Modem Translator for Future Time Triggered Ethernet Network Digital Avionics/Sensors Optical On-Board Backbones
Navy SBIR 2018.2 - Topic N182-106
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Attick -
Opens: May 22, 2018 - Closes: June 20, 2018 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Modem Translator for Future Time Triggered Ethernet Network Digital Avionics/Sensors Optical On-Board Backbones


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform, Electronics, Weapons

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: NAE Chief Technology Office

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and test a modem translator that supports both low Time-Triggered Ethernet speeds of 10 to 100 megabits per second, and can be extended to handle next-generation ultra-high bandwidth ranges of 100 to 400 gigabits per second (100G/400G).

DESCRIPTION: Fiber optic networks in aircraft have become pervasive. Aviation performance and durability requirements, such as on and off platform shock, vibration, thermodynamic, atmospheric, and fleet maintenance, make this technology challenging to produce and deploy. Research is needed to develop innovative flight-line and high-performance computer networking test and verification (T&V) modems for both legacy and next-generation Time Triggered Ethernet baud rates using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) fiber optic transceivers and logic circuits.

This SBIR topic seeks to determine the requirements for a rugged, durable, optoelectronic network interface flight-line and high-performance [Refs 7-8] computer networking environment T&V modem that will measure critical performance network parameters associated with the Time-Triggered Ethernet protocol (SAE, AS6802) standard.

The flight-line T&V modem package and assembly process technology research should focus on discovering new packaging materials, designs, and hermetic sealing techniques to enable leveraging on COTS data-com optical transceivers and field programmable gate arrays that are not designed for extreme electromagnetic harsh flight-line use. The modem must be capable with multiple interfaces such as legacy electrical wiring and/or optical fiber (OM3/OM4/OM5) communication links. The high-speed 100 gigabit per second (100G) growth capabilities should be addressed by utilizing a data-communications fiber optic transceiver such as Finisar’s SWDM4 form factor or equivalent. The T&V modem must provide easy to use human machine interfaces to assess network performance parameters in a high-performance computer network environment. The parameters displayed should include, but are not limited to, the following: bandwidth speeds; wavelength WDM (wavelength division multiplexing) center frequencies; Bit Error Rate with respect to network retries; latency between acknowledged and received messaging exchanges; and optical power.

The modem must support the three variations of Time Triggered Ethernet (TTE) classes of network traffic: 1) precision timing synchronous traffic, 2) time sensitive traffic, 3) asynchronous traffic priority driven quality-of-service (QoS) traffic, and 4) streaming digital video. The T&V modem must be designed to be non-intrusive to the live network traffic to not interfere with the network under test.

The flight-line T&V modem must operate within a test platform and therefore be able to withstand large body aircraft vibration, shock, temperature-humidity cycling, and relevant operating temperatures of -40 ºC to +85 ºC [Refs 7–8]. Selection criteria for new packages and assembly processes must be based on durability, reliability, manufacturability, and technology readiness advancement criteria.

PHASE I: Determine the feasibility risks associated with developing a flight-line test and verification network test modem that can handle (non-intrusive) both copper and/or multi-mode optical fiber cable plants supporting low speed rates of 10 to 100 megabits per second using TTE traffic. A growth capability must be included in the design to handle high speed rates of 100 to 400 gigabits per second. The high-speed growth design should be based on 50-micron multi-mode optical fiber links having a bit error rate less than 10-12. Develop a Phase II plan.

PHASE II: Further the development of, fabricate and test the prototype T&V modem based on Phase I work. Perform environmental tests [Refs 7–8] to verify durability and performance. Demonstrate that the proposed package design is able to be interfaced with electrical and/or optical interfaces. Characterize the high-speed prototype 100G/400G per second package designs in a Government-designated high-performance computing network testbed.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Perform extensive TTE network performance testing. If the performance testing fulfills the established industry commercial standards (e.g., computer networking metrics) then proceed to include flight-line reliability and durability testing. Transition the demonstrated technology to Naval aviation platforms and interested commercial applications. The technology would find application in commercial systems such as driver-less car markets that demand high performance time precision network traffic, on-board data centers such as commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and fiber optic local area networks and telecommunications.


1. Beranek, M.W. “Fiber optic interconnect and optoelectronic packaging challenges for future generation avionics”. Proceedings of SPIE, vol. 6478, January, 2007.

2. Chan, E.Y, Le, Q.N. & Beranek, M.W. “High performance, low-cost chip-on-board (COB) FDDI transmitter and receiver for avionics applications”. IEEE Electronic Components and Technology Conference, June, 1998.

3. Beranek, M. & Copeland, E. “Accelerating fiber optic and photonic device technology transition via pre-qualification reliability and packaging durability testing”. IEEE Avionics and Vehicle Fiber-Optics and Photonics Conference, Santa Barbara, CA, November, 2015.

4. MIL-PRF-38534J, Performance Specification: Hybrid Microcircuits, General Specification for, Defense Logistics Agency, Columbus, Ohio.

5. SAE AS6802. Time-Triggered Ethernet. Reaffirmed 11-09-2016.

6. Dikhaminjia, N.,  He, J., Tsiklauri, M., Drewniak, J., Fan, J., Chada, A., Mutnury, N. & Achkir, B. “PAM4 signaling considerations for high speed serial links”, IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC), 2016.

7. MIL-STD-810G, Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests.

8. MIL-STD-1678/1, Fiber Optic Cabling Systems Requirements and Measurements.

KEYWORDS: Time Triggered Ethernet; High Speed Digital Fiber Optic Networks; 100G-400Gbps; Packaging; Avionics; Mission Sensors



Mark Beranek





Gerard Walles




These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2018.2 SBIR BAA. The DoD issued its 2018.2 BAA SBIR pre-release on April 20, 2018, which opens to receive proposals on May 22, 2018, and closes June 20, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET.

Between April 20, 2018 and May 21, 2018 you may talk directly with the Topic Authors (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the topics. During these dates, their contact information is listed above. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is not allowed starting May 22, 2018
when DoD begins accepting proposals for this BAA.
However, until June 6, 2018, proposers may still submit written questions about solicitation topics through the DoD's SBIR/STTR Interactive Topic Information System (SITIS), in which the questioner and respondent remain anonymous and all questions and answers are posted electronically for general viewing until the solicitation closes. All proposers are advised to monitor SITIS during the Open BAA period for questions and answers and other significant information relevant to their SBIR/STTR topics of interest.

Topics Search Engine: Visit the DoD Topic Search Tool at to find topics by keyword across all DoD Components participating in this BAA.

Proposal Submission: All SBIR/STTR Proposals must be submitted electronically through the DoD SBIR/STTR Electronic Submission Website, as described in the Proposal Preparation and Submission of Proposal sections of the program Announcement.

Help: If you have general questions about DoD SBIR program, please contact the DoD SBIR Help Desk at 800-348-0787 or via email at