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ARINC 818 is a high-speed video and data protocol standard for high-bandwidth, low-latency, uncompressed, digital transmission optimized for live video. ARINC 818 is widely used in the mil/aero industry for the transmission of video, graphics, and other avionics data within aircraft systems. ARINC 818 is common in high-resolution cockpit displays, head-up displays, helmet-mounted displays, mission and video processors, and optical and infrared sensors. It was developed to address the increasing demand for higher bandwidth and more efficient communication in modern avionics systems.

The ARINC 818 protocol specification is a point-to-point serial interface usually transmitted on fiber optic cable, although it can also be utilized on copper, including bidirectional coax. The main benefits of the ARINC 818 protocol include its flexibility, timing control, switch-ability, and reliability making it a good choice to act as a central video backbone in modern avionics and mission systems.

The ARINC 818 protocol allows for the customization of video parameters, defined by the user through an interface control document (ICD). This ICD outlines the video format specifics in each case, which can vary greatly to include single and multiple video streams on a single link, single video streams distributed over multiple links, and link speeds ranging from 1X (1.0625Gbps) to 32X (28.05Gbps), along with link switching capabilities. Designers can define timing through the four video timing classes: pixel, line, frame synchronous, and asynchronous.

Essentially any video protocol, digital or analog, can be mapped onto ARINC 818 using link rate, resolution, pixel packing method, line timing, frame timing, and/or embedded data. Although ARINC 818 is a video-centric protocol, the embedded data space can be used to transport meta-data and is available in each video frame.

The ARINC 818 protocol has two levels of cyclic redundancy checks (CRC) available, one level on each packet (ADVB frame) which is mandatory, and the other level on the entire image, which is optional. These two levels provide a second check of accuracy able to aid in certification processes.  

ARINC 818 is suitable for mission-critical applications up to the highest level of aviation safety certification, DAL A.

Visit the ARINC 818 Glossary to understand the terminology associated with ARINC 818, the high-speed protocol.

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