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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ethernet controller connects sensors to the cloud

By Nick Flaherty

Texas Instruments (TI) has added Ethernet connectivity to its SimpleLink wired and wireless microcontrollers (MCU) to connect sensors to the cloud.

The SimpleLink MSP432 Ethernet MCUs are based on a120MHz ARM Cortex-M4F core with an integrated MAC and PHY, CAN and crrypto accelerators to help accelerate time to market for grid infrastructure and industrial automation gateway applications. 

Engineers can now combine wired communications with the SimpleLink MSP432 host MCUs through integrated serial interfaces with wireless connectivity technology such as Sub-1 GHz, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to connect end nodes to the cloud using the SimpleLink software development kit (SDK).

Developers can use the same code base when designing end nodes and intelligent gateways using the new SimpleLink Ethernet MCUs for the grid, factories and buildings. This allows them to create a wireless sensor network using SimpleLink wireless MCUs by connecting as many as 50 secure sensor nodes to a gateway. The gateway, based on the SimpleLink Ethernet MSP432E4 MCUs, acts as a centralized management console to process and aggregate data and deliver it to the cloud via Ethernet for additional data analysis, visualization and storage. Companies developing these types of gateways can interface with existing wired installations while adding the latest wireless connectivity technologies.

For example, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system can leverage other SimpleLink MCUs such as the Sub-1 GHz CC1310 wireless MCU and MSP432P4 host MCU to form a network of air-quality sensors and wired dampers to connect to an Ethernet-enabled HVAC system controller and then to the cloud. Users can then access real-time data to monitor and manage their energy profile. Learn more about the possibilities for HVAC systems and other applications in a new white paper.

The SimpleLink Ethernet MCU-based development kits are available through the TI store for US$19.99. The MSP432E4 MCUs are available for mass production, priced at US$9.00 in 1,000-unit quantities.

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