Hilscher announces the netX 90, an addition to its netX family of single-chip network controller ASICs. The netX 90 is the latest connectivity chip for slave devices. The chip addresses the fact that a large proportion of slave devices in use today will have to be replaced and/or updated if cyber risk threats are to be countered adequately for cloud-based and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications.
The netX 90 is a highly integrated Industrial Ethernet node in a 10×10 mm2, 144-pin BGA footprint with two ARM Cortex-M4, on-chip Flash, Ethernet PHYs, DC/DC converter and POR circuit, which reduce the BOM costs for the hardware interface to a few passive components.
One of the highlights of the chip’s internal architecture is the logical separation of the communication tasks and the application tasks, both from software quality and security aspects. The partitioning restricts the software access to on-chip peripherals on either side. For the communication, Hilscher provides a scalable software solution in terms of protocol functionality and flexibility. The application makes full use of a separate Cortex-M4 at 100 MHz with DSP and FPU support, enhanced by a feature-rich set of on-chip peripherals with connectivity.
The SoC features two flexible communication (xC) IPs, which support all popular Industrial Ethernet standards, i.e. hard real-time. Most importantly, the xC architecture flexibly adapts by software to emerging standards and future network requirements such as TSN. Built-in security features enable developers to apply a secure by design concept by building layers of security as outlined in the IEC 62443, coupled with built-in diagnostics to monitor operating conditions for IIoT-enabled cloud services, e.g. predictive maintenance.
Hilscher delivers the range of software protocol stacks for communication tasks as prebuilt firmware, i.e. pre-certified. The data exchange with the protocol stack interface using the dual-ported memory (DPM) enables application developers to quickly set up a network prototype. The netX Studio from Hilscher includes all components required to configure, develop, and debug embedded applications. The compartmentalized project manager features a set of utility tools to set up the protocol stack in three user-friendly steps.