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New version of Powerlink is simpler and more modular
Published:  14 May, 2014

The Ethernet Powerlink Standardisation Group (EPSG) has issued a new version of the Powerlink stack which, it says, has a simplified architecture and improved modularity.

The EPSG adds that the backwards-compatible Version 2.0 stack will simplify application development with a much cleaner separation between the application-oriented stack library and the time-critical stack driver, allowing real-time applications to be moved to a dedicated communication processor or a Linux kernel module, thus delivering enhanced performance while keeping the stack API in user space. Updated documentation provides a smoother introduction to Powerlink technology for new developers.

Since the platform-independent, open-source Powerlink software was first published in 2008, it has been downloaded more than 23,000 times and is used to provide real-time industrial Ethernet networking in many products.

As well as standard and multiplexed modes, the new stack supports PollResponse Chaining, accelerating the average response time across large networks. The virtual Ethernet interface for asynchronous communication supports Multi-ASnd, which fills the asynchronous phase of the Powerlink cycle with multiple telegrams to boost asynchronous communication bandwidth. The stack can operate as either a Powerlink master or a slave.

In addition to the previously supported platforms including Linux, Windows, VxWorks and FPGA slaves version 2.0 adds native support for FPGA-based masters on Altera and Xilinx platforms, as well as implementations on TI's Sitara chip.

More information about openPowerlink can be found on the open-source platform, SourceForge.