Altera, National Semi, MorethanIP Debut IEEE 1588 Timing Control Board

Designers of next-generation industrial control and automation systems challenged by requirements of the IEEE 1588 standard for precision clock synchronization can now accelerate their connectivity designs with the first 8-port switch development board. The board provides key features essential to end products by combining devices and intellectual property (IP) from Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR), National Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE:NSM) and Germany-based design and IP provider MorethanIP (MTIP).

The new reference board enables rapid implementation of the IEEE 1588 standard across a range of applications demanding sub-microsecond accuracy. This level of accuracy is critical for meeting strict communications latency and quality-of-service (QoS) requirements in the industrial connectivity market. Target applications are switches employing industrial standards like Ethernet/IP, ProfiNet, Ethernet Powerlink and other Ethernet protocols.

According to the 2005 Industrial Ethernet Worldwide Outlook by ARC Advisory Group, the industrial Ethernet switch market is estimated at 325,000 units in 2006, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49 percent. This market is seeing a heavy adoption of IEEE 1588-based technology.

The reference board includes 10/100-Mbps Ethernet media access controllers (MACs) compliant with the IEEE 802.3 standard, as well as supporting IEEE 1588 versions 1 and 2 for timing control with transparent end-to-end (E2E) and peer-to-peer (P2P) clock sequencing. It offers high port density with low pin count, RMII interfaces and a programmable uplink. Since the board incorporates the recently announced IP core from MorethanIP for Altera(R) Stratix(R) II and Cyclone(R) II FPGAs, designers can quickly update designs when the second revision of the IEEE 1588 standard is completed in early 2007.

“This reference board makes designing flexible switch products far easier,” said Francois Balay, CEO of MorethanIP. “The boards fully conform to specifications and will provide designers with a fast start on their next products.”

The current board features Altera’s Stratix II device and uses four DP83849 dual-port physical layer transceivers from National Semiconductor. This high-speed industrial connectivity design features the low deterministic latency required for precise clock synchronization and offers National’s patent-pending Flex-Port switching for fully integrated range extension, media conversion and hardware-based failover. National’s low-dropout and buck regulators power the FPGAs and transceivers. Future models will use a device from Altera’s low-cost Cyclone family of FPGAs.

“Ethernet switch manufacturers now have a fully integrated switch solution applying the inherent flexibility of programmable logic,” said Michael Samuelian, director of Altera’s industrial business unit. “We are demonstrating our commitment to the industrial market by offering a fully integrated 8-port switch with IEEE 1588 compliance, which can be easily integrated into Altera FPGAs. This board speeds development time and enables designs to adapt to changing market requirements.”

Price and Availability
The reference board is available now for $995 and includes an IP license from MorethanIP. More information »

About MorethanIP
MorethanIP, founded in 2000, is an expert in design and IP for high-speed communications, serial backplane and embedded system technologies. This includes design, specification and implementation of standard products, system architectures and customer-specific solutions. Combining its methodology with proven technical expertise based on over ten years of industry experience in hardware and software design, MorethanIP generates rapid design cycles to meet time-to-market, functional and budgetary objectives.

About National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor, the industry’s premier analog company, creates high-value analog devices and subsystems. National’s leading-edge products include power-management circuits, display drivers, audio and operational amplifiers, interface products and data conversion solutions. National’s key analog markets include wireless handsets, displays and a variety of broad electronics markets, including medical, automotive, industrial, and test and measurement applications. Headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., National reported sales of $2.16 billion for fiscal year 2006, which ended May 28, 2006.

About Altera
Altera’s programmable solutions enable system and semiconductor companies to rapidly and cost-effectively innovate, differentiate and win in their markets.

Altera, The Programmable Solutions Company, the stylized Altera logo, specific device designations and all other words that are identified as trademarks and/or service marks are, unless noted otherwise, the trademarks and service marks of Altera Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.