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In avionics, common databuses are ARINC 429, ARNC 629 and MIL STD 1553.

While these protocols aren’t going anywhere any time soon Ethernet and fibre channel are definitely emerging as the dominant databus protocols of the future.

Avionics data transmission rates, protocols, topologies and physical interfaces are evolving to support higher volumes of data and more sophisticated cockpit applications in new aircraft.

What avionics test instrumentation companies are finding is that newer airframes are increasingly shifting from traditional bus technologies to avionics network technologies such as fibre channel and ethernet.

Ethernet and fibre channel are network technologies with a switch or network of switches at the core of the network. So for these networks, there is at least one active network switch at the core of the system.

That has led to aircraft cockpits becoming more easily upgradeable with new applications that can be introduced faster and without needing as much cable, wire and hardware reconfiguration.

For pilots, the newer databus protocols make a huge visual difference. This more complicated embedded architecture permits pilots to see an interface with more sophisticated avionics displays and increased integration and interaction between electronic flight bags and hardwired avionics systems.

With all the advances in avionics technology, it’s becoming increasingly necessary for older aircraft to go in for avionics upgrades. Sometimes overlooked in the upgrade transition is wiring. Existing wiring should be taken into account during any avionics upgrade.

It is often more prudent to consider that the installation of new wiring may reduce the number of failures plus, in many cases with today’s electronics, the dependency is on data buses. Wire technology has also improved over the years where the ability to conduct electron flow has increased while overall the weight of the wire is reduced.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Avionics Technology Crash Course, a 2-day crash course that covers advanced avionics technology, Network/IO systems used in these aircraft, digital databus communication, software and hardware architecture, avionics systems design and engineering principles, ARP 475,  Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) and ARINC protocols.

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