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System Integration Questions
I am considering to build a stereo system for my research project, and would like to know whether a number of GigE cameras can be connected in practice over the same Ethernet interface and send data simultaneously without significant loss of performance. I know that in Firewire cameras isynchronous transfers are supposed to have guaranteed bandwidth and so on, however I have neither direct experience with GigE cameras nor access to the standard.
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The short answer to your question is mostly yes, cameras can send data simultaneously over GigE ethernet. As you probably realize, ethernet protocol is asynchronous with handshaking, potential for collissions, and the ability to retransmit packets. The degree to which simultaneous performance will be degraded depends on the number of cameras connected, the image resolution of each camera, and the frame rate you are using -- in other words, the fraction of the total available bandwidth you are using. If you keep your total bandwidth utilization low, say below 30%, you should experience very few problems. If you are pushing bandwidth limits, consider a high-performance interface card with multiple ports -- each dedicated to one camera and serviced with its own on-card IP stack.