SEI Starts Suggestion of All-Glass-Fiber for In-Vehicle LAN

Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI) started suggestion of all-glass-fiber (AGF) for in-vehicle local area network (LAN). Presently adoption of in-vehicle optical fiber LAN is almost limited to European luxury cars. Plastic optical fiber (POF) is used for these cars. SEI forecasts AGF could replace POF when the major in-vehicle LAN standard, MOST, is currently upgraded to higher speed, indicating the speed 1Gbps or more. SEI plans to realize AGF adoption to in-vehicle LAN until 2017.

There are several types of optical fiber, those which are AGF, all-plastic-fiber and the composite type with glass core and plastic clad. POF is durable for bending and the price is low while optical transmission loss is large. AGF represents very small transmission loss while the flex resistance and the strength are generally weak.

SEI takes advantage of its telecom business skills and suggests strong-type AGF for in-vehicle LAN, of which the minimum bend radius is smaller than conventional AGF and the durability is improved against repeated bending and twisting. SEI also develops the suitable method to manufacture automotive wiring harness with AGF since the manufacturing processes include swaging and straining of metal cables and AGF.

The latest MOST standard is called MOST150, suitable for 150Mbps LAN. The new cars of MOST150 are expected to be commercially sold in 2013. The next stage standard for 1-5Gbps, called MOST next generation, is already talked by concerns. Gigabit class LAN meets such demand to use several AV displays concurrently for each different objective. MOST also uses copper cable but optical fiber might be advantageous in gigabit class.