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Microchip has introduced the ENC624J600: a low-cost stand-alone IEEE 802.3-compliant 100Mbps Ethernet interface controller.

These Ethernet controllers combine a 10/100Base-TX physical interface (PHY) and a media access controller (MAC) with a hardware cryptographic security engine and can connect to any PIC microcontroller (MCU) via an industry-standard serial peripheral interface (SPI) or a flexible parallel interface.

Each device has a factory-programmed MAC address and 24Kb of configurable SRAM for packet transmit/receive buffering and data storage.

This combination of speed, flexibility and features is claimed to enable designers to create fast, secure network- and internet-connected embedded applications with minimised board space, cost and complexity.

The configurable 24Kb SRAM buffer memory provides a flexible, reliable data-management system that is said to enable an efficient method for packet storage, retrieval and modification, reducing the memory requirements for the host MCU.

The ENC624J600 controllers also integrate hardware cryptographic security engines, which perform RSA, Diffie-Hellman, MD5 and SHA-1 algorithm computations in support of cryptographic protocols such as SSL/TLS, SSH and various VPNs.

These integrated hardware features enable secure data transmissions with reduced code size, faster connection establishment and throughput and reduced firmware development efforts.

Each ENC624J600 controller has a unique, factory-pre-programmed Ethernet MAC address, as required for every Ethernet-enabled device.

With an SPI interface, only four pins are required to connect the controller to an MCU, enabling the use of smaller MCU packages for space-constrained applications.

Microchip offers a TCP/IP stack that can be used for free with any of its 8-, 16- or 32-bit PIC microcontrollers or dsPIC digital signal controllers.

The stack includes SSL encryption and a TCP/IP configuration wizard to simplify the configuration of Ethernet projects.

The stack utilises the industry-standard SSLv3 protocol to secure any TCP connection, while building in support for the HTTP web server and SMTP email client modules.

Owners of the Explorer 16 development board or PIC18 Explorer board can purchase the USD49.99 (GBP30) Fast 100Mbps Ethernet PICtail Plus daughter board (part number AC164132).

This daughter board contains an ENC624J600 and an RJ-45 jack to enable development of embedded Ethernet applications.

The ENC624J600 Ethernet controller is packaged in 44-pin QFN or TQFP packages or in 64-pin TQFP packages.

Microchip Technology

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