AVT Prosilica GigE FAQ¶
What is so great about GigE Vision and Gigabit Ethernet?
GigE Vision is quite exciting because it provides many features that are unavailable in other camera interfaces.
- The combined features of high data rate
- required for uncompressed video or imaging applications,
- ubiquitous computer interface hardware,
- low cost cabling, and
- widespread popularity make Gigabit Ethernet an attractive interface option for machine vision cameras.
With the advent of GigE Vision, a standardized camera communication protocol from the Advanced Imaging Association (AIA), GigE has become more attractive still.
Here are a few of the compelling benefits of GigE Vision-compliant cameras:
- Gigabit Ethernet ports are common on PCs and laptop computers, so there is no need for special interface cards or expensive/complicated frame grabbers in order to operate a GigE Vision camera.
- GigE provides high bandwidth to transmit uncompressed image data from a camera to a host computer in real time at speeds that exceed the requirements of most industrial machine vision applications. This negates the need for complex and expensive interfaces like Cameralink.
- Gigabit Ethernet provides a high performance camera interface to convey control and image data over long cable lengths. Cable lengths up to 100 meters long using inexpensive CAT5e cabling are possible. Even longer distances are possible using switches or fiber optics. Such long cable lengths far exceed the maximum cable lengths of Cameralink, firewire, and USB.
- GigE Vision is compatible with standard Gigabit Ethernet hardware allowing networking of cameras. This is especially useful in situations requiring multiple views and opens up new machine vision applications in Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) and public security imaging.
- GigE Vision allows multicasting of image data simultaneously to multiple computers for distributing the image processing load across separate computers.
- CAT5e or CAT6 Ethernet cables can be easily manufactured on-site using low cost cabling and tools. This feature is especially useful for outdoor installations where cameras may be mounted on poles or buildings and where the cable must be routed as the site demands.
- The new GigE Vision standard provides ease of use that surpasses other common camera interfaces.
- The fast successor to GigE, 10GigE, offers 10 gigabit per second (Gbps) data rates that when applied to cameras means that parallel interfaces like Camera Link are no longer be necessary even for high-speed applications
- Can I use 100-speed Fast Ethernet with Prosilica’s gigabit Ethernet cameras?
- Can I connect multiple GE-Series gigabit Ethernet cameras to my computer?
- What software is available to use with the GE-Series cameras?
- What Gigabit Ethernet card should I use?
- Can I operate a Prosilica gigabit Ethernet camera over a wireless network?
- What are “Jumbo frames” and why should I care?
- When will the AIA GigE Vision standard be ratified?
- Do I need to supply power to the camera?
- Does Prosilica use any Ethernet technology from Pleora or any other third party?
- What CPU loading can I expect with a Prosilica GE-Series camera?
100baseT Fast Ethernet - Yes, you can use 100-speed network connections with Prosilica’s GigE cameras but you need to reduce the PacketSize of the camera to 1500 bytes (defaults is 8228). If you are using camera firmware V1.26 or later, it is not necessary to make any other adjustments.
Multiple Cameras - You can use any Gigabit Ethernet switch that supports jumbo frames in order to operate multiple cameras on the host computer. If you do not want to use an Ethernet switch, then you could use multiple interface cards in the host computer. There is no real limit to the number of cameras that can be connected at one time. When using miltiple cameras on a single network, it is important to observe the bandwidth limits of the network. Use the StreamBytesPerSecond setting to manage the amount of Bandwidth used by each camera connected to the network. If the sum of the StreamBytesPerSecond values of the cameras remains less that the network bandwidth, then the data integrity will be very high.
Software - Prosilica provides a Sample Viewer program with source code that is included in our excellent GigE Vision SDK. There are also a number of third party software vendors that natively support Prosilica’s gigabit Ethernet cameras including Matrox, National Instruments, Stemmer, and Norpix.
Gigabit Ethernet Network Interface Cards - There are are wide range of Gigabit Ethernet interface cards that will work with Prosilica’s cameras. We have used the Intel Pro/1000 GT, Intel Pro/1000 PT (PCI-express) and D-Link DGE-530 interface cards extensively. While almost any Gigabit Ethernet card will work, you should select one that supports “Jumbo Frames” of at least 9 kbytes in order to achieve the full performance of the camera.
Wireless Networks - Yes, it is possible to operate Prosilica’s GE-Series gigabit Ethernet cameras over a wireless network. Because wireless Ethernet interfaces are generally much slower than Gigabit Ethernet, the cameras will run much slower on a wireless interface than on a Gigabit Ethernet link. In order to operate the GE-Series cameras on wireless networks, some camera settings must be set to accomodate the low bandwidth of the channel. In particular, the PacketSize and StreamBytesPerSecond parameters need to be set to match the capability of the wireless network.
Jumbo Frames - Jumbo frames are a feature available on some Gigabit Ethernet cards. The use of Jumbo frames reduces the CPU load when using gigabit Ethernet cameras. If your network card supports Jumbo frames, you should set this number to be at least 9000 kB when configuring your network card settings.
GigE Vision Standard - All of Prosilica’s gigabit Ethernet cameras comply to the AIA GigE Vision standard. Prosilica was the first company in the industry to supply fully compliant GigE Vision cameras to market. Prosilica remains the technology leader for GigE Vision cameras.
Power Supply - Yes, you must supply power to the camera in order to operate it. A modular power supply is available from Prosilica to power its GigE cameras. You may use your own power supply, but be careful to observe the polarity and voltage input requirements.
Gigabit Technology - Prosilica designed every aspect of its GigE Vision gigabit Ethernet cameras end-to-end. By designing the camera, firmware, Gigabit Ethernet engine, software development kit, and drivers, Prosilica is able to provide the highest level of reliability, performance, and support to its customers. Prosilica does not use any technology from Pleora, or Gigalinx, or any other ethernet module company.
CPU loading - On a properly configured host computer, the CPU load is generally very low for Prosilica’s GigE Vision cameras. The CPU demand depends heavily on the speed of the camera, the strength of the host computer, and the mode of operation. For example, if you are rendering the image on the computer monitor during image capture, then the CPU load will be higher than if you are simply capturing images without displaying them. Contact Prosilica for specific information about CPU loads for specific models of camera
Copyright Prosilica 2007