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Get your GigE camera!

Saturday, 23-5-2020  

GigE is an abbreviation for Gigabit Ethernet. GigE integrate vision camera and machine vision appliances. These specific cameras are designed to send raw images to a host controller with a speed as high as possible. The GigE cameras is most often used to monitor the quality of products and the automation of processes. Therefore, a GigE camera is a great solution for industrial image processing and therefore very useful in factories. The images captured by the camera and send via the network cable after which they can be analysed by numerous image-processing software applications. The GigE camera is in its maturity phase. This means that sales are experiencing a peak as demand for these cameras is very high. It is expected that GigE cameras will remain in their maturity phase for around five years before heading towards decline. Fortunately, this does not mean the end of the GigEs, because the new generation 5GigE and 10GigE are already on their way, now in their introduction stage.

Specifications of a GigE camera

For a quick overview of the most important specifications of a regular GigE camera, see the list below:

  • Bandwidth of 100 megabyte per second
  • Maximum cable length of 100 meters
  • One cable for both data transmission and power (only if power flows over ethernet)
  • No mandatory frame grabber
  • Low costs for cable (between 8 and 10 euros)
  • Low costs for camera (around 150 euros)

From the above listed specifications, the bandwidth of a regular GigE camera is especially interesting. When comparing it to the bandwidth of a USB2.0 or FireWire (40 megabyte per second and 60 megabyte per second, respectively), the GigEs can send images to the host controller much faster. However, when comparing it to a USB3.0, CameraLink or Coaxpress, the regular GigEs are significantly slower.Therefore, you can opt for a 5GigE camera or a 10GigE camera instead. You will enjoy the similar advantages as with the regular GigE camera, yet with a bandwidth that is either five times or ten times wider (thus faster!). Mind that naturally, these cameras will be a lot more expensive too. So if costs are a main driver for deciding on your purchase, think twice before running to the store to get yourself a 5GigE or 10GigE camera. The cable length of a GigE camera is amazing. No other machine vision camera has the ability to transfer images and other data through a cable this long. Another big advantage, the cables are not so expensive. Where a USB3.0 cable will cost you between 16 and 20 euros, a GigE cable will only cost you half of that.

GiGE software

Now you know the general specifications of a GigE camera, you need to familiarize yourself with the accompanying software too. The good news is that these cameras are designed to send images with a format that is compatible with all standard image-processing software programs. This is because the standard of the vision of a specific camera is based on the European Machine Vision Association’s GenICam protocol. For users, this means that they have the freedom to choose the image-processing software they prefer or have significant experience operating with.Think of Matlab or Labview.

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