Arm-based SBC has PoE, Wi-Fi/BT and More

By Eric Brown

Gateworks’ headless “Ventana GW5910” SBC runs OpenWrt or Ubuntu on a dual-core i.MX6 and provides GbE with PoE, WiFi/BT, optional GPS, Sub-1 GHz, and 2.4 GHz radios, and dual mini-PCIe slots for further wireless expansion.

Freescale’s i.MX6 was ahead of its time when it launched in 2011, and in the NXP era it it has continued to hold on in the embedded Linux market far longer and with greater dominance than any other processor. It’s only a matter of time before i.MX6-focused embedded vendors like Gateworks move on to the i.MX8 or other SoCs, but in the meantime there’s something to be said for working with a consistent SoC and platform/software platform rather than starting from scratch every few years.

Gateworks has just added to its i.MX6 collection by posting a product page for a new member of its Linux-supported, i.MX6-driven Ventana SBC family. Like other Ventana boards, the headless, wireless-oriented Ventana GW5910 supports -40 to 85°C temperatures.


 
Ventana GW5910 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)


The Ventana GW5910 has the same 100 x 70mm form factor as the Ventana GW5220. Other Ventana boards include the 140 x 100mm Ventana GW5400, 100 x 35mm Ventana GW5530, and 70 x 35mm Ventana GW5510. The complete family of Ventana boards are compared here.

This is the first Ventana board to offer built-in WiFi/BT, via a Laird Sterling module with 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2 LE. There’s also an optional Ti CC1352P module with dual-band sub-1GHz and 2.4GHz RF support, enabling 802.15.4g wireless protocols like 6LoWPAN, Thread, and Zigbee. There’s also an option for a u-blox ZOE-M8 GNSS Receiver.

Like the Ventana GW5530, the Ventana GW5910 offers mini-PCIe expansion, and this time there are two slots instead of one. One of them supports mSATA storage and the other is accompanied by a nano-SIM slot with LTE support.

The 802.15.4g and GPS modules do not use the mini-PCIe slots, so you could conceivably have five different wireless technologies onboard at once, as well as a GbE port with both passive and active 802.3af Power-over-Ethernet support.

Like most of the Ventana boards, the GW5910 uses the dual Cortex-A9 version of NXP’s i.MX6. The board defaults to an OpenWrt BSP with U-Boot, and there’s also an Ubuntu BSP available. It lacks the Yocto, Debian, and Android support found on the other boards.


 
Ventana GW5910 detail views
(click images to enlarge)


The Ventana GW5910 ships with the usual 512MB DDR3 and 256MB flash, but you can bump those up to 2GB for volume customization orders. There’s also a microSD slot and connectors for 2x serial, SPI, and DIO. There are no USB or display ports, but you get JTAG, an accelerometer, an RTC with battery, an 8-60VDC input, and the Gateworks System Controller.

The Gateworks boards are extensively documented for both software and hardware. However, as noted in the CNXSoft post that alerted us to the GW5910, the software wiki has yet to post details specific to the SBC.

Specifications listed for the Ventana GW5910 SBC include:

  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Dual (2x ARM Cortex-A9 cores @ 800MHz); Vivante GPU
  • Memory/storage:
    • 512MB DDR3-800 RAM (up to 2GB with volume customization)
    • 256MB flash (up to 2GB with volume customization)
    • MicroSD slot
  • Networking:
    • Gigabit Ethernet port with Passive or 802.3af (36-60VDC) PoE
    • 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2 LE (Laird Sterling) with ant. connector
    • Optional Ti CC1352P module with dual-band sub-1GHz (+20dBm TX Power) and 2.4GHz RF, supporting 802.15.4g protocols like 6LoWPAN, Thread, Zigbee, Wi-Sun, BLE 5
    • Optional u-blox ZOE-M8 GNSS Receiver with GPS/Galileo/GLONASS/BeiDou (72-ch., -167dBm)
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x serial interfaces
    • DIO and SPI connectors
    • JTAG interface
  • Expansion:
    • 2x mini-PCIe Gen 2 slots (1x with PCIe/USB 2.0 and mSATA, 1x USB 2.0) with 16W power
    • Nano-SIM slot with LTE and CATM1 support
  • Other features:
    • 3-axis accelerometer/magnetometer
    • Gateworks System Controller with watchdog, etc.
    • RTC with coin cell battery holder
    • Optional dev kit with PoE injector, power adapter, JTAG-USB programmer, pre-loaded BSP, and Ventana Wire Terminal Breakout Adapter
  • Power — 8-60VDC; 3W ([email protected]) typical consumption; reverse voltage and transient protection
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C; humidity resistance (20% to 90% non-condensing)
  • Dimensions — 100 x 70 x 21mm
  • Operating system — OpenWrt and Ubuntu BSPs with U-boot

 
Further information

The Ventana GW5910 appears to be available now at an undisclosed price. More information may be found on Gateworks’ Ventana GW5910 product page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on July 10.

