CAN FD – The Next Big (Fast) Thing

 

The CAN protocol (ISO 11898) has remained relatively unchanged since it was introduced in 1993 as CAN 2.0 A/B. In the last few years, CAN FD (for Flexible Data rate or “Fast Data” as we like to call it) was introduced and is now defined as ISO 11898-1. The CAN FD protocol is backward compatible. Any CAN FD device can understand CAN 2.0 frames (now known as “Classic CAN”). However, the opposite is not true. If a Classic CAN node encounters a CAN FD frame, it will destroy the packet with an error frame.

Classic CAN has been the de facto standard for in-vehicle communication for the automotive industry since the 90s. CAN has also been used as the lower-layer protocol for a number of other “higher-layer” protocols such as CANopen, J1939, DeviceNet and more. This has resulted in the CAN protocol being widely deployed in factory automation, heavy-duty vehicles and engines, and internal machine communication – such as elevators and medical equipment.

The automotive industry is the main driver behind the adaptation of CAN FD. The complexity of software in automobiles has increased over time, and the number of systems that communicate with each other via CAN bus has also increased. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of in-vehicle bus nodes went from about 10 nodes to more than 40 systems. This trend has continued into the 21st century, as in-vehicle communication demands have put further and further strain on vehicle design, causing an ever increasing number of CAN bus networks in the vehicle. Through the adaption of CAN FD, in-vehicle communication architectures will be able to accomplish more with less!

The basic idea of CAN FD is to speed up the bit rate during the “payload” part of a CAN frame. In this way up to 8 times more payload (64 bytes vs. 8 bytes) can be delivered in the same amount of time. So the beginning and end of the frame are transmitted at “Classic CAN” speeds, and the CAN transceivers just flip a switch and speed up for the payload part of the message. When you consider that the rest of the frame is at slower speeds, the overall increase in speed is about 6 times faster. Not all messages need 64 bytes of data of course, so the diagram below shows how a CAN FD message of 8 bits and 64 bytes compare to a Classic CAN frame of 8 bytes.

CANFDdiagram

The question is why didn’t CAN FD just speed up the whole message? Why just the payload? The answer requires a slightly deeper understanding of the CAN protocol. A basic element of the CAN protocol is its arbitration process. When two nodes transmit at the same instant, their messages “collide” and they must both “back-off” and retransmit at different intervals according to priority. Another basic element of the protocol is that nodes on a bus must be reached within a “bit time” during this arbitration. The notion of a “bit time” has implications on the length of the bus – the actual cable, since electrical signals have a finite propagation speed. Therefore, a CAN bus running with 1 Mbit/s has a maximum length of 40 meters by rule of thumb. If CAN FD sped up the whole bus, the higher bit rates would shorten the bus cable to unsuitable lengths.

The automotive industry is readying itself to start initial implementation of CAN FD in its designs for 2016, with vehicles hitting the market with CAN FD hardware the following year. As this industry ramps up and more and more ECU’s (in-vehicle “Electronic Control Units) and sensors and actuators also adapt CAN FD, more companies with ties to automotive (suppliers, service companies, dealers, OEMs, etc.) will need CAN FD-capable interfaces. Luckily, Peak-System from Germany is one of the first companies to introduce a CAN-FD interface, (PCAN-USB-FD), and it has been fully tested to the standard. Additional hardware and software supporting CAN FD are on the way. Grid Connect has Peak’s CAN FD products in stock now – we are ready for the next big (fast) thing!

> Click here to download the complete CAN FD White Paper

An Industrial Strength Web

As the Internet of Things takes shape, factories of the future will have to be ready to deftly manage a cascade of data — a challenge that will put plant operations, infrastructure, and culture to the test.

Things are due to change on the factory floor. The machinery, systems, and processes manufacturers use to produce goods are on track to gain a digital voice, audible courtesy of the next frontier in digital communications — the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Should that come to pass, industry could be turned on its head.

A subset of the Internet of Things (IOT), a growing web of connected, networked communications devices and products, the IIoT, or Industrial Internet, may be the more practical, “blue-collar” version. It references a future where the very means and tools of production are wired up en masse to produce highly detailed and revealing operational data. From there, the hope is that data can be extracted, crunched, shared, and ultimately leveraged by stakeholders far and wide over potentially vast digital networks.

> To read more, download the PDF here.

Get Connected: 18 of the Coolest IoT Blogs

The Internet of Things, is a technological trend that’s caught on like wildfire this year. IoT devices don’t require much manual effort; these items are designed to be responsive to your needs, to make your life easier. Often called smart devices, they are being developed at a rapid rate across industries, in particular for the kitchen. Imagine a talking refrigerator, a Crockpot where you can change the cooking temperature right from your phone or even a cup that helps you cut back on unhealthy drinking decisions. These aren’t items from some dreamy distant future. They exist right now.

