What is controller area network (CAN)

CAN or controller area network is a type of network between microcontrollers and devices in a vehicle.

The devices in the vehicle are also known as ECU or electric control units. In older days the communication between ECU’s is done by analogue wires. The length and weight of the wires were high. Also, each device is connected to another device directly.

Pros and cons of controller area network (CAN)
Controller Area Network (CAN)

By using a controller area network the number of wires in the automobile has been reduced. the CAN wire is also known as the CAN bus. There is no central device that controls the network. All the devices are connected through a common bus or wire.

The CAN bus is made up of two wires that are twisted to each other. The two wires are CAN high wire and CAN low wire.

In the CAN network, the messages are sent from one device to another. One message is sent at a high speed. The type of communication in the CAN is half-duplex.

The message which is sent has message data, device identifier, and other information also.

Now let me describe some pros and cons of CAN.

Advantages of controller area network (CAN)

Some advantages of CAN are:-

  • CAN is a fast way of communication between microcontrollers and devices.
  • CAN is low cost because the number of wires used is less as compared to the old network.
  • The errors in the network can be better diagnosed and fixed quickly.
  • The weight of the automobile is also reduced because of fewer wires used.
  • If any message is not received to any device, then the same message can be retransmitted again.
  • Controller area network can work in different electrical environments.
  • The data transfer rate is about 1 Mbps

Disadvantages of controller area network (CAN)

Some disadvantages of CAN are:-

  • There is a limit to the number of nodes or devices to be connected. You can connect a maximum of 64 nodes in CAN.
  • The nodes communicate in an undesirable fashion.
  • CAN is established to be up to 40 meters in length. It will have trouble if the vehicle or machine has more than 40 meters of length.
  •  To develop CAN the cost of software development and maintenance is high.
  • Due to different voltage levels, CAN produces a lot of electric noise.

Examples of controller area network (CAN)

CAN is used in the following:-

  • Medical machines
  • Aeroplanes
  • Ships
  • Elevators
  • European cars
  • Aircrafts
  • Agricultural machines

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