Structural integrity

Broadcom's director of automotive, Tim Lau explains how increasing levels of connectivity will change the way vehicle electric/electronic architectures are designed

“Broadcom's second-generation Ethernet technology for the physical layer transceiver, BCM89811, can support 100Mb/s over single pair unshielded twisted cable. It's an integrated chip solution manufactured in 40nm process technologies. This helps us reduce power consumption by up to 30%.

“BCM89811 isn't targeted at just luxury models, the key is that it can service very high bandwidth applications, but it can do it at a very competitive price point, and the reason that we can do that is because we can run our networking technology over very low cost unshielded twisted pair cable.

“Typically high bandwidth technologies have to use heavily shielded cables and connectors, which are expensive and heavy, and so from an implementation perspective that's what's always been a concern for OEMs – the cost of the wiring harness. Now the expectation is that it's going to lower the implementation cost of several applications such as ADAS and infotainment, where now they can migrate these applications from the high-end luxury models to the mid-tier and eventually into the entry models.

“As the connected car grows in momentum and we see more in points being connected to an in-vehicle network, connecting infotainment to ADAS, to instrument clusters to telematics units, there is always some concern about security and ensure that data isn't corrupted.

"There are various points where there are security concerns in the car, different areas that could be vulnerable. OBD access, this could include someone who could try to tap into your car using the OBD access port. Ethernet port access, that is replacing a port that is Ethernet with a malicious attack. Gateway devices and then firmware corruption, where a malicious firmware is introduced to the car.

“These are solutions that have been implemented for many years across many different market segments and are under consideration from an automotive perspective.

“First, the Ethernet packet is standardised; there's a header, a payload and footer. A hacker would need to specifically access the correct area in an Ehternet packet to corrupt that data, that's one level of security straightaway.

“Virtual LANs; being able to virtually separate network data is one way to potentially isolate mission critical information away from non-mission critical information. So you could virtually isolate your body domain information away from your infotainment information.

“Bandwidth awareness. There are various tools within Ethernet that allow a user to understand if it's bandwidth is being oversubscribed because of flooding or some kind of attack. These things can all be caught very quickly with Ethernet being monitored.

“Then as we get into more advanced security techniques, there's device authentication, where we can verify through an IEEE standard called 802.1x whether an end point has been corrupted or compromised and of course full data encryption. So MAC-level encryption and message authentication.”

tags: Broadcom Electronics