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Category: Embedded Networking

New Embedded Ethernet Controller by Microchip with MAC and PHY is World's Smallest

By Eric Lawson, Microchip
Apr 25, 2005 - 3:21:00 PM

Microchip Technology has introduced the ENC28J60, a 28-pin 10Base-T Stand-Alone Embedded Ethernet controller with SPI interface. A free TCP/IP stack is also available for PIC microcontrollers.
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CHANDLER, Ariz., April 25, 2005 [NASDAQ:  MCHP] — Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, today announced the world’s first 28-pin stand-alone Embedded Ethernet controller, which provides a low-pincount, cost-effective, easy-to-use solution for remote communication with embedded Ethernet applications.  Microchip’s ENC28J60 Embedded Ethernet Controller enables designers to create network- and Internet-connected embedded applications with minimized board space, cost and complexity.

An important feature of this new device is the inclusion of both an Ethernet MAC and PHY on one piece of silicon. To achieve this, Microchip has built this chip using their 0.25 micron mixed-signal process technology.

New Embedded Ethernet Controller by Microchip with MAC and PHY is World's Smallest

Embedded Ethernet designers who require application access for remote control or monitoring are often faced with the complexity of large-footprint, expensive Ethernet controllers that are tailored for personal-computing systems.  While most embedded Ethernet controllers come in greater than 80-pin packages, the IEEE 802.3-compliant ENC28J60 offers comparable features in a 28-pin package, which simplifies the design and reduces the overall occupied board space.  Additionally, the ENC28J60 Embedded Ethernet controller employs the industry-standard SPI™ serial interface, which only requires four lines to interface to a host microcontroller.  These features, combined with Microchip’s free TCP/IP software stack for PIC18 microcontrollers, provide the smallest whole-product Ethernet solution for embedded applications.

"The Microchip ENC28J60 is targeted at a wide range of embedded ethernet applications, and is particularly well suited for the fast-growing VoIP market," said Mitch Obolsky, Vice President of Microchip’s Advanced Microcontroller Architecture Division.  "With the introduction of Microchip’s Stand-Alone Ethernet Controller, a whole new class of microcontroller-based applications can be cost effectively connected to local and global networks, enabling true remote monitoring and system control."

Example applications that can take advantage of the ENC28J60 Embedded Ethernet controller include:  telecommunications (VoIP phone adapters); inventory management (vending machines, hotel mini bars); remote diagnostics/alerts (appliances, factory machines, POS terminals, power supplies, servers/networks); security (asset monitoring, fire and safety, security panels, access control, fingerprint recognition); remote sensing/actuators (industrial control/automation, lighting control, environmental control).

Embedded Ethernet designers have a growing need to add connectivity to their applications.  Ethernet is the leading networking technology for local area networks (LANs), and it can be used to connect embedded devices within a LAN to the Internet.  By adding Ethernet connectivity to an embedded system, microcontrollers can distribute data over a network and can be controlled remotely.  Ethernet’s infrastructure, performance, interoperability, scalability and ease of development have made it a standard choice for embedded application communications.
Key features of the ENC28J60 Embedded Ethernet controller include:

  • IEEE 802.3-Compliant
  • On-chip 10 Mbps Ethernet Physical Layer Device (PHY)
  • On-chip Medium Access Controller (MAC)
  • Programmable filtering: special filters, including Microchip’s programmable pattern-matching filter, automatically evaluate, accept or reject Magic Packet™, Unicast, Multicast or Broadcast packet types, minimizing the host microcontroller’s processing requirements.
  • 10 Mbps SPI Interface: industry-standard serial communications port, allowing even 18-pin, 8-bit microcontrollers to be network enabled.
  • Programmable 8-Kbyte Dual-Port SRAM Buffer:  enables an efficient method for packet storage, retrieval and modification, eliminating memory requirements for the host microcontroller. This buffer memory provides a flexible, reliable data-management system.

Development Tools
The PICtailTM Ethernet Interface board (part # AC164121), designed to ease development with the ENC28J60 Embedded Ethernet controller, plugs into a selection of Microchip’s standard PICDEMTM demonstration boards and is expected to be available in May.  Microchip’s free TCP/IP stack, which is designed for all PIC18 host 8-bit microcontrollers, is available now for download at Microchips' website.  Information on a third-party stack for all PIC16 host 8-bit microcontrollers can also be found at this site.

Limited sampling for the ENC28J60 Ethernet controller is available now, and volume production is expected in May.  Options include 28-pin SPDIP, SOIC, SSOP and QFN packages.  For additional information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip’s Web site.

About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:  MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide.  Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality.

New Embedded Ethernet Controller by Microchip with MAC and PHY is World's Smallest

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Product data and specifications in this article are the responsibility of the manufacturer. No warrenty is expressed or implied as to the accuracy of manufacturer-supplied data. So there.
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