DAPHNE aims to increase the use of telecoms and industrial optical networking technology in future European aircraft and systems. Fibre optics and photonics offers obvious size, weight and bit rate advantages beyond aircraft systems state-of-the-art, but there are several other benefits:
- Excellent electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) due to the nature of the optical signal, without the need for heavy and bulky shielding
- Increased functionality, e.g. wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), wavelength switching and optical-electrical-optical (OEO) conversion, potentially permit aircraft networks to be modular and reconfigurable
- Hierarchical segregation: e.g. physical (multiple fibre), wavelength (single fibre) or temporal (single channel) allows novel modular network designs.
Instead of many discrete systems each with its own infrastructure, photonics allows a single network that delivers a “signal transport function” capable of supporting the channel segregation needs associated with different Design Assurance Levels (DALs, i.e. different levels of criticality) with the required quality-of-service characteristics of the channel.