Microchip Introduces New Development Solutions for Connected Products

March 20 2017, 03:00
Microchip made a series of announcements for Embedded World 2017, including a completely new generation of 8-bit PIC MCUs for complex designs. The new PIC18 “K42” family offers a versatile array of Core Independent Peripherals with DMA and vectored interrupts for improved system performance with less code. Other announcements include new advanced Gigabit Ethernet products ideal for infotainment applications, and a new secure CEC1702 32-bit MCU for connected solutions.

The new Microchip PIC18F “K42” family combines an extensive array of Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs), high-resolution analog, on-chip Direct Memory Access (DMA) and vectored interrupts for fast processing. The DMA controller enables data transfers between memory space and peripherals without Core Processing Unit (CPU) involvement, improving system performance and lowering power consumption. When interrupts are required, vectored interrupts provide faster response times with fixed latency reducing software overhead. Code development is also simplified with the user-friendly MPLAB Code Configurator, making the PIC18F “K42” family  well suited for an extensive range of applications and markets, including touch sensing, automotive, Internet of Things (IoT), medical and white goods.

The PIC18F “K42” family features the largest total memory of any 8-bit PIC MCU with up to 128 KB Flash and 8 KB RAM. CIPs simplify the implementation of common system functions like sensor interface, signal generation, power conversion, motor control, safety management and system communications. The PIC18F “K42” features a 12-bit ADC with computation which automates analog signal analysis for real-time system response. 

The new MCUs also include Configurable Logic Cells, low-power modes (IDLE, DOZE and Peripheral Module Disable) to reduce power consumption and improved serial communications including UART with support for asynchronous systems, DMX, DALI and LIN protocols along with higher-speed, standalone I2C and SPI.

The family will be supported by Microchip’s development ecosystem including the Curiosity platform and MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC), a free software plug-in that provides a graphical interface to configure peripherals and functions specific to your application. MCC is part of Microchip’s free, downloadable and award-winning MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Curiosity Development Boards are fully integrated MCU development platforms, which include an integrated programmer/debugger and require no additional hardware to get started. The 10 products in the PIC18F “K42” family are all available for sampling and volume production in a variety of package options.

Advanced Gigabit Ethernet Products
A new portfolio of 48 Gigabit Ethernet chips featuring advanced capabilities, certified compliance, comprehensive software support and copy-ready evaluation tools is also now available from Microchip. The new suite of products, known together as GigEpack, aims to reduce complexity and remove barriers in deploying high-speed networks, opening up new uses and applications. The GigEpack includes the industry’s first single-chip Gigabit Ethernet switches with integrated HSR/DLR redundancy for ultra-high reliability in critical manufacturing applications. Also included is the industry’s first automotive-grade USB 3.1 Gen 1 to Gigabit Ethernet bridge which supports Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and infotainment systems on a variety of physical network layers.

The comprehensive portfolio of products, designed for industrial, automotive and consumer applications, includes three key elements that ensure ease of use and fast time to market. First, all products are UNH-IOL (University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory) certified. Second, all products come with free software drivers that are certified or third-party approved for use with all major operating systems running on smartly engineered, copy-ready evaluation boards. Finally, the GigEpack suite is backed by Microchip’s free LANCheck online design service that reviews customer designs, ensuring that best design practices are used.

The GigEpack suite of products includes three product families. The new KSZ9477/9567/9897 switch family includes features that allow users to create ultra-reliable networks with HSR/DLR redundancy and transport audio and video with Audio/Video Bridging (AVB). The KSZ9567 switch, for example, has seven ports, an SGMII interface and also features EtherSynch technology, providing support for real-time Ethernet, IEEE 1588 v2 precision time protocol (PTP), AVB, and Time Sensitive Networking (TSN). The new LAN7800/LAN7850/LAN7801 bridge family enables customers to add Gigabit Ethernet to embedded processors via USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 2.0 or High Speed Inter-Chip (HSIC) bridging to a variety of physical layers such as 1000Base-T, or 100Base-T1 and HDBaseT via RGMII. These products join Microchip’s existing KSZ9031 family of Gigabit PHYs featuring automotive-grade robustness and low power consumption.

New Connected and Secure Solution
The new CEC1702 hardware cryptography-enabled microcontroller is now available from Microchip. The CEC1702 addresses the increasing need for security measures, such as secure boot, driven by the continual growth of Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The CEC1702 is a full-featured ARM Cortex-M4-based microcontroller with a complete hardware cryptography-enabled solution in a single package. This low-power but powerful, programmable 32-bit microcontroller offers easy-to-use encryption, authentication, private and public key capabilities and allows programming flexibility to minimize risks. The CEC1702 also provides significant performance improvements when compared to firmware-based solutions.

The device’s hardware cryptographic cipher suite reduces compute time by orders of magnitude over software solutions, and, as an example, provides 20-50x performance improvement for PKE acceleration as well as 100x improvement for encryption/decryption. This robust hardware-based feature set results in applications that can run security measures quickly, effectively and with significantly lower cost and power consumption. 

Whether it’s being used as a security coprocessor or a standalone microcontroller, the CEC1702 delivers a multi-dimensional defense against attacks, including pre-boot authentication of system firmware, providing an immutable identity and a root of trust to ensure that the firmware is untouched and hasn’t been corrupted. The new MCU also supports firmware update authentication, verifying that the firmware update has not been corrupted and is from a trusted source, while verifying authentication of system critical commands, attesting that any system-critical command is from a known source with authorization to make the given change, preventing potentially devastating actions. Finally, the solution allows protection of secrets with encryption, safeguarding code and data to prevent theft or malicious activities.

“The acceleration of the Internet of Things has brought higher visibility to the security considerations of new designs,” says, Ian Harris, vice president of Microchip’s computing products group. “One of the hardest challenges to solve in a connected system is the ability to ensure that the boot code has not been compromised. The CEC1702 eliminates this issue by making it easy for designers to verify pre-boot authentication and then provide firmware updated from known, trusted resources.”

Microchip simplifies adding authentication and encryption to connected designs by offering a full development suite including hardware and software tools as well as peripheral libraries and crypto Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to speed up design cycles.
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