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EtherCAT to power TI's ARM-based processors

Posted: 08 Apr 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Ethernet? Control Automation Technology? EtherCAT? ARM-based processors? slave controller?

Texas Instruments Inc. has announced that it will use the Ethernet for Control Automation Technology (EtherCAT) for its ARM-based embedded processors. The companythe first semiconductor firm to license the technologywill also adopt it for the Sitara ARM microprocessors to be developed in the fourth quarter of 2011 as well as for other processor platforms planned for 2012.

EtherCAT technology is based on the principle of fast processing on the fly. Messages are passed from node to node and processed while they are passed, which improves speed and efficiency in industrial systems. Industrial application performance is also improved with shorter reaction times, enabling increased operational efficiency.

The technology uses the standard IEEE 802.3 frames and PHY. No external switches or hubs are necessary because the EtherCAT slave controllers forward the frames automatically. Most devices embed two RJ-45 ports, which are commonly utilized data ports for Ethernet connections. Auto-configuration of the EtherCAT technology is supported with no manual address setting required and no network tuning needed.

Integrating the EtherCAT slave controller on-chip allows the user to be tightly coupled to the application processor, which provides higher throughput, lower latency access and board space savings.

Matthias Poppel, director for embedded processing at TI, EMEA, said "The TI approach to EtherCAT with the programmable real-time unit (PRU) on TI's ARM-based processors allows for flexible implementation that can more easily adapt as industrial standards evolve over time. Real-time control and communication become available on a single chip."

Martin Rostan, EtherCAT Technology Group executive director, added, "We are thrilled about this milestone development which will open entirely new markets for EtherCAT."

- Colin Holland
??EE Times

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