FPGAs

Gigabit Ethernet FPGA module targets medical imaging

7th July 2015
Jordan Mulcare

A high performance Gigabit Ethernet FPGA module has been introduced by Orange Tree Technologies. Comprising a Gb Ethernet processing engine, Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA, DDR3 memory and general purpose I/O, the ZestET2-NJ is aimed at data acquisition and control applications in markets such as industrial vision, radar, sonar and medical imaging.

The small size of the module makes it suitable for integration into customers' end products, while concentrating on high performance without the need for any unnecessary peripherals. Delivering the maximum sustained Ethernet bandwidth of over 100MB/sec in both directions simultaneously, its suitable for high bandwidth data acquisition and control applications.

The User FPGA is the Xilinx Artix-7 XC7A35T with over 33,000 logic cells, 1.8Mb of Block RAM and 90DSP slices. It is tightly coupled with 512MB of 400MHz DDR3 SDRAM, giving it an ample memory bandwidth of 1.6GB/sec for high speed processing and formatting of streaming data. With ease of integration in mind, there are 105 FPGA IO pins available for connection to the user's equipment.

Ease of use has been a major design consideration for the product team, with Orange Tree's proprietary GigEx chip handling all the Ethernet protocols, saving application designers and companies the headache of having to get to grips with the complexity of TCP/IP or creating their own Ethernet interface.

Now in its third generation, GigEx adds an internal user programmable SPARC-compatible CPU, which can be used for example to implement higher level Ethernet protocols such as GigE Vision. SPARC programming tools are supplied free with the module. Alternatively this CPU can be left unprogrammed as GigEx can handle the standard Ethernet protocols.

The proprietary protocol chip GigEx handles the whole TCP/IP stack at over 100MB/s,allowing the User FPGA to be entirely dedicated to the application. The module measures just 40x50mm, making it suitable for integration into customers' products.

Charles Sweeney, Hardware Director, Orange Tree Technology, said: "With the increasing use of Ethernet in many different markets such as industrial control, machine vision, defence and the medical sector, ZestET2-NJ can speed the time to market for many companies, creating a key advantage for them."

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