Application Brief ® Intel IXP42X Product Line of Network Processors With ETHERNET Powerlink Controlled Node The networked factory floor enables the adoption of systems for remote monitoring, long-distance support, diagnostic services and the integration of in-plant systems with the enterprise. The need for flexible connectivity solutions and high network bandwidth is driving a fundamental shift away from legacy industrial bus architectures and communications protocols to industry standards and commercial off-the shelf (COTS) solutions. Standards-based interconnect technologies and communications protocols, especially Ethernet, enable simpler and more cost-effective integration of network elements and applications, from the enterprise to the factory floor. ® The Intel IXP42X product line of network processors with ETHERNET Powerlink (EPL) software helps manufacturers of industrial control and automation devices bridge between real-time Ethernet on the factory floor and standard Ethernet IT networks in the connected enterprise. Challenge: Bridging Ethernet-to-EPL Communication between the office and the factory floor is simplified by using a uniform network structure. Ethernet in the industrial environment will allow functionality which is not possible with existing proprietary industrial buses. However, standard Ethernet does have some characteristics that limit its suitability in the industrial environment. Collisions between packets, in addition to non-predictable queuing-delays, prevent the use of standard Ethernet in deterministic systems. While different real-time Ethernet solutions are available or under development, EPL, the real-time protocol solution managed by the open vendor and user group EPSG (ETHERNET Powerlink Standardization Group), is the only deterministic data communication protocol that is fully conformant with Ethernet networking standards. EPL takes the standard approach of IEEE 802.3 Ethernet with a mixed polling and time- slicing mechanism to transfer time-critical data within extremely short and precise isochronous cycles. In addition, EPL provides configurable timing to synchronize networked nodes with high precision while asynchronously transmitting data that is less time-critical. EPL is the ideal solution for meeting the timing demands of typical high performance industrial applications, such as automation and motion control. Current implementations have reached 200 µs cycle-time with a timing deviation (jitter) less than 1 µs. It has long since graduated from being a prototype and is being used by many companies in full production. ® Intel IXP42X Network Processors: Bridging Ethernet to EPL ® The Intel IXP42X product line of network processors ® combines Intel XScale technology with a variety of built-in communications features to support the requirements of industrial control and automation and provides the ideal network processing solution for implementing EPL. The high-performance Intel XScale core provides processing headroom to flexibly support a broad range of applications while minimizing power consumption. Integration of multiple 10/100 Ethernet interfaces and built-in acceleration for EPL on the processor’s programmable Network Processor Engines (NPE) reduces overall system cost and simplifies the design of Ethernet to EPL gateways. The NPEs are RISC processors surrounded by multiple co-processor components. The co-processors provide specific hardware services including Ethernet processing, MAC interfaces, and cryptographic processing. Running EPL on one NPE enables the network processor to concurrently run standard Ethernet and security on the other. By enabling the use of off-the-shelf building blocks, the Intel IXP42X product line can provide manufacturers with a significant time-to-market advantage compared to solutions based on proprietary ASICs. The architecture of the Intel IXP42X product line is particularly suited to EPL. The processor’s EPL enabled NPE performs packet processing and classification. The Queue Manager facilitates service type queuing, and the Intel XScale core provides the processing platform for networking solutions and other associated software. EPL Software Release As shown in Figure 1, the Intel EPL software release consists of software components