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Altera announces EtherCAT protocol IP for its FPGAs

31 Jul 2013

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Altera Corp. has uncloaked a fully verified Ethernet for Control Automation Technology (EtherCAT) protocol IP for its FPGAs. The collaboration among Altera, EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) and Softing Industrial Automation GmbH claims to deliver a licensing structure that gives developers access to leading Industrial Ethernet protocols with no upfront license fees, no per-unit royalty reporting or protracted negotiations, ultimately simplifying the integration of FPGA-based Industrial Ethernet designs, noted the firm.

Altera's Industrial Ethernet solutions implement both the protocol IP and software stack into an FPGA using programmable logic and a soft embedded processor. In this way, a single board with the same Altera FPGA can work with a range of protocols without hardware modifications. The same FPGA can also be used to implement various industrial automation functions such as sensor interfaces, accelerators and custom control logic in addition to the communication function.

Customers can download the entire EtherCAT protocol IP including the software stack from Softing. The protocol IP and reference designs are hardware tested on both the Altera Industrial Networking Kit (INK) the Softing FPGA RTEM Cyclone III kit.




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