Renesas Electronics Accelerates Industrial Networking Application Development with RZ/N Series of Microprocessors

Supports Both Real-Time Industrial Network Protocols and Network Redundancy Protocols on a Single Chip to Meet the Industrial Internet of Things Paradigm

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — March 13, 2017 — Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced the new RZ/N Series of industrial networking communication microprocessors (MPUs) that simplifies network-based application development. The RZ/N Series is ideal for use in industrial network devices such as network switches, gateways, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), operator terminals, and remote I/O units. The RZ/N brings together multiple industrial networking technologies within a single chip, enabling system manufacturers to develop systems supporting a variety of industrial network protocols and network redundancy protocols in less time. Renesas also delivers broad ecosystem support to facilitate system manufacturers’ software development by offering a general application programmable interface (API) that provides a unified support for network protocol stacks implemented by industry-leading Renesas partners, in addition to compiler and OS environments. The RZ/N lineup comprises three product groups for scalability: the RZ/N1D Group for high-end applications, the RZ/N1S Group for mid-range applications, and the RZ/N1L Group for low-end applications.

With the recent advancement of the Industrial IoT to implement network connections in factories for increased efficiency, there are growing demands for network devices with support for industrial network protocols enabling real-time processing, protocol gateway functionality, protected networking functionality, and support for network redundancy protocols to ensure highly reliable and efficient communication.

Due to factors such as differing time constraints and network control technologies, existing factory networks consist of field networks, which implement communication between control devices and other devices, and control networks, which implement communication between control devices and other control devices. Field networks require real-time control and use real-time industrial network protocols such as EtherCAT®, EtherNet/IP™, ETHERNET Powerlink®, PROFINET®, Sercos®, and CANopen®. In contrast, control networks, which prioritize reliability, use network redundancy protocols such as Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP), Parallel Redundancy Protocol (PRP), and High-Availability Seamless Redundancy (HSR).

Thus far, there has been little development in unifying these two types of networks, which meant that when developing network devices, it was necessary to use components supporting one or another of the available protocols.

The new RZ/N Series was developed in response to this situation as a single-chip solution that will greatly simplify the development of industrial network devices by providing support for both field network real time protocols and control network redundancy protocols.

Key features of the new RZ/N Series:

(1) Multi-core ARM architecture with Integrated R-IN Engine (Note 1) and five-port Gigabit Ethernet switch for single-chip support of leading industrial network protocols and network redundancy protocols

The new RZ/N Series integrates the R-IN Engine employing an ARM® Cortex®-M3 processor and a five-port Ethernet switch with advanced network management features. This enables both real-time processing of communication data and redundancy protocol operation. The R-IN Engine improves power consumption and throughput, reduces jitter, and has already been successfully implemented in existing products and will be further developed in future. The RZ/N Series supports on a single chip a variety of industrial network protocols and network redundancy protocols.

(2) Ecosystem supporting highly efficient software development

To assist system manufacturers with evaluation, Renesas is preparing CPU modules populated with the new RZ/N Series, boards equipped with a variety of peripheral functions, and solution kits configured including OS and protocol stacks sample software from Renesas partners.

In addition, to facilitate the task of implementing industrial network protocols such as EtherCAT®, EtherNet/IP™, Ethernet POWERLINK®, PROFINET®, Sercos® and CANopen® (Note 2) on new devices, Renesas is working with industry-leading protocol vendors to make available to system developers protocol stacks from PORT GmbH, TMG Technologie und Engineering GmbH, CANNON-Automata, and Net Module, among others.

Renesas will provide a generic abstraction layer API that will deliver unified support for a variety of industrial network protocols without performance tradeoffs. Using such API will enable system developers to combine supported protocols as needed with minimal impact on the application software, and to shorten the development time of industrial network devices by as much as 50 percent (Note 3). Furthermore, to support the development of sophisticated applications, system developers will be able to utilize compiler environments including IAR Embedded Workbench® from IAR Systems® and OS environments including Linux®, VxWorks® from Wind River®, and ThreadX® from Express Logic (Note 4).

(3) Lineup comprising three product groups for scalability from the high end to the low end

The new RZ/N Series achieves scalability by providing a unified architecture that supports a broad range of performance. System manufacturers can choose the processor that meets the specific needs of their applications with the knowledge that they can easily reuse existing software resources.

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