A gateway can best be described as a device that enables communication between various classes of networks using multiple communication protocols and technologies. A concentrator performs an identical function as a gateway, although it is also capable of acting as an aggregation point for data in smart energy networks.
Key design considerations when building a gateway or concentrator include connectivity (both wired and wireless) to communicate between the different protocols and networks concurrently, as well as integration, high performance and security.
Both concentrator and gateway can be designed using a number of Atmel components, including the SAMA5D35 Cortex-A5 (ARM) eMPU, AT86RF212 900MHz RF transceiver, AT86RF231/233 2.4GHz RF transceivers, ATPL220A Prime PLC controller, ATPL100A FSK PLC controller, ATSHA204 authentication IC and AT30TS temperature sensor.
“Atmel’s SAMA5D35-powered platform offers a highly integrated device with optimized performance and extensive connectivity peripherals to simplify product design and BOM. Connectivity is ensured via a number of integrated comm peripherals including SDIO, CAN, 10/100 Ethernet MAC Controller and a 10/100/1000 Gigabyte Ethernet MAC Controller with IEEE1588 support,” an Atmel engineer told Bits and Pieces.
“There is also an integrated External Bus Interface (EBI) for DDR2 support, a MLC/SLC NAND Controller (including ECC) for NAND Flash, a low-power Real Time Clock (RTC) that can be battery operated during outages and a Floating Point Unit (FPU) for energy calculations and data statistics. Last, but certainly not least, the above-mentioned Atmel platform – which is equipped with 160-Bits of OTP Fuses for secret storage and secure boot – supports a number hardware security functions, including TRNG, AES-256, TDES and SHA256.”
As expected, Atmel also provides Linux support for the ATSAMA5D35 eMPU, along with a full range of development tools, such as RTOS, middleware and support services, as well as free software packages like TCP/IP stacks and Wi-Fi drivers. Meanwhile, an Evaluation Kit facilitates code development of applications running on a ATSAMA5D35-based device.
Additional information about Atmel’s ATSAMA5D35 Cortex-A5 eMPU can be found here.