We’ve found 18 IoT blogs exploring this increasingly popular technology, demonstrating products, and posting about smart kitchen items and more.

Read more at Bonaverde.

Employee Spotlight: The Clark Kent of Grid Connect

 

Grid Connect-5734In a very special Employee Spotlight, we have chosen to spotlight Budd Justice for a second week with a very nice blog post, written by his partner-in-crime in the shipping department, Mary Miller.

Clark Kent has met his match. The real “Superman” is alive and well and working at Grid Connect. He’s a behind-the-scenes superhero and his name is Budd Justice.

Budd heads up our shipping department, which, with our growing business is reason enough to be called superman. Budd does this at the impressive age of 82! He puts in a full day, usually standing for most of it. He inspires me every day with his stamina, wit, and attitude. His work ethic is amazing and he rarely complains. Most of his complaints are for more work! It is a demanding, strenuous job at times that Budd handles with care and diligence. Most days he is processing 40-50 shipments a day.

Being of an older generation, technology and innovation is not always welcomed. But, Budd manages to learn and master each new process and system that comes along. This old dog learns new tricks all the time. I think that keeps him young.

I have learned from working with Budd the following keys to staying young:

  • Always keep moving. Don’t give up on things, learn to adapt to your situation.
  • Don’t be afraid to learn and try new things.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Budd says: “The only people who don’t make mistakes are the people who don’t do anything.”
  • A cheerful tune/whistle is a good work companion.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Next time you receive a shipment from Grid Connect, you can know that is was carefully processed for you by a living, breathing superhero.

IoT Design Considerations: Security

Building a secure IoT-enabled device comes at a cost. As the IoT continues to grow, there is an increasing focus on its security and how safe the claims of end- to-end solutions really are. While security threats in the news have scared away some manufacturers and consumers from entering the IoT space, others view it as an opportunity for added value to their products. Implementing high-cost security into every product a company has is ideal, however not very economical. Manufacturers must find proper security for each of their IoT solutions while keeping costs low.

This process must start at the time of a product’s conception. Proper due- diligence is required from each manufacturer to find a way to secure their devices, protect their consumer and ultimately, the rest of the IoT world as well.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

Introducing the 150 Nominees for Chicago Inno’s 50 on Fire

When a city’s innovation economy is on fire, it’s the result of thousands of people and companies, across a variety of categories, heating up their respective industries and departments.

Yes, a pillar company is important to the overall health of an ecosystem, but a single success story isn’t sustainable. That’s why Chicago’s emergence as a leading tech hub is due to all of the innovators, investors, entrepreneurs, employees, professors, civic professionals and more that are driving the city forward.

Below is the list of the 150 nominees for Chicago Inno’s 50 on Fire, our December awards event. Featuring CEOs and Heads of Customer Support, early-stage startups and established enterprises, incubators and non-profits, this list is a celebration of the top innovators and influencers in tech, education, marketing, food, healthcare, and more. (The final “50 on Fire” will be revealed at the December, 2nd event via an action-packed 10-minute video).

Read more and see the nominees by clicking here.

IoT Design Considerations: Interoperability

As more manufacturers enable their products for the IoT, consumers will be introduced to many different cloud applications due to lack of cooperation between difference devices and companies. This is where the emerging IoT standards can help. Device manufacturers who support these standards will be able to ensure their products will be able to work and communicate with other manufacturers’ products that support the same protocols. This makes operating many IoT-enabled devices together much more simple and convenient. This also opens up new business opportunities by allowing for new features that the original manufacturers never dreamed of. For example, interoperability means that one day it might be possible for a consumer to simply say, “good night, house” to their home automation app, and the app will programmatically turn-off all of the main house lights, TV’s and appliances and turn on the outside lighting, set the alarm clock for the morning and set the coffee pot to start brewing when the sun rises. In this example, each device could be from a different manufacturer, but since they all support the same standard, the application knows how to talk to them all and create new service offerings.

Some of the emerging interoperability standards include: Thread (supported by the likes of Google/Nest, Samsung and more), HomeKit (supported by Apple), AllJoyn (supported by Microsoft and Sony, part of the AllSeen Alliance), IETF (an internet standards body) and ETSI (a European-based standards organization – primarily in Telecom). The standards landscape is changing rapidly and manufacturers need to adapt their products to work with these standards as they are consolidated and settled in the future.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations