This article is part of TechXchange: Time for Time-Sensitive Networking
NXP Semiconductors has launched a family of high-performance microcontrollers that integrate a gigabit per second (TSN) time-sensitive network switch in an effort to expand its presence in the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The new i.MX RT1180 is the latest in the i.MX RT series of the company’s high-performance crossover MCUs.
With up to five Gb / s Ethernet ports, NXP said the i.MX RT1180 MCU supports a wide range of industrial communications network protocols, including the latest TSN Ethernet standards, as well as legacy real-time protocols such as EtherCAT, Profinet, Ethernet / IP and CC-Link, among others. The company said the i.MX RT1180 replaces a standalone Ethernet switch, saving board space and lowering costs.
TSN is a set of networking standards that bring real-time deterministic communication into factories and industrial systems. It provides a shared understanding of time to sensors and other devices so they can securely connect to each other over Ethernet, integrating many of the legacy protocols in use today. With TSN, information (IT) and operational technology (OT) can both work on the same network.
According to NXP, the i.MX RT1180 is the first in its i.MX RT family to incorporate its EdgeLock secure enclave. NXP said EdgeLock simplifies the challenge of deploying robust security and intelligence into IIoT devices.
The secure enclave acts as a trusted root with secure boot. It can handle authentication, secure device management throughout its lifecycle, and advanced key management for IIoT.
The modern factory is becoming more and more automated, creating a complex web of network protocols. “Industrial and automotive customers are looking to deliver ever more advanced networking capabilities and need a solution that not only delivers processing power, but is also capable of handling time-sensitive network traffic,” said Jeff. Steinheider, vice president and general manager of industrial edge processing at NXP.
In addition, the i.MX RT1180 can be used as a network switch between car electronic control units (ECUs). Today, cars increasingly rely on TSN Ethernet for both high bandwidth and real-time control.
NXP is looking to conquer a larger share of the market for high-performance MCUs with the reliability and rigor required for modern factories. It competes with the likes of Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics.
Last year, TI launched a series of industrial-grade microprocessors, the AM243x, which integrates Cortex-R5 and Cortex-M4 CPUs in real time with a wide range of network accelerators and Gb / s Ethernet.
800 MHz MCU + SRAM
The i.MX RT1180, based on a dual-core architecture, tolerates a temperature range between -40 and 125 ° C. A high-performance Cortex-M7 clocked at 800MHz is paired with a high-efficiency 240MHz Cortex-M33, which operates within a secure and completely independent domain. The chip’s memory subsystem adds a large 1.5MB block of SRAM, along with 512kB of cache in the Cortex-M7 and 256kB in the Cortex-M33.
NXP said the i.MX RT1180 is housed in a 10 x 10mm or 14 x 14mm BGA package. The small footprint makes it easy to integrate with motor control systems, industrial gateways, and other equipment.
The microcontroller is also loaded with peripherals, NXP said. They include 12x UART, 3x I3C, 6x I2C, 6x LPSPI, 2x FlexIO, 2x USB Gen 2 OTG, 3x CAN FD and dual 16-bit analog to digital converters (ADC).
NXP plans to implement a suite of system configuration tools, an open source software development kit (SDK) and an integrated development environment (IDE) to make it easier for customers to implement software on the i.MX RT1180.
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