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GigE Vision - driver implementation

The performance level of a GigE Vision system depends strongly on the hardware and software components. High-performance or filter drivers have a strong impact.

Due to the fact that the GigE Vision standard is a mere protocol description, generic driver implementations are possible. The simplest and most portable solution is to use the operating system IP network stack. This is often referred to as socket driver because all large operating systems provide the socket interface for network access (e.g., Windows Sockets or POSIX Sockets). However, normally this solution offers the poorest performance.

Improvements are available by adopting the so-called high-performance or filter drivers. Typical of both driver types is that they bypass the generic operating system network stack to provide better performance by specialized implementation. The driver runs in the operating system kernel and can therefore work on network data with the highest priority. Image data compilation already occurs in the driver and the image as a whole is transferred to the application. Because the network stack is bypassed, less CPU capacity is bound up and data security improves (fewer lost packages) due to the higher CPU priority. Even if the implementation of both driver types is different (driver directly for one network chip or generically for all network cards in the Windows filter stack), both offer the same improved performance for the protocol structure of GigE Vision.