Gigabit Ethernet FPGA module with TCP/IP offload engine

October 21, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Orange Tree Technologies (Oxford, UK) has announced the ZestET2-J, an FPGA module with a very high performance TCP/IP Offload Engine (TOE) chip for Gigabit Ethernet interfacing, prviding access to very fast data rates without having to integrate complex networking hardware and software.

The 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.

 

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

 

While keeping its size small at 40 x 67 mm, the new board builds on Orange Tree’s existing ZestET2-NJ module, and adds an RJ45 Ethernet jack and a power jack. This means that it can be used on a bench top or desk top for development work, and the target carrier board doesn't need an Ethernet jack – therefore removing any design work involving high speed signal integrity of Gigabit Ethernet tracks. The ZestET2-J can also be used stand alone without a carrier board.

The third generation of Orange Tree’s custom GigEx chip provides a user-programmable CPU. This is completely free for the user to program, 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 maximum flexibility for end applications. Orange Tree also offers a pair of breakout boards, which connect the module's high density Hirose I/O connectors to 0.1" pitch headers and an FMC (FPGA Mezzanine Card) connector.

 

The user-programmable Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA is coupled with 512 MBytes of high speed 1.6 GBytes/sec DDR3 memory. The FPGA can be programmed from on-board Flash, Ethernet or JTAG.

 

Software available from Orange Tree 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