Microchip explores the final frontier for Ethernet transceivers
In response to space applications using Ethernet for hardwired communication speed in spacecraft, Microchip has announced the VSC8541RT radiation tolerant Ethernet transceiver. It is claimed to be the industry’s first space-qualified Ethernet transceiver; the device is based on a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution and is designed to support higher data rates and to facilitate interoperability between satellites and other spacecraft. It use extends from launch vehicles to satellite constellations and space stations.
The VSC8541RT transceiver is a single-port Gigabit Ethernet copper PHY with Gigabit media-independent interface (GMII), reduced Gigabit media independent Interface (RGMII), media-independent interface (MII) and reduced media-independent interface (RMII).
The VSC8541RT is latch-up immune up to 78 Mev; TID has been tested up to 100krad. A 100Mbyte limited bit rate performance version (VSC8540RT) with the same rad-tolerant die and package, is also available, in plastic and ceramic qualified versions.
Microchip has also received final qualification for the SAM3X8ERT radiation-tolerant microcontroller, which combines an Arm Cortex-M3 core processor, delivering 100DMIPS, with an embedded Ethernet controller which sits on top of up to 512kbytes dual bank flash, 100kbytes SRAM, ADC and DAC and a dual CAN controller.
Both devices are COTS-based and have enhanced characterised levels of radiation performance and high reliability quality flow. They are available in plastic and ceramic packages. They also share a pin-out distribution, allowing designers to begin implementation with COTS devices before moving to space-grade components. This significantly reduces development time and cost, notes Microchip.
Developers can use the Arduino Due commercial kit for the SAM3X8ERT and the VSC8541EV evaluation boards for the VSC8541RT. The SAM3X8ERT device is supported by the Atmel Studio integrated development environment for developing, debugging and software libraries.
The VSC8541RT in plastic or ceramic package is sampling today and the SAM3X8ERT qualified devices are available in production quantities. Package options range from QFP144 for the SAM3X8ERT to CQFP68 packages for the VSC854xRT.