Enabling Multi-protocol Industrial Ethernet with the PRU-ICSS on TI’s Sitara processor family

With more than 30 different industrial Ethernet standards deployed in the factory automation market today, developers of these products have the unique challenge of choosing the perfect hardware technology/platform. Moreover, as each of the Industrial Ethernet standards often require specific functions in the media access controller (MAC), developers often use expensive FPGA and ASIC solutions to cover multiple industrial Ethernet standards with one platform.

The Programmable Real-Time Unit and Industrial Communication Subsystem (PRU-ICSS), available in the Sitara™ product family from Texas Instruments (TI), addresses this challenge by providing the capabilities to support multiple industrial Ethernet standards on one single chip. The PRU-ICSS is a peripheral that is combined with a high performance ARM Cortex™ application processor, allowing the developer to easily change the industrial Ethernet standard by simply loading a different PRU-ICSS firmware image.

TI has PRU-ICSS firmware support for the top industrial Ethernet protocols such as EtherCAT, PROFINET, EtherNet/IP and more. In addition, the PRU-ICSS can be programmed by customers to implement any kind of proprietary Ethernet protocol.


Thomas Mauer is a System Engineer in the Factory Automation and Control Team at Texas Instruments Freising, where he is responsible for developing reference design solutions for the industrial segment. Thomas brings to this role extensive experience in industrial communications like Industrial Ethernet, fieldbuses, and industrial applications. Thomas earned his electrical engineering degree (Dipl. Ing. (FH)) at the University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden, Germany.



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