The importance of optimizing aircraft communication network design in a digital thread
Aircraft communication network design is a critical aspect of all modern aircraft. The increasing complexity coming from ever more sophisticated avionics and electrification increases demands on aircraft communication network design to a level that breaks traditional document-based processes and tools, even when managed digitally. The need for innovation of product features is not enough; there is also a huge need to innovate processes and tooling to catch up with accelerating digital transformation.
Breaking up domain silos
To address the pace of innovation and meet the need for shortened life cycles, design domain silos of the past need to be broken down. Network design must be included in a Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) flow that allows digital collaboration across different design domains. This is extremely challenging with the lack of exchange format standardization in the Aerospace industry.
Moving away from manual, isolated network design
To master the challenges and to stay within prescribed development cycles, it is no longer feasible to design different networks separately. It is essential to replace isolated spreadsheet-based bus designs, and instead consider signal communication system-wide on a common dataset to provide complete visibility of the behavior.
Providing right-sized correct-by-design networks
Today’s in-vehicle network design needs to be created and verified throughout the entire communication system. With home-grown tools and processes, most errors are detected in the integration and test phases, significantly increasing the costs of already expensive programs. Checking data consistency and protocol violations at design time and understanding behavior such as worst-case end-to-end timing ensuring validation testing is not finding design error states is getting more and more important too.