GbE FPGA module adds zest to data rates

To provide simple access to very fast data rates over Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), without having to integrate complex networking hardware and software, Orange Tree Technologies has introduced the ZestET2-J FPGA module. It as a high performance TCP/IP offload engine (TOE) chip for GbE interfacing.

 The ZestET2-J module can be used as a programmable interface to external devices, for high speed processing of streaming data, and for data acquisition and control, in markets including industrial vision, radar, sonar and medical imaging.

 The company’s proprietary GigExpedite chip, GigEx, is a TOE that handles all the Ethernet communications protocols. This leaves the Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA free for the user’s application. It also means that the user does not require any knowledge of Ethernet protocols. With the main processing engine implemented in TOE hardware, sustained data rates over 100MBytes/sec are achieved.

 The module measures just 40 x 67mm. It has an RJ45 Ethernet jack and a power jack for benchtop or desktop development work. The target carrier board does not need an Ethernet jack, says the company, removing any design work involving high speed signal integrity of GbE tracks. The ZestET2-J can also be used standalone without a carrier board.

 The third generation of custom GigEx provides a user-programmable CPU. The user can program this, for example with higher level Ethernet protocols such as GigE Vision and Industrial Ethernet, or it can be left unprogrammed. 105 user I/O pins provide flexibility for end applications.

The company also offers a pair of breakout boards, which connect the module’s high density Hirose I/O connectors to 0.1inch pitch headers and an FMC (FPGA mezzanine card) connector.

  The user-programmable FPGA is coupled with 512Mbytes of 1.6Gbytes/s DDR3 memory. It can be programmed from on-board Flash, Ethernet or JTAG.

 Software includes free Windows and Linux tools based on GCC and Eclipse for the GigEx User CPU, and Windows and Linux software support for configuring and communicating with the user FPGA. Free tools are available from Xilinx to create FPGA designs.


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