The netX is a highly integrated network controller with a new system architecture optimized for communication and maximum data throughput.
Based on the 32 bit CPU ARM 926EJ-S cycled at 200 MHz, it possesses a memory management unit, caches, DSP and Java extensions. The internal memory of 144 KByte RAM and 32 KByte ROM that contains the boot loader is sufficient for smaller applications whereas for Windows CE and Linux it is supplemented with the 32 bit memory controller memory externally with SDRAM, SRAM or FLASH. The connection to a primary Host is carried out via the dual-port memory interface, which is configurable for stand-alone applications also as a 16 bit extension bus. Comprehensive peripheral functions, serial interfaces such as UART, USB, SPI, I²C as well as the integrated graphic controller permit a wide spectrum of applications. Yet, it is the central data switch and the four freely configurable communication channels with their own intelligence that is the main characteristic of the netX as a "high end” network controller.
The data switch connects via five data paths to the ARM CPU and the communication, graphic and Host controllers with the memory or the peripheral units.
In this way the controllers transmit their data in parallel, contrary to the traditional sequential architecture with only one common data bus and additional bus allocation cycles.
The controllers of the four communication channels are structured on two levels and are identical to each other. They consist of dedicated ALUs and special logic units that receive their protocol functions via Microcode. Two channels posses an additional integrated PHY for Ethernet.
With the intelligent communication ALUs, the netX carries out the most varied protocols and protocol combinations and can synchronize them independently of the reaction time of the CPU – an absolutely new feature in industrial communication technology.