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2006-06-15   8-bit MCUs pack Ethernet MAC/PHY, flash on single chip
 
  Embedded.com [2006-06-15]
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Taiwan — ASIX Electronics Corp.'s AX110xx family of 8-bit microcontrollers embed 10/100Mbps fast Ethernet MAC/PHY, the TCP/IP accelerator, and flash memory on a single chip.

The AX11001/AX11005 and AX11015 MCUs tout a single-cycle pipelined 8051/80390 core (up to 100MIPS), 128 to 512 KBytes flash memory, and 32KBytes RAM. The embedded Ethernet PHY supports Auto-MDIX, which allows either the straight-through or crossover cables to be directly connected to the device easily. The AX110xx family supports serial communication interfaces such as I²C, SPI bus, three UART (with one supporting 921.6Kbps), and 1-wire. The parallel interfaces supported include external memory interface, local bus, and Ethernet MII.

The MCUs have been designed to provide a very small form-factor solution to enable embedded system designers to design compact, low power, high performance yet low cost embedded and industrial Ethernet systems and subsystems for the growing embedded networking markets. Targeted applications include home appliances, factory/building automation, industrial equipments, security systems, remote control/monitoring/management, and streaming media applications such as POS terminals, vending machines, IP camera, Internet radio, automatic meter reading, environmental monitoring systems, network sensors, networked UPS, Serial to Ethernet adapter, and Ethernet to ZigBee bridge.

The timing functions can be achieved through a watchdog timer, three general-purpose 16-bit timers, and a 5-channel programmable counter array (PCA). There are four full ports of offering total 32 controllable IO lines (GPIO). The AX110xx family all supports run-time firmware or driver update through Ethernet or UART, the so-called In Application Programming (IAP). Aside from supporting commercial temperature range (0~70), ASIX also provides a separate industrial temperature range version targeted for applications that need extended operating temperature range (-40 C to 85 C).

There is a growing need to add network connectivity into every embedded systems. Based on reports by Forrester Research, by the year 2010, up to 95% of the devices used to access the Internet will be non-PC devices that use an embedded system. In other words, the network connectivity of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication will be the primary market demand for the embedded networking system for the years to come. Ethernet's ease of use, cost effectiveness, high bandwidth, stability, security, and a high degree of compatibility makes it a natural solution for accessing the Internet. In addition to SOHO and corporate networks, Ethernet is gradually making its way into consumer and household devices as a primary way to access the Internet, satisfying both the stability and reliability demanded by industrial users and the bandwidth and multimedia connectivity demanded by home consumers.

To help customers evaluate and develop with AX110xx family platform, ASIX provides comprehensive technical support information in a Development/Reference Design Kit. The Kit includes the hardware and software application notes, user guides, schematics, PCB layout guide, and the firmware C source code for the AX110xx family with free of charge. In addition, ASIX also offers several versions of platform available for customers' development purpose.

Limited samples of the AX110xx single-chip microcontroller with TCP/IP and 10/100M Fast Ethernet MAC/PHY are available now, and volume production is scheduled in August 2006. The chips are offered in RoHS compliant version. Pricing for the AX11001 is $4.99 in 10,000-piece quantities. For pricing on the AX11005 and AX11015, please contact Asix directly.

Asix Electronics Corp. www.asix.com.tw.
 
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