Gateworks | www.gateworks.com

Eurotech to Provide IoT Tech for New Paris Metro Lines

 

Eurotech France, the French subsidiary of the Eurotech Group, has announced that it has been selected by Thales as a supplier of embedded hardware and IoT software for the CAVE project “Automatic Counting of Passengers” of the new Grand Paris Express metro lines 15, 16 and 17. The entire project represents for Eurotech the supply of a minimum of 1400 passenger counters, with potential additional traches for a total up to 4250. No other financial details have been disclosed.

DynaPCN 10-20

 

This project aims to know in real time the number of wagon users at each station to feed mobility applications and then to improve transport services through a detailed analysis of all the data collected about passengers flows. In addition to using the PoE version of Eurotech’s DynaPCN passenger counter, the solution is based on ESF (Everyware Software Framework) for the on-board software for data collection and remote configuration, and EC (Everyware Cloud) for the ground software to enable Société du Grand Paris to securely access passenger counting information and to use this data internally or by sharing it externally.

The DynaPCN 10-20 is a compact, low power, autonomous device based on non-contact stereoscopic vision technology. It has been specifically designed for passenger counting above the doorways in buses and trains; it can also be used to count people as they enter or leave buildings or any area with restricted access.

Stereoscopic cameras capture images of the area below the device. Thanks to the integrated high luminosity infrared LED indicators it can operate in any type of lighting condition. The extended temperature range capabilities allow integrators to use the device in a wide range of climatic conditions.

The DynaPCN 10-20 analyses the height, shape and direction of any object passing the field of view; if the object is recognized as a person entering or leaving, the incoming and outgoing counters are incremented accordingly, along with time and date information.

Data transfer is made via an Ethernet interface. The onboard insulated digital I/O interfaces can be used to directly communicate with intelligent doors or flow control systems, guaranteeing optimal functionality at all times: for example, stop counting when the doors are closed.

The DynaPCN 10-20 can be easily mounted in the ceiling space above a doorway becoming almost invisible. The angle of the optical panel can be adjusted from 0° to 45°; therefore, it can be placed in an ideal position even if the mounting surface is not horizontal.

Eurotech | www.eurotech.com

Report Expects PoE Solutions Market to Exceed $2 Billion by 2025

The power-over-Ethernet (PoE) solutions market size is set to exceed $2 billion (USD) by 2025, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights. The PoE solutions market growth is driven by the increase in the number of connected devices generating demand for more power, light and data converged networks in IoT-enabled infrastructure, says the report. The enterprises are facing challenges while designing a network infrastructure that can support several IoT devices. They are continuously seeking new ways to address network capacity planning for high-speed performance.
PoE solutions enable companies to manufacture PoE-compatible network devices to provide a cost-effective solution for larger installations. The PoE solutions-enabled network infrastructure is helping companies to eliminate additional hardware and reduce costs required to provide connectivity and power to connected devices separately.

The PoE solutions offers flexibility to enterprises by eliminating the need to locate powered devices such as IP cameras, VoIP phones and access control systems close to the power source. The PoE solutions offers uninterrupted power supply to powered devices, which helps in continuous operations of physical security applications such as IP cameras and access controllers. The PoE technology reduces the total cost of ownership of enterprise network hardware by providing connectivity and power to wireless devices through a single ethernet cable.

The Powered Devices (PDs) segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 15% in the PoE solutions market during the forecast period due to the increase in the adoption of wireless devices such as VoIP phones, access control systems, lighting controls, alarms, barcode scanners, RFID, clocks, IP security cameras, digital signage displays, computer monitors and PoS terminals. The complexities and costs required to manage power and connectivity to these devices are enabling enterprises to shift to the PoE-enabled PDs. The PoE solutions is helping enterprises in reducing costs and complexities associated with the maintenance of these devices by eliminating additional network hardware.

In 2018, the VoIP phones held the major share in the PoE solutions market due to the need for a cost-effective and reliable solution for enterprise communication. The enterprises are using VoIP phones to reduce costs and complexities associated with the legacy telephony system. The PoE-enabled VoIP phones allow enterprises to reduce costs associated with the network hardware infrastructure by using a single cable for power and data transmission.

The PoE solutions providers are developing network devices, which can support the changing network demand of enterprise customers. For instance, in May 2019, IP-COM, a leading networking solution provider, introduced eight-port managed Gigabit PoE switch in India. This new product launch helped SMEs in India to reduce complexities and costs associated with the deployment of VoIP phones.

