Communication protocol stack cuts KNX-based product design time

2nd May 2017
Mick Elliott

A communication protocol stack, implemented in firmware, for the KNX standard for the application development of home and building systems has been announced by Avnet Silica. Designed to run on XMC industrial microcontrollers from Infineon Technologies, the new KNX Stack NGS developed by Weinzierl Engineering, delivers a fully certified platform to customers to help them significantly reduce their development time of KNX based products and systems.

Supporting all communication media types such as Ethernet (IP), radio-frequency (RF) and twisted pair (TP), the KNX bus system is ISO/IEC14543 approved and has evolved to become one of the most important communication standards in home and building systems and is ideal for a wide range of applications, including lighting control, HVAC systems, energy management, smart metering, and security, monitoring and alarming.

The KNX standard defines a complex communication protocol that can mean significant investment in terms of both implementation and certification.

However, Avnet Silica’s offering of the Weinzierl KNX Stack NGS on XMC means that customers will gain a KNX Association certified platform to enable the fast development of KNX-bus based devices.

This is especially the case for highly complex applications, where the alternative is development based upon legacy solutions and potentially a longer engineering process.

In terms of hardware architecture, the core of a KNX device uses a microcontroller that implements the application task as well as the KNX bus communication protocol.

Now a KNX Stack NGS release is available for the XMC microcontroller family of Infineon, which is designed for both system cost and efficiency for demanding industrial applications.

The stack runs on XMC1000 microcontrollers, which include an ARM Cortex-M0 core, and the XMC4000 microcontrollers, which implement a high-performance Cortex-M4 core with a floating-point unit.

Other features of the XMC products include advanced analogue and mixed signal circuitry, a high-resolution PWM unit and a wide selection of communication peripherals.

In addition, the KNX Stack NGS firmware offers a very lean system and includes the communication stack as well as a complete implementation of the standardised device model, called System B.

The firmware also emulates KNX resources such as memory or properties, thereby achieving compatibility to ETS (Engineering Tool Software) without any restrictions.

Other features of the KNX stack include a model-driven approach for application development. Using an application description in Python syntax, the kScript scripting tool generates the database entry for ETS software, as well as configuration and header files for the KNX stack.

Avnet Silica customer support for KNX systems includes availability of evaluation boards and software tools, as well as a comprehensive training workshop, advice on system architectures and full support during the application development cycle.

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