Gigabit Ethernet fit for a tank

The Ethernet upgrade is part of a long-term Army plan to bolster the tank's electronics systems to greatly improve digital command and control capabilities

Ethernet continues to go places its inventors probably never imagined. This week GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms got a US$645,000 contract to supply a custom version of its Gigabit Ethernet switch to rumble around inside the US Army's Abrams tank.

Specifically, GE Fanuc said it would supply a custom version of its IPv6 capable fully managed Layer 2/3 Gigabit Ethernet switch which features non-blocking shared memory, a 44 Gbps core and delivers full-wire speed performance with minimal latency to all ports simultaneously and is available in both air- and conduction-cooled formats, the company stated. The company will also provide its dual 10 GB Optical port XMCXGO XMC card for the switch.

Evolution of Ethernet

The Ethernet upgrade is part of a long-term Army plan to bolster the tank's electronics systems to greatly improve digital command and control capabilities. The upgrades include faster networked communications, high-density computer memory and increased microprocessing speed, as well as the ability to upgrade the overall system more easily. More than 8,800 Abrams main battle tanks have been produced for the US Army and other armies around the world since 1978.

The deal is also only a small part of millions of dollars in related technology contracts GE Fanuc has with the Army.

The Army isn't the only branch of the military to take advantage of Ethernet's flexibility. The US Navy recently signed Boeing to a five-year, $42.9 million to upgrade and support the Gigabit Ethernet networks it is building on its guided missile destroyers.

The Navy's Gigabit Ethernet Data Multiplex System (GEDMS) upgrades the current 100Mbps fiber-based backbone network to a 1Gbs redundant Ethernet mesh, bringing enhanced multimedia capability to the ships, the Navy said. The GEDMS is the heart and soul of the guided missile ships and basically handles ship-wide data transfers and supports navigation, combat, alarm and indicating, and damage control systems. It also is the underlying communications mechanism for the Aegis missile system which uses a system of radars to track and destroy targets.

And the Ethernet odyssey went into space earlier this year when NASA signed an agreement with a German Ethernet vendor to build highly fault-tolerant networks for space-based applications. TTTech builds a set of time-triggered services called TTEthernet that is implemented on top of standard IEEE802.3 Ethernet. Its technology is designed to enable design of synchronous, highly dependable embedded computing and networking, capable of tolerating multiple faults, the company said.

In addition, NASA and TTTech will collaborate on space network standards that will lead to an open space Ethernet standard suitable for deployment in upcoming space networks in NASA programs and space systems.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags gigabit ethernet

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Cooney

Network World

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?