Industrial Ethernet platform is scalable, multi-protocol

May 04, 2017 // By Julien Happich
The creation of cost-efficient and compact industrial slave devices that can connect to any Real-Time Ethernet network is now simplified through the combination of STMicroelectronics' STM32 ecosystem with the multi-protocol flexibility of Hilscher’s netX control ICs.

The results of this collaboration are the I-Nucleo-netX expansion board for use with any STM32 Nucleo-64 or STM32 Nucleo-144 development board, and the I-Cube-netX, an STM32Cube software expansion for combining Hilscher’s netX 52 network controllers with a host microcontroller (MCU) from ST’s extensive STM32 family.

The I-Nucleo-netX contains a netX 52 network controller IC with integrated Real-Time Ethernet switch, and has two RJ45 ports for line and ring topologies. netX 52 supports all Real-Time Ethernet protocol specifications and evolutions, including EtherCAT, Profinet, EtherNet, Ethernet/IP, Powerlink, CC-Link IE, Modbus TCP, and Sercos III. It can also support Fieldbus standards like CANopen and emerging standards such as Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN), as well as OPC-UA and MQTT for Cloud data exchanges, making it ready for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

The I-Cube-netX software package comes with a loadable pre-certified firmware for free evaluation of EtherCAT, Profinet, and EtherNet/IP protocols. The package also includes the Hilscher cifX API and cifX Toolkit that allow all Real-Time Ethernet protocols to be used in the STM32 ecosystem and minimize software effort when porting from one protocol to another. Application examples help users get the I-Nucleo-netX expansion shield running and evaluate the free protocols.

STMicroelectronics - www.st.com/i-nucleo-netx