Altera Corporation announced the availability of a fully verified EtherCAT (Ethernet for Control Automation Technology) protocol intellectual property (IP) for Altera FPGAs. This announcement is the latest offering from the collaboration between Altera, EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) and Softing Industrial Automation GmbH, for a licensing structure that gives developers access to leading Industrial Ethernet protocols with no upfront license fees, no per-unit royalty reporting or protracted negotiations, ultimately simplifying the integration of FPGA-based Industrial Ethernet designs.
Altera’s Industrial Ethernet solutions implement both the protocol IP and software stack into an FPGA using programmable logic and a soft embedded processor. In this way, a single board with the same Altera FPGA can work with a range of protocols without hardware modifications. The same FPGA can also be used to implement various industrial automation functions, such as sensor interfaces, accelerators and custom control logic in addition to the communication function.