Innovasic Semiconductor announced that in recent lab tests conducted by Schneider Electric, its fido1100 real-time microcontroller achieved a worst-case Ethernet packet jitter of only 130 microseconds. In contrast, a RISC processor running at more than twice the clock rate achieved a worst-case jitter of 760 microseconds.
The difference in jitter is significant in industrial Ethernet applications where hard real-time control or mission-critical data transactions may have to co-exist with lower priority web and file transfer traffic. The use of standard Ethernet as an industrial control network can be problematic if time-critical communications are impacted by other lower priority network traffic. For example, a nuclear power plant was shut down because a spike in Ethernet traffic caused the recirculation pump controllers to lock up.
The fido1100 microcontroller, running at 66MHz, achieved a worst-case latency of 1.1 milliseconds and worst-case jitter of 130 microseconds. The processor running at 133 MHz achieved a worst-case latency of 1.8 milliseconds and worst case jitter of 760 microseconds. Both systems were tested using a Modbus/TCP application with varying amount of background Ethernet traffic. Details of the testing and results are available in a white paper.
“With Quality of Service (QoS) becoming an increasingly important factor in many embedded applications, customers using the fido1100 microcontroller can now design systems with reliable and timely processing of high priority Ethernet traffic,” noted Keith Prettyjohns, CEO of Innovasic Semiconductor. The unique “RTOS Kernel in a Chip” architecture of the fido1100 microcontroller enabled Schneider Electric to process high priority Modbus/TCP packets in a deterministic manner regardless of the amount of lower priority Ethernet traffic that was on the same network.
Innovasic Semiconductor’s fido microcontroller family was designed to provide very secure and robust communications over conventional Ethernet, enabling designers to leverage widely-used industry standards for increasingly desirable real-time communications in industrial applications. Key fido features include four Universal I/O Controllers (UICs). Each of these is a dedicated RISC engine, which can be programmed to support a variety of I/O protocols, including standard 10/100 Ethernet. The chip includes an RTOS kernel built into the silicon that can be used to provide exceptional deterministic performance, enhancing real-time communications.
Innovasic will host a webinar on September 6, 2007 to provide designers with information on how to achieve deterministic, low-jitter Ethernet packet processing in embedded systems.
Innovasic is a fabless semiconductor company, providing replacement ICs and embedded solutions for the industrial and long life-cycle markets. The company provides solutions that directly address obsolescence problems as well as other issues of concern to industrial customers such as inventory management, hard real-time/safety-critical performance and power consumption. The company has established itself as an approved vendor of extended life replacement ICs to many of the leading industrial equipment manufacturers, enabling them to continue to build products that rely on ICs discontinued by the original vendor. Innovasic has developed a unique process and technology that allows the rapid design of a pin-compatible and 100 percent fully function-compatible replacement for embedded microcontrollers, peripheral ICs and analog/mixed signal interface chips.