It's no secret that factory automation is increasing industrial efficiencies, from reducing handling and storage to improving throughput.
Behind the scenes, connected warehouses and other industrial ecosystems with converged information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) architectures often rely on Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) and Ethernet technologies for precise timing, synchronization and connectivity of devices including cameras, bar code readers, scanners and conveyors. These ecosystems require next-generation network technology to interconnect device, sensor and equipment communication.
To meet this demand, Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) in January announced its LAN9668 family of TSN switching devices, delivering IEEE standards-compliant Ethernet features in a switching solution optimized for enabling lower latency data traffic flows and greater clock accuracy.
Closely complementing the LAN9668x is Microchip’s newly released LAN8814 quad-port Gigabit Ethernet Physical Layer (PHY) transceiver.
Microchip’s LAN9668-I/9MX and LAN9668-9MX devices are 8-port switches for industrial and commercial applications, respectively, outfitted with Arm Cortex-A7 central processing units (CPUs), supporting TSN IEEE standards for communication in industrial settings. Per the company, these include IEEE 1588v2 and IEEE 802.1AS-2020 for Precision Timing, IEEE 802.1Qci for per-stream filtering and policing, IEEE 802.1Qav and IEEE 802.1Qbv for Traffic Shaping and IEEE 802.1CB for Seamless Redundancy, as well as IEC-62439-2 (Media Redundancy Protocol) and ODVA-DLR and IEC-61158-6-10 for Media Redundancy.
Microchip’s Ethernet Switch API (MESA) and PHY API (MEPA) provide designers the freedom and flexibility to develop a comprehensive, user-friendly function library that is operating-system independent. The LAN9668 and LAN8814 scalable TSN chipsets are supported by Microchip’s software framework and provide the lowest latency and end-to-end transmission of communication traffic.
The LAN8814 is a new-generation quad-port Gigabit Ethernet PHY that fully supports the latest TSN requirements including IEEE 1588 v2 and frame preemption. Designers using LAN9668 and LAN8814 technology can employ the TSN chipset to achieve timing, stream reservation, protection and management, thereby saving development time and cost.
“While devices and equipment previously required their own communication systems, TSN improves interoperability through connecting data streams to simplify traffic,” said Charles Forni, vice president of Microchip’s USB and networking business unit. “Enabling converged network architectures, this technology allows developers to expand their products into new markets and provide better performance in existing networks.”
Advanced development tools
In addition to the LAN9668 family and LAN8814 Ethernet PHY, Microchip provides their associated IStaX/SMBStaX and WebStaX network operating systems. This offering completes the solution's hardware and software journey to arrive at a rapid time to market. These include a reproduceable reference design available as a board design or kit of Microchip parts including TSN switches, Ethernet PHYs, clock devices and oscillators. The company notes this integrated solution is compliant to all network standards, simplifying developers’ first designs.
The LAN9668-I/9MX and LAN9668-9MX TSN Ethernet switches are supported by the VSC6817SDK IStaX Linux Application Software, an industrial Ethernet switch software solution supporting Microchip's managed Ethernet switch devices. The VSC6817SDK IStaX Linux Network Operating System is an industrial Ethernet switch software solution also supporting Microchip's managed Ethernet switch devices. The SMBStaX Linux Network Operating System and WebSTaX Linux Network Operating System are available to commercial designers and follow the long-term support Linux Kernel.
All solutions are highly integrated with advanced L2+ switch features. In addition, reference designs and evaluation boards also are available from Microchip and the company’s distribution partners, enabling easy design-in.
The LAN9668/9MX is available in volume production in 1,000 quantities starting at $16.14. The LAN8814/ZMX is available in volume production in 1,000 quantities starting at $6.43.