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Altera delivers FPGA support for Ethernet apps

Posted: 30 Jul 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Ethernet? IP core? FPGA?

IP cores for Ethernet communications protocols used in industrial automation applications can now be implemented on Altera Corp.'s low-cost Cyclone series FPGAs, the company has announced.

The industrial Ethernet IP cores enable designers to implement any of the standards on a single board. This not only reduces form factor but also saves time. System OEMs can now add industry-standard networking capabilities to their automation products cost-effectively while retaining FPGA reprogrammable design flexibility in their systems.

Ethernet is gaining traction as the preferred factory network protocol because of its cost and performance benefits, hardware availability and ease of implementation. The worldwide market for industrial Ethernet is expected to grow at a CAGR of 51.4 percent over the next five years. The market totaled 840,000 units in 2004 and is forecast to reach just over 6.7 million units in 2009, according to a recent study by the ARC Advisory Group.

"The big decision facing device manufacturers is which of the popular protocols they should design into their products," said Michael Samuelian, director of Altera's industrial business unit. "The FPGA's design flexibility eliminates the 'protocol decision' and allows developers to support multiple protocols within a single product. Altera is the only company bringing together the leading IP partners and low-cost FPGA solutions for the industrial customer base."

To support Cyclone series FPGA-based industrial designs, IXXAT Automation GmbH, one of Altera's IP partners, is offering an industrial Ethernet development kit. The kit consists of a Cyclone-based reference design and evaluation board, schematics and executables for the FPGA bitstream, including a protocol stack, MAC, TCP/IP stack, interface application and a host API in source code.

Industrial Ethernet solutions using Altera Cyclone series FPGAs are immediately available.

- Clive Maxfield
Programmable Logic DesignLine

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