Then there are the engineers building their own proprietary interfaces to deal with high-bandwidth medical and military applications. Very fast sensors are being used in surveillance in large drones, such as the Predator. CT and MRI image data transfers push very high-resolution video images through network links at data rates much higher than 1Gbit/s, Phillips notes.
"There's also the same need to distribute images from these cameras to multiple endpoints, such as a storage system for medical records. In between, images must be processed and perhaps also corrected using similar algorithms to industrial machine vision. This system is very much like classic machine vision in industrial inspection, with similar multitasking and distribution needs."
Why use a faster version of GigE, instead of an alternative? Camera Link's short 10-meter cables, or even CoaXPress's 45-meter cables, can't compare with 1Gbit/s Ethernet's 100-meter copper cable lengths. In a 10GigE scenario up to 15 meters over copper is possible, or up to several miles over fiber, says Phillips.
Another reason is the ability to build point-to-multipoint, or even multipoint-to-multipoint, vision networks. PC endpoints can each perform a different type of analysis on the same image or similar analyses on different images. "GigE lends itself to this type of configuration, where you can combine faster sensors and a more complex, more interconnected system," says Phillips. Since 10GigE is now common in midsized datacenters, not just in the large telcos, many previous problems have been ironed out.
The heat and power consumed by faster 10GigE equipment is entirely manageable, Phillips feels. "The PCs you can buy today are fast enough to run 10GigE -- you don’t need a supercomputer from NASA. We did our demonstration at Vision 2011 using a Dell dual quad-core that we bought for $3,000 from Dell's Website."
In the demo, Pleora used a beta version of its iPORT CL-Ten transmitter, to be released in the first quarter of 2012. A 10GigE port for either fiber or copper and four Camera Link ports aggregate data from two Camera Link Medium cameras, and send it down a 10GigE pipe to the PC, offloading CPU resources and weaving 10GigE capability into existing Camera Link networks.
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