How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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By Darren Bessette
There is an increasing trend for camera companies to introduce faster connections between applications and the products they rely on. One technology that is gaining more and more traction is Gigabit Ethernet, more commonly referred to as GigE. Many are already familiar with Ethernet as a means of networking computers together and providing access to the Internet, and now this same technology is setting its sights on Machine Vision. GigE is becoming the standard of choice by many camera manufacturers and users alike, boasting a range of strengths and weaknesses as well as a healthy future.
What is GigE?
GigE is a faster Ethernet protocol that allows up to 1000Mbits/s data transmission over a twisted pair of copper wires. It uses the same connectors, cabling and protocols as traditional 10BaseT and 100BaseT Ethernet but transmits data at even faster rates between devices. This technology allows for cable runs of up to 100 meters (300 feet) with Cat5e rated cabling, and transfers data using the network OSI protocol stack already in place on networked computers. This stack defines seven different protocol abstraction layers (in both hardware and software) for handling the data streams over networks and ensuring that the data is delivered to the requesting device without errors.
GigE is a new internet protocol that provides a standardized interface for all GigE-based cameras. What differentiates GigE Vision from other network protocols is that it was specifically designed to manage machine vision cameras on a network. This interface provides four main elements that are used to command and control machine vision cameras:
• GigE Vision Control Protocol: A User Datagram Protocol (UDP) provides command and control of GigE-based cameras. It specifies stream channels and mechanisms for transmitting commands and the video data to and from the cameras.
• GigE Vision Stream Protocol defines data types that will be used by the cameras and video streams, and how image data will be transferred across the GigE network.