Microchip Technology Makes Embedded Ethernet Easier
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Nov 01, 2008
Security upgrade adds SSL security to TCP/IP Stack; Stack works with 8-, 16- and 32-bit PIC MCUs and dsPIC DSCs. Company also introduces a new configuration wizard and local training.

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP), a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, announced from the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston the expansion of its Ethernet software and support for embedded systems designers, including the addition of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption to its free TCP/IP Stack and a new TCP/IP Configuration Wizard to simplify the configuration of Ethernet projects. To make implementing embedded Ethernet even easier, Microchip is also offering a hands-on class that is available from its worldwide network of more than 35 Regional Training Centers. Embedded engineers are increasingly taking advantage of Ethernet connectivity, and these additions to Microchip’s support offering are designed to make it easy for them—whether they’re using 8-, 16- or 32-bit PIC microcontrollers (MCUs) or dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs). All of these new design tools are available now from Microchip’s Ethernet Application Design Center. 
“Microchip continues to simplify the process of adding remote Ethernet access to embedded applications utilizing our broad portfolio of microcontrollers, DSCs and Ethernet controllers,” said Mitch Obolsky, vice president of Microchip’s Advanced Microcontroller Architecture Division. “By adding encryption and a configuration wizard to our free TCP/IP Stack, Microchip further enables any embedded application to be securely and cost-effectively monitored and controlled from anywhere.”

The latest Microchip TCP/IP Stack includes an SSL module, which enables secure, encrypted communications between two nodes on an unsecured network. It supports both client and server functionality, while providing fast 128-bit ARCFOUR encryption for bulk data transfers.

Additionally, the stack uses the industry-standard SSLv3 protocol to secure any TCP connection, while building in support for the HTTP Web server and SMTP e-mail client modules. For best performance, the handshake process is optimized in assembly.

Microchip’s TCP/IP Configuration Wizard allows developers to get started quickly by selecting the desired Stack features (e.g., Web server or e-mail client), as well as associated configuration parameters. The appropriate number of TCP and UDP sockets can be automatically set, while the Wizard verifies that no design rules are being violated before modifying the Stack’s configuration file.

Training
To help embedded engineers take full advantage of its TCP/IP Stack, Microchip has developed a training course that is now available from its worldwide network of more than 35 regional training centers. The class provides a complete design example of a TCP/IP control-and-status monitoring application. It also includes an overview of fundamental communication concepts, such as ARP, IP, DHCP and DNS, application layers, and the PHY. API commands for TCP are discussed, along with HTTP and file systems for a targeted application. Finally, the class highlights the cross-platform compatibility among Microchip’s 8-bit PIC18, 16-bit PIC24 and 32-bit PIC32 microcontroller families.

Click the link to sign up for this course—COM 4201 “Designing TCP/IP Monitor and Control”. Pricing starts at $99.00 for a full-day class and all course materials, with the option to bundle related development tools based on individual design needs.

Development Tools
Microchip also provides a broad range of Ethernet tools, in conjunction with the free MPLAB Integrated Development Environment, to support development with its TCP/IP Stack, ENC28J60 Ethernet Controller, PIC18F97J60 MAC/PHY 8-bit MCU family, and any of its 8-, 16- and 32-bit PIC MCU and dsPIC DSC hosts. For development with Microchip’s Ethernet-enabled MCUs or Ethernet controller, the PICDEM.net 2 (part # DM163024) is available now for $165. The Explorer 16 Development Board (part # DM240001, $129.99) and Ethernet PICtail Plus Daughter Board (part # AC164123, $39.99) are available now, and can be combined to form a modular platform for Ethernet development utilizing any of Microchip’s 16- and 32-bit PIC MCUs and dsPIC DSCs. Likewise, development with any of Microchip’s PIC18 8-bit MCUs is enabled by combining the PIC18 Explorer Development Board (part # DM183032, $99.99) with the Ethernet PICtail Daughter Board (part # AC164121, $39.99), both available now.

Microchip Customer Support
Microchip is committed to supporting its customers by helping design engineers develop products faster and more efficiently. Customers can access four main service areas at the Microchip web site. The Support area provides a fast way to get questions answered; the Sample area offers free evaluation samples of any Microchip device; microchipDIRECT provides 24-hour pricing, ordering, inventory and credit for convenient purchasing of all Microchip devices and development tools; finally, the Training area educates customers through webinars, sign-ups for local seminar and workshop courses, and information about the annual MASTERs events held throughout the world.

About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality.

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