Tag Archives: Hardware random number generator

Designing a gateway with Atmel’s SAMA5D35 eMPU

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.

atmelgatewayconcentrator

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.

Maintaining a stable process control with Atmel’s SAMA5D3 eMPU

The concept of process control is typically associated with industry, as it enables mass production and regulation of multiple activities and facilities including oil refining, paper manufacturing, chemicals and power plants. Specifically, process control facilitates automation, allowing a relatively small staff of personnel to operate a complex process from a central control room.

The controller itself is tasked with ensuring predictable operation of functions such as logic, sequencing, timing, counting and algorithms. As such, design considerations must take a number of critical variables into account, including secure and reliable communication to ensure data integrity and encryption. In terms of connectivity, a broad range of interfaces are required to communicate with end nodes, a user interface (UI) and other control blocks.

atmelprocesscontrollersam

Atmel’s SAMA5D3 (ARM) Cortex-A5 based eMPU can be used to power such a controller along with additional Atmel components including the AT86RF231/232/233 RF Transceiver, ATZigBit RF Module and ATPL100A FSK PLC Controller.

“SAMA5D3 eMPUs boast high-bandwidth, hardware security and rich connectivity to address key design considerations for a process controller. First off, it offers high-bandwidth architecture for real-time and reliable operation, along with a fully integrated MMU and Floating Point Unit (VFP) for accelerated graphics processing,” an Atmel engineer told Bits & Pieces.

“The SAMA5D3 also features 64-bit internal bus architecture, 32-bit external bus interface (EBI) and supports up to 39 DMA channels to enhance real-time performance. Meanwhile, Secure Boot supports encrypted code storage – allowing authenticated start-up and secure field upgrades. Additional security features include Integrated Hardware Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA), True Random Number Generator (TRNG) and AES/DES Encryption Engines.”

On the connectivity side, Atmel’s SAMA5D3 (ARM) Cortex-A5 based eMPU lineup supports Fieldbus to End Nodes, Ethernet to Smaller PLC or I/O Devices, or Ethernet to HMI or Higher-Level Control. Additional key hardware specs include Gigabit EMAC with real-time stamping (IEEE 1588), 10/100 EMAC, three HS USB Ports, Dual CAN, three SDIO/SD/MMC, 7 UARTs and 6 SPIs.

In terms of software, Atmel’s SAMA5D3 offers an extensive development ecosystem with Linux 3.6.6 OS support, including sources, pre-built demos with installation scripts, build
instructions, as well as tips & tricks.

There are also in-house and third-party suppliers of modules, kits, UI solutions and OS/RTOS/Middleware, along with an ATSAMA5D3-EK Evaluation Kit that facilitates rapid evaluation and code development.

Additional information about Atmel’s SAMA5D3 eMPUs can be found here.