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GigE Vision – the camera interface

12/10/2022 | Hardware, Knowledge, General

When you think of measurement technology, you usually think of current, voltage, strain gauges or similar. But whether for crash tests, as a BirdEye or for monitoring a turbine in hydroelectric power plants – cameras in measurement technology have become just as indispensable.

However, measurement technology places high demands on potential measurement devices and cameras. Measurements should be in real-time and as accurate and uncomplicated as possible. One interface that addresses this need is GigE Vision. What GigE Vision actually is, and which alternatives are available, you will read in this blog post.

GigE Vision – what is it?

GigE Vision is an interface standard that was established by a group of companies in 2006. The idea behind GigE Vision was to establish a standard that works as uncomplicated as possible with common hardware and which, at the same time, offers high throughput rates.

Now, of course, one wonders: Did this idea work in practice? And the answer is yes. GigE Vision uses the widely established Gigabit Ethernet standard as its hardware interface. Nowadays, almost every Internet-enabled computer also supports Ethernet, which eliminates the need to install UDP/IP drivers and means that existing Ethernet cables can continue to be used. In addition, GigE Vision offers a high data transmission rate of around 1000 Mbit/s, which at that time was only possible with proprietary hard- and software.

However, the use of Ethernet offers another advantage: a simpler power supply. For example, if one uses PoE (Power over Ethernet) a GigE camera can not only transmit data via Ethernet, but also gets its power supply via the same Ethernet cable. The GigE camera can be located up to 100 m away from the PC, which provides additional flexibility.

You can also easily expand GigE systems, as it is common with an Ethernet network. You can simply add more PCs or cameras to your network. Each PC can access the data of each camera and simultaneous triggering of multiple cameras via PTP is also possible.

What are the alternatives to GigE Vision?

Due to its many advantages, GigE Vision is one of the most popular interfaces in the industry. But there are also competent alternatives. Examples include CoaXPress and USB Vision.

USB3 Vision, like GigE, is convincing due to the use of a widely established physical interface, namely USB. Depending on which version of USB you use, the data rate can be up to 10 Gbit/s (with USB 3.1). This speed is even higher than that of standard GigE Vision cameras. However, there are ways to speed up the GigE Vision transmission as well. For example, GigE Vision can also achieve a similar speed using a 10 Gbit/s Ethernet cable. Even higher data throughput is possible with CoaXPress, namely up to 25 Gbit/s.

One disadvantage of USB3 Vision is the short cable length. While GigE allows a distance of up to 100 m between camera and PC, the length of USB transmission is 10 m at best. Using fiber optic cables, however, the cable length for GigE Vision can be increased even further, but usually without a corresponding PoE power supply.

Camera-Interfaces

Different camera interfaces in comparison; brackets: version number, color: speed in Mbit/s

Other alternatives to GigE are CameraLink and FireWire. FireWire was the common choice especially in older systems. However, due to the low data throughput of standard 400 Mbit/s, this interface is hardly ever used nowadays.

CameraLink, on the other hand, convinces with a similar, and in many cases even higher, transfer rate than GigE. However, the maximum cable length is 50 m (which is nevertheless sufficient for many applications).

DEWETRON’s GigE and USB Vision Cameras

DEWETRON is a manufacturer of modular and high-precision measurement instruments. In addition to our measurement systems, we also offer a range of sensors, AD converters and also cameras.

You can choose between USB3 Vision Alvium cameras or GigE-DEWE cameras. All devices have a simple and straightforward design and are able to handle measurements in harsh environments. Each of these cameras can also be triggered by an external trigger and provides real-time image transmission. With our additional external multi-touch displays, you are ready for any situation.

GigE Cam

GigE-DEWE-Cam

Our in-house OXYGEN data acquisition software also offers features, especially for the acquisition of video data. Thus, you can use any GigE and USB cameras with OXYGEN. You can import external videos and also rotate and adjust the video image. Many other options are available. You can find an overview of the complete functionality of OXYGEN here.

On our DEWETRON website you can learn a lot more about our products. This includes our DAQ hardware like the unique PU[REC], the compact TRIONet or the flexible All-In-One systems. On our website you will additionally find a number of other blogposts, whitepapers or video tutorials. Of course, we would also be happy to receive your subscription on LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter.

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