSO (Windows only)
Option 5/6 -AUTOEN-SS: Signal Separation
Option 5/6 -PAM3 (Automotive Ethernet Signal Analysis)
Option 5/6 -SRAUTOEN1 (100BASE-T1 Protocol decode)
Opt. 5/6 -DJA (Jitter Analysis)
TCP0030A / P6022
  ECU Dependent
Contact Tektronix for information
Open Alliance/IEEE PMA Tx Compliance test 5 Series MSO (Windows only)
6 Series B MSO (Windows only)
Opt. 5/6-CMAUTOEN10 (10BASE-T1S compliance) TDP1500 AFG31000 series (Return loss) TF-XGBT
Opt. 5/6-CMAUTOEN (100BASE-T1/1000BASE-T1 compliance) TDP1500, TDP3500 AFG31000 or AWG5200 series (Distortion and Return loss) TF-XGBT, TF-BRR-CFD
Opt. BRR (100BASE-T1/1000BASE-T1 Compliance) TDP1500, TDP3500 AFG31000 or AWG5200 series (Distortion and Return loss) TF-XGBT, TF-BRR-CFD
Opt. AUTOEN10G (Multigigabit Ethernet Compliance) P7700 series (optional) NA PCB S3401 SB 396373*1
Contact Tektronix for more information

Automated testing software may be installed on a new instrument, added to an existing instrument, or shared among a fleet of scopes in the same series. Contact Tektronix for more information.

Automotive Ethernet resources

Automotive Ethernet test instruments

Facing challenges in other connected car applications?


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