Hilscher announces the netX 90, an addition to its netX family of single-chip network controller ASICs. The chip addresses the fact that a large proportion of slave devices in use today will have to be replaced and/or updated if cyber risk threats are to be countered adequately for cloud-based and IIoT applications, according to Hilscher.
According to its maker, the netX 90 provides universal connectivity for all popular Real Time Ethernets (RTEs), is "IoT-ready" with support for OPC UA and MQTT, and can interface to all modern sensor buses. "netX 52, its predecessor, was already a powerful interface for sensors and actuators," said Nico Mäding, Hilscher netX business development manager. "With netX 90 we've incorporated low-level drivers for even more sensor protocols, including encoder types such as BiSS and EnDAT 2.2, and our IO-Link capability has been enhanced too."
netX 90 is a dual-processor chip with all the network connectivity common to Hilscher products, including firmware updating of protocols. It’s divided into two halves: 1) RTE and fieldbus protocols are supported on the network-facing side while 2) device-specific protocols (I/O, EnDat, Biss, and many other peripherals) are supported on the applications (slave-facing) side. In between are some common features such as on-chip diagnostics.
“A key benefit to the netX 90 is its added security,” says Phil Marshall, Hilscher North America CEO. As well as secure boot procedures underpinning a software “chain of trust,” there is a wealth of hardware-based encryption technology built-in, and an architecture that enables designers to create IEC 62443-compliant layered security solutions, he notes. “We've separated the network communications from the application to isolate malicious cyber-activity and we've even included hardware acceleration to ensure netX 90-connected slaves meet latest 'fast connect' specifications,” adds Mäding.
“Never before has a slave interface offered so much,” opines Marshall. “This is truly a secure ‘system-on-a-chip’ solution for slave devices. We honestly believe netX 90 can support anything that IIoT and Industrie 4.0 can throw at it, including MQTT, OPC UA and even Time Sensitive Networking [TSN]. To our knowledge netX 90 is the first chip designed specifically for industrial devices that includes the security required for next-generation Industrie 4.0 capability.”
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