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Key Features

  • Host Microcontroller connected via SPI to the netX system on chip
  • one hardware for all industrial real time ethernet systems
  • Supports the following protocols: PROFINET IRT and RT Device, EtherCAT Slave ,Ethernet/IP Adapter, POWERLINK Controlled Node, Sercos III Slave, Modbus/TCP Client/Server
  • two RJ45 ports with real time ethernet switch for line and ring topologies
  • power supply via Mini-USB connector
  • reset button
  • bootmode jumper
  • netX firmware flash programming via USB
  • netX protocol stack firmware available as free download for evaluation
  • host software examples available


netSHIELD is an evaluation expansion board with Arduino Uno pin out compatible connectors for development purposes. The extension board is designed and tested for 3.3V based hardware designs like STM32 Nucleo Micorcontroller evaluation boards.

It enables the user to connect a Microcontroller based application to all market relevant Real-Time-Ethernet industrial networks with best-in-class real time capabilities, like PROFINET, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT and others.

The extension board features a netX 52 system on chip. The netX SoC architecture is designed from the ground up for the highest demands on flexibility, determinism and performance in terms of multi-protocol capability and low latency for short cycle times. The heterogeneous multi-core architecture features an ARM processor core, coupled with a flexible communication subsystem (xC) for varieties of industrial applications support.

The communication subsystem, i.e. the Protocol Stack, runs completely independent on the netX SoC and requires only small memory and very limited CPU resources from the host microcontroller. A protocol specific firmware image for the netX network controller is stored in a serial flash memory.


Documentation and Software for netSHIELD can be found here: Downloads NSHIELD 52-RE

STM32Cube Expansion

Key Features

  • Generic API for all Protocol Stacks from Hilscher
  • Application examples for PROFINET, Ethernet/IP and EtherCAT
  • Requires a netX companion chip beside the STM32 Microcontroller
  • Prepared to work with netSHIELD expansion board for STM32 Nucleo-64 and Nucleo-144
  • Configured for SPI connection between STM32 MCU and netX companion chip
  • Can be adapted to parallel interface


The I-CUBE-NETX Software Expansion contains a middleware API component, called cifX API. It eases access to a netX companion chip for Real Time Ethernet protocols.

The cifX middleware component API is internally based on a generic cifX Toolkit.

The netX system on chip operates as an independent and flexible communication controller, beside the STM32 host Microcontroller. Industrial protocols like PROFINET, EtherCAT, Ethernet/IP, POWERLINK, Sercos III, and many others are supported by different netX firmware binaries, stored in a serial flash.

Data exchange between the STM32 application MCU and the netX protocol execution controller is performed via a dual port memory. Both chips are physically connected by a serial (SPI) or flexible parallel interface.

This STM32Cube Expansion features API functions to exchange cyclic process data between the network and the application, as well as acyclic mailbox packets.


The STM32Cube Expansion and documentation can be downloaded here: Downloads NSHIELD 52-RE

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