Xilinx, port GmbH Unveil Programmable Solution for ETHERNET Powerlink

Xilinx, Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX), the world’s leading programmable logic supplier, and port GmbH, a leading developer of industrial communication solutions, announced the industry’s first complete programmable solution based on ETHERNET Powerlink (EPL) real-time protocol. Designed specifically for use in industrial communication applications, the Xilinx Spartan(TM)-3 FPGA enabled solution consists of a protocol stack, MAC controller and frame filter, allowing fast and efficient data transfer while leaving the software and CPU available for other system functions. port GmbH will showcase the Xilinx based solution at this week’s Hannover Messe Show, 16-20 April, Hall 15, Stand C04, at the Exhibition Grounds in Hannover, Germany.

Industry Need for Flexible Architecture
In the highly fragmented industrial communications market with a plethora of legacy and emerging standards, the need for an adaptable, flexible architecture has never been greater. Xilinx programmable solutions offer designers a flexible low-cost alternative to fixed ASIC and ASSPs. “ETHERNET Powerlink technology advances on the success of open-profile families of intelligent networked devices. Users benefit from higher network performance, while maintaining compatibility at the application level. ETHERNET Powerlink protects user-investment in networking technology, especially when used in conjunction with programmable logic,” said Heinz-Jurgen Oertel, general manager of port GmbH.

“The jointly developed solution offers designers the independence and security of EPL on a highly optimized hardware platform,” said Giulio Corradi senior system architect of ISM at Xilinx. “This solution saves designers the time and effort of tweaking the code for enhanced performance, resulting in faster time-to-market with improved achievable transfer rates.”

About the Solution
The IEEE 802.3u compliant MAC controller IP core is optimized to respond automatically to EPL requests by the Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGA. The completely integrated protocol stack running on Xilinx MicroBlaze(TM) soft processor is implemented on a single Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGA. Special receive filters implemented in the FPGA deliver only those EPL frames needed by the processing software, thus relieving the CPU from processing frames that are not relevant to the software.

About Xilinx Spartan-3 Generation FPGAs
Based on its industry leading performance and low price points, the Xilinx Spartan series has been broadly adopted in industrial, scientific, medical and high-volume consumer applications, such as DVD players, plasma displays and HDTV. With the recent introduction of its Spartan-3A, Spartan-3AN and Spartan-3A DSP family, Xilinx continues to add new market-specific features to its low cost Spartan series FPGAs while reducing the cost by 30X since its introduction.

About ETHERNET Powerlink
The ETHERNET Powerlink Standardization Group (EPSG) is an independent association originated from a group of leading automation companies. Its focus is to leverage the advantages of Ethernet for high performance real time networking systems based on the ETHERNET Powerlink Real Time protocol, introduced by Bernecker+Rainer in 2001.

About port GmbH
port GmbH, located in Halle/Saale in Germany, has operated in the area of field busses for many years. The company has extensive experience with the CANopen and ETHERNET Powerlink protocols. port develops and markets ETHERNET Powerlink products including the EPL Protocol stack and FPGA-based ETHERNET Powerlink intellectual property cores. port also offers an ETHERNET Powerlink tool chain and development services.

About Xilinx
Xilinx, Inc. is the worldwide leader of programmable logic solutions.