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'First' 1588 Ethernet MAC core for FPGAs unveiled

Posted: 08 Jun 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Altera? MorethanIP? Ethernet? MAC? IP core?

Altera Corp. and Germany-based design and IP provider MorethanIP have announced the availability of the triple-speed Ethernet medium access control (MAC) IP core supporting the IEEE 1588 standard for precision clock synchronization, touted to be the industry's first such product.

According to the companies, the new IP core allows designers of networked industrial automation, measurement and control systems to immediately and confidently apply this emerging industrial standard using Altera's Stratix II or CycloneTM II FPGAs. By using Altera devices today, designers can quickly update their designs when the second revision of the IEEE 1588 standard is completed in early 2007.

This IEEE 1588-compliant Ethernet MAC protocol IP core promises rapid adoption of the standard across a range of applications that demand multiple speed options from 10/100Mbits to Gigabit and submicrosecond accuracy. This is critical in meeting strict communications latency and QoS requirements in the industrial Ethernet market.

Target applications for this IP core include master and slave controllers, programmable logic controllers, network interface controller cards, and switches that implement industrial Ethernet standards like Ethernet/IP, ProfiNet and Ethernet Powerlink.

"Our IP is provided as part of a complete system solution that includes software drivers as well as development boards, enabling customers to rapidly deploy compliant Ethernet technology for low-cost to high-performance applications using Altera FPGAs," said Francois Balay, CEO of MorethanIP. "By delivering this first IEEE 1588-compatible Ethernet MAC core for Altera FPGAs, developers can confidently start now on new designs incorporating this new protocol."

According to the ARC Industrial Ethernet Report of June 2005, the industrial Ethernet market was estimated at 844,000 units in 2004. With a projected CAGR of 51.4 percent, it is expected to reach 6.6 million units by 2009. This market is seeing a heavy adoption of IEEE 1588-based technology, with early adoption in the test and measurement, military and telecom segments.

"Partnering with MorethanIP allows industrial systems designers to immediately adopt the IEEE 1588 standard and enables a make-or-buy choice for industrial systems OEMs," said Michael Samuelian, director of Altera's industrial business unit. "The MorethanIP MAC core can be embedded in our low-cost Cyclone II or our high-performance Stratix II FPGAs, while providing an easy and fast migration path to HardCopy structured ASICs for high-density, high-volume applications."

The IP core can be evaluated using a low-cost development board available for $499, including a per-board IP license from MorethanIP.

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