Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ethernet Switches For Industrial Automation

By Nidhi Agarwal

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The Ethernet switches integrate machine learning and robotic systems, offer security for industrial automation, and provide bandwidths up to 102 Gbps.

ethernet switches

Microchip Technology has announced its LAN969x Ethernet switches, contributing to the growth of the industrial automation market. These switches are designed to integrate Machine Learning (ML) and robotic systems. They feature time-sensitive networking (TSN) and offer bandwidths ranging from 46 Gbps to 102 Gbps, powered by a 1 GHz single-core Arm Cortex-A53 CPU.

These Ethernet switches provide deterministic communication for controlling, monitoring, and processing data for industrial automation applications. The switches can be configured for High-availability Seamless Redundancy (HSR) and Parallel Redundancy Protocol (PRP). HSR and PRP are hardware protocols for redundancy in Ethernet networks. The switches cater to Ethernet port speeds from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps. 

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A feature of the ethernet switches is its QuadBox function, linking two HSR networks. This is valuable in environments where downtime is not acceptable. The QuadBox feature simplifies design and reduces system costs compared to alternative solutions that require multiple components for the same functionality.

The Ethernet switches offer configurability with options for up to 30 ports. The series is designed for secure and safety-critical applications, suitable for applications requiring high-port-count switching links at 10M, 100M, 1G, 2.5G, and 10G speeds.

For security, the switches family includes features like secure boot and secure firmware execution, customizable according to the customer’s manufacturing process. The security mechanisms include frame processing based on Ternary Content Addressable Memory (TCAM) using a Content Aware Processor (VCAP) and the Arm Trusted Firmware methodology for secure booting. The switches are also equipped with crypto libraries, hardware security accelerators for boot and code encryption, and one-time programmable key storage.

“Before introducing Microchip’s LAN969x Ethernet switches, customers who wanted to implement TSN and HSR/PRP features required multiple ICs. Microchip’s new LAN969x solution is a single chip that can reduce the number of components and system level costs,” said Charles Forni, vice president of Microchip’s USB and networking business unit. 

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