The global networking protocol familiar to us as Ethernet, is making its way to the intelligent, Internet-connected car by beating out rival protocols CAN, LIN, and MOST in the race to speed and flexibility.

Why Ethernet?

Ethernet provides easy and accurate networking inside a self-driving vehicle.  It lets the in-vehicle computer synchronize to automotive sensor units like Cameras, RADAR, LIDAR, and Ultrasound at Gigabit rates to perform with optimum passenger safety. It can also carry high bandwidth audio and video for a quick, immersive infotainment experience. 

Connectors and Cabling

Unlike commercial buildings where RJ45 plugs are common, cars face demanding conditions and therefore must use sealed and sturdy Ethernet gear, like Amphenol ICC’s NETBridge connectors.  With transfer capabilities up to 1Gb/s, and sealing up to IP69K, NETBridge comes with additional locking assurance and meets automotive standards USCAR2 and LV214. 

Cars may have gone wireless, talking to other cars and reading traffic signs on the way. However, that is not the case inside the car, as copper wires still line up the vehicle body for Ethernet to function.  While traditional dual shielded twisted pair cables carry a significant weight, single and unshielded wires offer 30% weight and 80% cost savings, making the vehicle lighter on the fuel and on carbon footprint.  Other experiments have brought the weight further down using Plastic Optical Fiber cabling. 


The OPEN (One-Pair Ethernet Alliance) consortium is a group of automotive and electronics OEMs joining hands to standardize Automotive Ethernet.  Keeping this in mind, they have promoted the specification IEEE802.3bw100BASE-T1 known earlier as BroadR-Reach.  

Other associations similar to OPEN include GENIVI and Japan’s JASPAR. 

As these consortia woo more interested players across the industry, we see a growing array of technologies being deployed to arrive at the ultimate connectivity solution.  There is no doubt that we have entered the age of the Automotive Ethernet.