Segger Microcontroller / Analog Devices

Joint Communication Solution for Ethernet-APL

19. August 2021, 20:00 Uhr   |  Andreas Knoll

Joint Communication Solution for Ethernet-APL
© Segger Microcontroller

The MAC-PHY device ADIN1110 from Analog Devices and the IP stack emNet from Segger Microcontroller now form a common communication solution for Ethernet-APL.

For the new Ethernet-APL data communication standard, Analog Devices and Segger Microcontroller now offer a combination of Ethernet MAC PHY device and IP stack.

Officially introduced at the Achema Pulse virtual trade show in June, the physical layer standard Ethernet-APL (Advanced Physical Layer) has what it takes to become the data communications technology for process automation par excellence. Ethernet-APL is an extension of the specification for Ethernet over two-wire cables (Single Pair Ethernet, SPE) based on 10Base-T1L and can support any higher-level Ethernet communication protocol as well as OPC UA. As an intrinsically safe physical layer, Ethernet-APL is suitable for demanding process automation applications. The advantages of Ethernet-APL include a significantly higher communication speed compared to previous process industry standards, suitability for hazardous areas, power supply for sensors and actuators in the field, and a cable length of up to 1000 m.

With Ethernet-APL in mind, Analog Devices and Segger have now combined ADI's low-power 10Base-T1L Ethernet MAC PHY device, the ADIN1110, with Segger's emNet IP stack. In general, the ADIN1110 is intended to work with processors and controllers that do not themselves have a Media-Independent Interface (MII/RMII/RGMII) - especially ultra-low-power microcontrollers. The emNet IP stack, on the other hand, is suitable for Ethernet applications with a low-power host processor at a high transmission rate; it combines high performance with low memory requirements and simple integration without configuration effort.

In the Ethernet-APL application with ADIN1110 and emNet, the IP stack runs on an ultra-low-power microcontroller; its connection to the ADIN1110 is provided by an SPI interface. The combination of emNet and ADIN1110 enables applications with low power consumption, fast data transmission and high reliability.

Together with ADIN1110 and emNet, ultra-low-power microcontrollers with particularly small flash memory and without their own MAC can be operated as processors. By design, emNet supports external MACs such as the ADIN1110, so with emNet any standard microcontroller can be connected to Ethernet. The IP stack is also efficient in terms of flash, RAM and packet processing speed, so even small microcontrollers with low clock frequencies can deliver high network performance. Thanks to low power consumption, these processors can be safely operated in combination with the ADIN1110 even in hazardous environments, such as in the process industry.

Segger's emNet in combination with the ADIN1110 supports the new Ethernet-APL standard in accordance with the IEEE802.3cg standard for 10Base-T1L technology. This enables both data and electrical power to be transmitted over 1 km single twisted pair cables at 10 Mbit/s full duplex. This allows data and information from devices located in remote and hazardous areas of a process plant to be evaluated. Real-time configuration in the field is also possible.

Sensors and actuators for the process industry based on Ethernet-APL are currently being developed by numerous vendors.

"ADI's ADIN1110 and Segger's emNet together offer a way to bring low-power, single-pair communication solutions to market quickly," explained Mick McCarthy, Director of Industrial Ethernet Technology at Analog Devices. "This is ideal for sensor or actuator nodes in many applications, including hazardous locations."

emNet provides a BSD-style socket API for user applications. emNet's standard socket interface with zero-copy extensions makes it easy to run existing applications on emNet with little or no porting effort. emNet works best with an RTOS. Segger recommends using embOS, the RTOS of its all-in-one embedded operating system, emPower OS. However, emNet can also be used with any other RTOS.

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SEGGER Microcontroller GmbH & Co. KG, Analog Devices GmbH