Smart Network Devices Joins Ethernet Powerlink Standardisation Group

11/3/2003 - In occasion of the Realtime-Ethernet conference in Frankfurt/Offenbach, organised by the industrial automation magazine IEE (industrie elektrik+elektronik), Smart Network Devices (SND) has joined the Ethernet Powerlink Standardisation Group (EPSG). The EPSG is an open association of industry vendors, research institutes and end-users in the field of deterministic real-time Ethernet. The groupís goal is to develop, standardise and deploy real-time data communication via standard Fast Ethernet, based on ETHERNET Powerlink and other technologies like IEEE 1588.

Where a large number of different fieldbus systems, incompatible to each other, were dominating manufacturing plants in the past, things begin to change in favour of a unification of interfaces and protocols. Already some years ago Ethernet was identified by industrial automation industry leaders as the physical bus system to be able to replace existing fieldbuses, provided data communication over Ethernet can be handled in a deterministic and time-synchronised way and packet collisions are avoided. The high data rates of typically 100 Mbit/s, the compatibility to the PC and office networks, ultimately the Internet, and the large number of inexpensive infrastructure components for routing, switching and data security furthermore qualifies Ethernet as the technology of choice. Ethernet Powerlink is the only Realtime-Ethernet technology, which does NOT require special Ethernet controllers, but instead uses a sophisticated time slice protocol based on a master/slave architecture. Still a synchronisation accuracy of 1 Ķs is possible.

SND's network operating system HyNetOSTM will be available with a complete Ethernet Powerlink V2.0 protocol stack within Q1/2004. The hardware base is the well-known Micro WebTargetTM single board network computer with a size of just 3 x 4 cm. Based on a powerful 32-Bit RISC/DSP CPU from Hyperstone with 128 MHz clock, 2 MB Flash, 8 MB SDRAM and a full 100 Mbit/s Ethernet (100BaseTX) port, a complete interface converter can be presented to industrial automation component manufacturers searching for a fast track adaptation of the Ethernet Powerlink standard to their products. As local interface options GPIO, UART, RS232, RS485, SPI, I2C and CAN are offered as well as customised proprietary interfaces on request.

The tailor-made operating system for this platform is HyNetOS, one of the most efficient and fastest embedded operating systems for network communications. TCP/IP and Ethernet has been SND's core business since many years with ten thousands of successful installations worldwide. The Ethernet Powerlink protocol stack will be an integral part of HyNetOS and still will leave enough room and CPU performance for customisations and future extensions.

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