Microchip Develops World's Smallest Ethernet Controller

4/27/2005 - Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, announced the world's first 28-pin stand-alone Ethernet controller, which provides a low-pincount, cost-effective, easy-to-use solution for remote communication with embedded applications. Microchip's ENC28J60 Ethernet Controller enables designers to create network- and Internet-connected embedded applications with minimized board space, cost and complexity.

Embedded designers who require application access for remote control or monitoring are often faced with the complexity of large-footprint, expensive Ethernet controllers that are tailored for personal-computing systems. While most Ethernet controllers come in greater than 80-pin packages, the IEEE 802.3-compliant ENC28J60 offers comparable features in a 28-pin package, which simplifies the design and reduces the overall occupied board space. Additionally, the ENC28J60 Ethernet controller employs the industry-standard SPITM serial interface, which only requires four lines to interface to a host microcontroller. These features, combined with Microchip's free TCP/IP software stack for PIC18 microcontrollers, provide the smallest whole-product Ethernet solution for embedded applications.

"The ENC28J60 is targeted at a wide range of embedded applications, and is particularly well suited for the fast-growing VoIP market," said Mitch Obolsky, vice president of Microchip's Advanced Microcontroller Architecture Division. "With the introduction of Microchip's Stand-Alone Ethernet Controller, a whole new class of microcontroller-based applications can be cost effectively connected to local and global networks, enabling true remote monitoring and system control."

Example applications that can take advantage of the ENC28J60 Ethernet controller include: telecommunications (VoIP phone adapters); inventory management (vending machines, hotel mini bars); remote diagnostics/alerts (appliances, factory machines, POS terminals, power supplies, servers/networks); security (asset monitoring, fire and safety, security panels, access control, fingerprint recognition); remote sensing/actuators (industrial control/automation, lighting control, environmental control).

Embedded designers have a growing need to add connectivity to their applications. Ethernet is the leading networking technology for local area networks (LANs), and it can be used to connect embedded devices within a LAN to the Internet. By adding Ethernet connectivity to an embedded system, microcontrollers can distribute data over a network and can be controlled remotely. Ethernet's infrastructure, performance, interoperability, scalability and ease of development have made it a standard choice for embedded application communications.

Key features of the ENC28J60 Ethernet controller include:

Development Tools
The PICtailTM Ethernet Interface board (part #AC164121), designed to ease development with the ENC28J60 Ethernet controller, plugs into a selection of Microchip's standard PICDEMTM demonstration boards and is expected to be available in May. Microchip's free TCP/IP stack, which is designed for all PIC18 host 8-bit microcontrollers, is available now for download at www.microchip.com/enc28j60. Information on a third-party stack for all PIC16 host 8-bit microcontrollers can also be found at this site.

Limited sampling for the ENC28J60 Ethernet controller is available now, and volume production is expected in May. Options include 28-pin SPDIP, SOIC, SSOP and QFN packages. For additional information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip's Web site at: www.microchip.com/enc28j60

About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality. For more information, visit the Microchip website at www.microchip.com.

The Microchip name and logo, and PIC are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Inc. in the USA and other countries. PICDEM, and PICtail are trademarks of Microchip Technology Inc. in the USA and other countries. SPI is a trademark of Motorola. Magic Packet is a trademark of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.

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