Ethernet kit evaluates emerging IEEE TSN standard

Article By : Graham Prophet

The kit is aimed at the industrial and automotive sectors, but also at other areas such as professional audio.

Maker of communications-focussed processors and related devices, Innovasic, has produced a Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) evaluation kit based on its fido5000 REM Switch technology.

Innovasic has supplied ICs supporting all flavours of industrial Ethernet for over a decade; and has been active, and has carefully tracked, the emerging IEEE effort on 802.1 (TSN) standards. This, the company notes, emerged from the increasing use of Ethernet for audio and video content, and is evolving into a broadly-based “menu” of sub-standards to address all aspects of deterministic networking. Innovasic anticipates the standards, or at least the current round, to be complete in 12-18 months. Meanwhile, it aims to make its evaluation kit a constantly-updated resource that will allow users to access each element of TSN as it firms up.

The kit contains everything needed to evaluate the features of the emerging IEEE TSN standard and is pre-installed with the most mature TSN features starting with 802.1AS and 802.1Qbv. As TSN standards evolve, new features will be made available as free downloads through Innovasic’s Developer Portal.

The TSN standards that will be supported by future updates to the kit are:

  • 802.1AS, AS-REV – Time Synchronisation
  • 802.1Qbv – Scheduled Traffic (updates)
  • 802.1Qci – Ingress Policing
  • 802.1CB – Seamless Redundancy
  • 802.1Qcc – Stream Reservation Protocol
  • 802.1Qbu / 802.3br – Preemption

The overall structure of the TSN effort is to produce a fully-deterministic networking capability, while retaining full backward compatibility with ‘standard’ Ethernet. The kit is aimed at the industrial and automotive sectors, but also at other areas such as professional audio.

Evaluation of TSN is simplified by using the kit as a TSN gateway. Ethernet enabled devices can be plugged into the kit’s standard Ethernet port and the other two ports are plugged into a TSN network. The TSN gateway is then configured to send and receive TSN streams over the TSN network based messages to and from the standard Ethernet device. In this way, a standard Ethernet device can talk to any other TSN-enabled device on a TSN network; standard Ethernet messages are tagged to be handled in the TST ‘cloud’.

The kit contains a baseboard and two further cards to make standard Ethernet connections—networking options that can be explored include all common variants such as star, ring ad mesh connections.

The kit can be ordered for an introductory price of $495.

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