Embedded Ethernet platforms -- your view

Dear Embedded folks,

I am looking for guidance with selection of a hardware developmen platform and tools for a new project. The task is essentially to embed a Ethernet router in an existing system, which will consume some networ traffic (TCP/IP) and forward the rest. As a first phase, we would like t get a working hardware platform for code development; later we roll our ow hardware based on the selected controller. I have been surveying platform that provide Ethernet connectivity and sufficient horsepower to proces level-2 packets; the toughest part has been finding appropriat development tools.

From what I?ve learned here and elsewhere, the Freescale ColdFire (e.g MCF5282) or an ARM-based device (e.g. AT91RM9200, Samsung S3C4510B) ar suitable controller choices. At this point I am leaning towards ColdFir based on praise of the architecture.

I have been evaluating the NetBurner MOD528

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. While i is a nice, compact package, it appears ill-suited for this project: th debug interface is via the network connection, making it difficult to tes custom network drivers ? a straight-ahead BDM debug interface seems mor appropriate.

The Axiom Manufacturing CML-5282 development boar

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seems like a nice basic ColdFir platform with BDM support. Anyone have experience with this?

I see P&E Micro has a BDM-based development suite. It appears the tool don?t support C++, but that is not a deal-breaker. Any comments o these products?

On the ARM side, I?ve heard there are many good tool vendors. Is ther a development/debug package that is head and shoulders above others?

Other items on the wish list include: o TCP/IP stack o Full Source code for any provided drivers, RTOS, etc o Full hardware schematics o Small development platform/module preferable

Time-to-demo is more critical than cost at this point.

With thanks for any and all feedback, ~Scott

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A. Scott
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You can't beat the price/performance offering of the AVR32 for this application:

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You can use a BDM device with the Netburner board but you'll have to add on the cost. But I don't have a problem with debugging over Ethernet. Both the AVR32 and the Netburner come with some very good code to get you going. You won't be reinventing the wheel.

Arm7 solutions that support Ethernet are less suitable for this task in my mind. Arm9 solutions are more comparible to the AVR32 and Coldfire/Netburner. But your cost and complexity points would be higher unless you can start with some good software to begin with.


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How about one of the WRT54G type platforms (one of the alternate ones that still runs linux - the current WRT54G's are a little short on rom). Debug interface options are ethernet, serial (at the cost of a level translator board), and I believe jtag (when you've otherwise bricked it).

Mabye I'm overestimating the amount of routing work you need to do and something smaller would work, but it's hard to beat the cost of development environment for the above -$30 for the hardware and nothing for the tools. Of course there could still be substantial "spending" on learning curve depending on if it does not does not mesh with your existing experience.

Of course you don't need the wireless, so you can eliminate it when make your own board.

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The ATNGW100 AVR32 Gateway is low cost H/W combined with Linux. Key features is dual Ethernet, which I believe you will need.

The recently released "Buildroot for AVR32" on avrfreaks.net should allow you to get a flying start on the tools side.

  • gcc-4.1.0 based toolchain (C, C++)
  • linux based linux kernel
  • uclibc based root file system with a number of router/gateway related S/W
  • Target optimized for ngw100

You debug using a JTAG ICE Mk II.

Best Regards,
Ulf Samuelsson
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Ulf Samuelsson

I'm using Technologic Systems devices. They have everything what I want and with their 500MHz ARM running Linux board (128MB RAM and

512MB fast flash, GB ethernet) I'm more than happy. BTW, no fans needed.
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Regards, Igor D.

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The debug interface is completly seperate from the normal packet processing flow. With simple function call you can even make the debug interface dual homed so it does not conflict at all with your normal packet processing.

If you want to do low level packet processing we have provided modified versions of the debug ethernet driver that support that functionality.

This allows you to step through the packet processing with the debugger.

Just submit a support request.


CTO Netburner.

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