A typical CAN application can have a maximum bus length of 40 meters and maximum stub length of 0.3 m. However, with careful design, users can have longer cables, longer stub lengths, and many more nodes to a bus. A high number of nodes requires a transceiver with high input impedance such as the TCAN1043xx-Q1 family.
Many CAN organizations and standards have scaled the use of CAN for applications outside the original ISO 11898-2 standard. They made system level trade off decisions for data rate, cable length, and parasitic loading of the bus. Examples of these CAN systems level specifications are ARINC 825, CANopen, DeviceNet, SAE J2284, SAE J1939, and NMEA 2000.
A CAN network system design is a series of tradeoffs. In ISO 11898-2 the driver differential output is specified with a bus load that can range fro 50 Ω to 65 Ω where the differential output must be greater than 1.5 V. The TCAN1043xx-Q1 family is specified to meet the 1.5-V requirement down to 50 Ω and is specified to meet 1.4-V differential output at 45Ω bus load. The differential input resistance of the TCAN1043xx-Q1 is a minimum of 30 kΩ. If 100 TCAN1043xx-Q1 transceivers are in parallel on a bus, this is equivalent to a 300-Ω differential load in parallel with the nominal 60 Ω bus termination which gives a total bus load of 50 Ω. Therefore, the TCAN1043xx-Q1 family theoretically supports over 100 transceivers on a single bus segment. However for CAN network design margin must be given for signal loss across the system and cabling, parasitic loadings, timing, network imbalances, ground offsets and signal integrity thus a practical maximum number of nodes is much lower. Bus length may also be extended beyond 40 meters by careful system design and data rate tradeoffs. For example, CANopen network design guidelines allow the network to be up to 1 km with changes in the termination resistance, cabling, less than 64 nodes and significantly lowered data rate.
This flexibility in CAN network design is one of the key strengths of the various extensions and additional standards that have been built on the original ISO 11898-2 CAN standard. However, when using this flexibility the CAN network system designer must take the responsibility of good network design to ensure robust network operation.