Local Interconnect Network


Local Interconnect Network (LIN) is a low-cost, serial communication protocol primarily used for communication between automotive components. Developed in the late 1990s, it serves as a simple, efficient alternative to the high-end, expensive CAN-bus protocol. LIN enables communication between various devices such as sensors, switches, and actuators within a vehicle, while maintaining a single master, multi-slave network topology.

Key Takeaways

  1. Local Interconnect Network (LIN) is a cost-effective, low-speed serial communication protocol primarily used in automotive and industrial applications for communication between various electronic control units (ECUs) or sensors on a single wire.
  2. It is designed to complement Controller Area Network (CAN) bus networks which provides higher bandwidth and complexity. LIN is suitable for simple devices like switches, sensors, and actuators, making it ideal for simplifying wiring and reducing overall system cost.
  3. Despite being a simple communication protocol, LIN offers various features such as a master-slave configuration, addressing individual slave nodes (up to 16), error detection, and built-in synchronization, ensuring reliable and efficient communication among devices in a network.


The Local Interconnect Network (LIN) is an essential technology term due to its cost-effective, simple, and reliable nature in facilitating communication among various electronic devices in automotive applications.

As a sub-bus system, LIN operates alongside CAN (Controller Area Network) to connect low-speed peripherals, sensors, and actuators, thereby improving overall vehicle performance and functionality.

By providing a single-wire and efficient means for data transmission, it significantly reduces wiring complexity and weight, while ensuring lower production costs and robustness.

In summary, LIN is crucial in modern automotive systems as it allows a seamless interaction between numerous in-vehicle electronic systems, enhancing efficiency and ease-of-use for both manufacturers and end-users.


The Local Interconnect Network (LIN) is a cost-effective, flexible, and straightforward serial communication method primarily employed in automotive applications to streamline the interaction between microcontrollers and peripheral devices. Its primary purpose is to minimize the complexities and expenses associated with traditional communication networks such as Controller Area Network (CAN) for connecting to lower bandwidth devices.

LIN is particularly well-suited for manageable subnets within vehicles, including door control, window control, mirror control, and seat control, and has become the standard network for intelligent sensors and actuators due to its low-cost implementation. LIN’s implementation involves a master-slave configuration, where a single master device governs the operation of several slave devices within the network.

This organization allows for a simplification and reduction of wiring and hardware, reducing overall manufacturing and maintenance costs in automotive applications. Additionally, LIN can maintain its robustness even when operating in harsh conditions such as interference, temperature fluctuations, and vibrations, which are common within automotive systems.

By integrating LIN as a complementary network to high-speed networks like CAN, a multi-tiered architecture can be developed to optimize functionality and performance in modern vehicles while keeping costs in check.

Examples of Local Interconnect Network

Local Interconnect Network (LIN) is a low-cost, serial communication protocol that is commonly used for communication between components in vehicles. Here are three real-world examples of LIN technology:

Automobile Window Control: LIN is widely used to control window motors within cars. The window control module, along with individual switches for each window, communicate with each other via LIN. When a window switch is activated, it sends a specific LIN frame containing the window up or down command to the corresponding motor. The motor then processes the command and either rolls up or down the window.

Climate Control System in Vehicles: In modern vehicles, the climate control system (including air conditioning and heating) utilizes LIN communication. The system typically includes a central climate control module, individual temperature sensors, and actuators that control airflow, temperature, or fan speed. These components communicate with one another over a LIN bus, allowing the driver to adjust the climate settings. LIN enables precise control over the different components, providing a comfortable and efficient cabin environment.

Automotive Wiper Control: Another real-world example of LIN technology is the control of windshield wipers in vehicles. The wiper control module communicates with the wiper motor and wiper position sensors via LIN. When the driver activates the wiper control, it sends commands to the wiper motor to adjust the wiper speed or mode. Additionally, rain or light sensors can provide data to the wiper control module via LIN, enabling features like automatic rain-sensing wipers.

Local Interconnect Network FAQ

What is a Local Interconnect Network (LIN)?

A Local Interconnect Network (LIN) is a cost-effective, low-speed communication protocol primarily used in the automotive industry. It serves as a complement to the higher-speed CAN (Controller Area Network) bus and is designed for components that don’t require the higher data throughput capabilities of CAN.

What are the key features of a LIN?

Some key features of LIN include its low-cost implementation, single master-multiple slave configuration, and low power consumption. It operates at a maximum speed of 20kbps and can support up to 16 nodes, making it ideal for simple and less critical communication tasks. Additionally, LIN is designed for easy integration with CAN networks.

What are some common applications of LIN in automotive systems?

LIN has a variety of applications in automotive systems, including managing interior electronics like power windows, mirrors, and seat positioning. It is also used for communication among climate control systems, sensor networks, and even lighting systems. Due to its cost-effective nature, LIN is ideal for controlling peripheral devices that don’t require high-speed data exchange.

How does LIN communication work?

LIN communication follows a master-slave architecture, where the master node schedules and manages data transmission. The master node triggers the transmission of particular messages by sending a header, and the corresponding slave node responds with the required data. This header-data transmission structure helps to ensure reliability and simple error-handling in LIN communication.

What are the advantages of using LIN over CAN?

LIN offers several advantages over CAN for specific applications, including lower cost, simpler implementation, and reduced wiring complexity. LIN is particularly suited for less critical and lower-speed applications, while CAN is intended for high-speed and time-critical communication. Integrating LIN networks with existing CAN networks allows for a more efficient and cost-effective system architecture.

Related Technology Terms

  • Single Wire Protocol
  • Automotive Networking
  • Master/Slave Architecture
  • Node Configuration
  • Volvo’s Synthesis of LIN (From SCI to LIN)

Sources for More Information


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