Easy, low-cost integration of serial-to-Ethernet connectivity

Lantronix is introducing an innovative family of fully turnkey, dedicated networking coprocessor system-on-chip (SoC) products. The DeviceLinx XChip SoC family enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to embed serial-to-Ethernet connectivity and web services into a whole new class of high-volume, price-sensitive products so they can be remotely managed over the Internet. With market-proven, royalty-free application and network firmware included, XChip speeds time-to-market because virtually no additional coding or licensing commitment is necessary to enable powerful network connectivity to be added to any product with a microcontroller.

With the addition of the XChip family, Lantronix offers manufacturers a complete line of software-compatible device networking solutions across a product's life cycle – from external boxes to boards, modules and chips. Based on current Lantronix networking technology, the XChip family delivers the same performance as the award-winning Lantronix XPort family of embedded device networking modules. Its affordability, small size and application-ready networking firmware make XChip excellent for high-volume, cost-sensitive products. Inexpensive microcontrollers with limited functionality have traditionally created a barrier in network-enabling such products. Now, as a dedicated networking coprocessor, XChip enables the host microcontroller to function at maximum capacity without the burden of network processing overhead. This enables OEMs to use less expensive, less powerful host microcontrollers on their products without sacrificing performance.

Marc Nussbaum, CEO of Lantronix, comments: "With the launch of the XChip, Lantronix now has a complete line of innovative device networking solutions. The new XChip product family provides a series of compact, fully-functional SoC networking coprocessors that enable design engineers to quickly and cost-effectively network-enable high-volume products. OEMs can avoid the time and expense of separately purchasing chips, licensing software and performing complex integration by using the single chip solution from Lantronix. The innovative XChip family opens M2M technology to new applications making it easy for any device to speak on the network."

Wide range of applications

Potential applications for the XChip include consumer electronics, building automation (air conditioning, heating, etc), energy/metering, home automation (high-end audio, alarm panels, etc), point-of-sale, RFID readers, sensors and controllers, vending machines and white/durable goods. In addition to providing remote management and control over the Internet, embedding network connectivity into products opens an array of value-add services. OEMs can develop additional revenue streams through remote monitoring, configuration and servicing of equipment.

Robin Duke-Wooley, principal analyst at Harbor Research, states: "As the market potential for network-enabled products expands and competitive pressures increase, OEMs are searching for new ways to quickly and easily snap-in Ethernet connectivity to their existing and new product lines without having to spend countless man-hours in development. Also, many of these same OEMs are actively looking at ways to create new revenue streams by packaging value-added services around this connectivity. By leveraging its major market success of the XPort embedded device server module in the form of a SoC product family, Lantronix once again is bringing powerful networking capabilities within the reach of more manufacturers. With the wired Ethernet M2M market estimated to grow at over 20 per cent annually, we see the launch of the DeviceLinx XChip line as instrumental in enabling OEMs to rapidly design-in networking and web server technologies to a wider range of devices – especially higher volume and more cost-sensitive consumer products."

Built using the industry-standard CMOS process, the XChip is a highly-integrated x86 class processor that includes a built-in Ethernet MAC and 10-100 PHY, 256 KB zero wait-state SRAM, up to 11 GPIOs and a high-performance serial UART in a compact 12 X 12mm 184 BGA RoHS-compliant package. A compact and efficient design, it not only conserves board space, but the XChip can reduce overall product bill of materials by removing the need for an external MAC/PHY chip.

The firmware and network protocol stack includes TCP/IP, UDP, BootP, DHCP and AutoIP. XChip also features (depending on model) a web server with support for three simultaneous web sessions, email triggering on in-band serial data patterns or configurable pins inputs, and variety of configurable options for serial-to-Ethernet tunnelling (baud rate, flow control, port number, data packing control intervals, inactivity timeout and MTU size).

The DeviceLinx XChip SoC product family includes:

XChip Direct – Embedded Device Gateway SoC Coprocessor. Provides serial-to-Ethernet connectivity, designed to efficiently move commands, status and information over IP networks.

XChip – Embedded Device Server SoC Coprocessor. Provides serial-to-Ethernet connectivity, built-in web server, and 256-bit AES encryption.

XChip AR – Embedded Programmable Device Server SoC Coprocessor. Provides serial-to-Ethernet connectivity, built-in web server, advanced SSH/SSL secure connectivity, and advanced web services including AJAX, CGI and RSS.

To speed prototype build and time to production, all XChip models come complete with a compact, four-layer reference design that is optimised for cost and performance. The design package includes schematic and assembly diagrams, Gerber files, PADS PCB design files and fabrication drawing.

The DeviceLinx XChip SoC product family will be available globally in September 2007 through Lantronix channel and other sales partners.


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