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INICnet™ Technology for Automotive Multimedia Networking


INICnet™ technology simplifies automotive infotainment networking with support for Ethernet, audio, video and control over a single cable. INICnet can coexist with automotive Ethernet to seamlessly interface Internet Protocol (IP)-based data communications across vehicle domains, while providing efficient transport of audio and video data. INICnet does not require development and licensing of additional protocols or software stacks, reducing development costs and keeping development on schedule. INICnet supports a variety of system management methodologies via IP, or a dedicated control message channel. Data rates of 50 Mbps on UTP, or 150 Mbps on coax or optical cabling, are supported.

INICnet Attributes:

INICnet
  • Integrated network management
  • Fast network start-up (off to full network availability in about 120 ms)
  • Industry-standard application interfaces, including I2S, USB, SPI, MediaLB, I2C
  • Synchronization - the same clock is available at all nodes in the system
  • On-chip switching and routing of stream data
  • ECU power management support
  • Multiple data types simultaneously supported: audio, video, packet, message

Why use INICnet technology?

Single-cable simplicity
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INICnet technology is the true automotive multimedia networking technology. Only INICnet supports audio, video, packet data (including IP), and control messages over a single cable, with efficiency and simplicity. INICnet is capable of relaying IP traffic via Ethernet data frames, across network boundaries. Its inherent routing function enables inter-networking between multimedia infotainment applications and other functional domains.

No software overhead
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Competing technologies either don’t handle the data types or require substantial external processing of the data. Audio is a key infotainment feature, and INICnet supports standard digital audio formats with multiple sources and multiple sinks with no software overhead. Simultaneously, INICnet provides high-speed, packet-data communications supporting file transfers, code updating, system management and system diagnostics via standard Ethernet frames.

Flexibility in infotainment implementations
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Various system management technologies are possible including IP-based implementations, or message-based schemes. An INICnet infotainment system is fully compatible with other IP-based networks allowing seamless integration of IP-based system management and data communications. At the same time INICnet supports multiple channels of stream data. INICnet supports all infotainment data requirements using one cable, one connector, with one implementation to qualify and validate.

INICnet supports static network-resource management via UNICENS technology wherein all network nodes are discovered and fully configured for all data I/O from a central point in the system relieving the burden of network and resource management from all but one node. Any IP-based system management can be implemented via the Ethernet channel such as SOME/IP or MQTT. Dynamic system and resource management via MOST® technology is fully supported.

Integrated network management
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A family of compatible INICnet ICs are available at data rates of 50 Mbps and 150 Mbps. Network management is integrated, off-loading the host processor from that real-time task while protecting the network from a faulty node. In fact, INICnet supports “slim” (processor-less) nodes where configuration of the INIC and its peripheral devices is managed by a host device elsewhere in the network. A variety of topologies include: point-to-point, ring or daisy-chain. The nodes can be arranged in any order with the resulting network functionality remaining the same.

Support for packet, stream and message data types
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All devices in the network support packet, stream (e.g. audio), and message data types. Any device on the network can source or sink these data types. Efficient utilization of network bandwidth means that the bandwidth is available for applications, not overhead. Stream data requires no header, footer, addressing or processing, just the raw data is sent.

Robust INICs for in-vehicle multimedia networking
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Microchip’s Intelligent Network Interface Controllers (INICs) are advanced integrated circuits that support in-vehicle multimedia networking. INIC technology supports multimedia data types, including audio, video, and packet data, all over a single cable. INICs include a wide variety of industry-standard application interfaces including I2S, USB, SPI, MediaLB, I2C, and TSI, supporting the entire range of ECU functionality from simple to sophisticated.