Ethernet communication is widely used and has the major advantage of being present in low-cost microcontrollers as well as extremely powerful processors. Add to that the simplicity of programming TCP/IP sockets and the possibility of direct or network communications, and we have an ideal bus for communication between computers. We usually create designs with TI Cortex M3 architectures for computers used for remote sensing and actuation via the Ethernet. These micros have an internal MAC-PHY, which means that we can save space and money, as only the transformer and connector are necessary to provide the design with Ethernet connectivity.
In the following example there is a copy of an RPM panel which is used on Airbus aircrafts for a professional flight simulator. It is connected to the main controller via the Ethernet port, enabling simple and robust wiring, and a socket communications protocol, so drivers must be created to control it and it means that it is independent of the OS with which the main controller operates.
Another example of a design with Ethernet is a 16-port switch with a capacity for two 1000-FX’s, based on Marvell pieces and especially designed for trains applications.