The infotainment segment in PoE solutions market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 15% during the forecast period due to the increase in the demand for enhanced in-vehicle experience. The growing demand for smart vehicles is enabling vehicle manufacturers to develop vehicles with integrated infotainment systems. The existing infotainment system is complex and lacks the bandwidth and packet data capabilities required for network support system updates.

The automotive manufacturers are shifting to PoE-enabled infotainment systems for transforming the in-car experience through the delivery of features such as in-vehicle navigation, audio, video and internet connectivity. The increasing demand for autonomous driving is enabling technology companies to develop PoE-based infotainment systems to match the changing bandwidth and connectivity demands of driverless cars. For instance, in November 2018, Microchip Technology, a leading semiconductor company, introduced Intelligent Network Interface Controller networking (INICnet), an automotive infotainment networking solution for enhancing the in-car experience.

The commercial sector held a significant market share of over 30% in 2018 due to the increase in the adoption of smart and automated systems in commercial buildings. The growing demand for smart workplaces is supporting PoE solutions market growth in office spaces. The PoE solutions improves productivity in office spaces through connected and remotely controlled lighting. PoE infrastructure is a key asset for the implementation of the IoT technology in offices. PoE-enabled lighting improves the quality of the light with smoother intensity, dimming functions, and adjustable lighting color options to provide a comfortable and productive working environment.

Asia Pacific is expected to grow at the highest CAGR of around 20% in the PoE solutions market over the forecast period due to the rising automation across various industries in the region. The governments in India and China are supporting digital transformation initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, Smart City, and ‘Made in China 2025’, to promote the adoption of IoT across various industries. Many Chinese local governments are collaborating with foreign companies to implement smart infrastructure in their cities. In March 2019, China Shanghai Yangpu government collaborated with MXC Foundation to develop its IoT standards for smart cities to improve efficiency and life of citizens.

The companies in the PoE solutions market are focusing on extending their businesses through partnerships with distributors. For instance, in April 2018, Microsemi partnered with Future Electronics, a global leading distributor of electronic components, for distributing its highly-compact single port Gigabit Ethernet. This partnership helped the company in offering innovative capabilities to differentiate OEM end-products including lower power consumption, extended product design life cycle, and enhanced IEEE 1588v2 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) accuracy from a system-level solution for future 5G compliant designs.

The key players operating in the PoE solutions market are Advantech B+B SmartWorx, Analog Devices, Avaya, Belden, Broadcom, Cisco, CommScope, Dell, euromicron, HPE, Huawei, Kinetic Technologies, Maxim Integrated, Microchip, Monolithic Power Systems, NETGEAR, ON Semiconductor, Silicon Laboratories, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments.

The Power over Ethernet (PoE) solutions market research report includes in-depth coverage of the industry with estimates and forecast in terms of revenue in USD from 2014 to 2025.

Global Market Insights | www.gminsights.com

Isolated DC-DC Converters Meet PoE Requirements

Murata Manufacturing has expanded its lineup of isolated DC-DC converters for Power over Ethernet (PoE). The additions to the lineup consist of the following two isolation type DC-DC converter products intended for Powered Devices (PD) and also the following isolation type DC-DC converter product intended for Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE). The MYBSP0055AABFT is 5 V output /5.1 A product for PDs. The MYBSP0122BABFT is a 12 V output /2.1 A product also for PDs. And the MYBSS054R6EBF is a 54 V output/0.6 A device for PSEs.

These products are suitable for biometric authentication devices which are required mainly to occupy minimal space and possess low noise characteristics, an IoT Gateway which is necessary for edge computing, and camera modules. They also contribute to miniaturization of conventional wireless access points, IP telephones, and routers. These products are already being mass produced, and Murata can provide samples upon request.

MYBSP0055AABFT, MYBSP0122BABFT Features:

  • Complies with IEEE 802.3at Class 4
  • Compact, low-profile SMD type: 35.5 x 22.4 x 10.55 mm
  • Operating temperature range: -40 to +85°C
  • Low noise
  • Input/output isolation withstand voltage: 2250 Vdc
  • Adapter-ORing function
  • Type 2 PSE indicator function

MYBSS054R6EBF Features:

  • 30W Boost-up isolation type converter
  • Compact, low-profile SMD type: 35.5 x 22.4 x 8.9 mm
  • Operating temperature range: -40 to +85°C
  • Input/output isolation withstand voltage: 2250 Vdc
  • Supports 12 V and 24 V outputs, and also ACDC adapter inputs

Murata | www.murata.com

 

Raspberry Pi’s PoE HAT Ships for $20, Tosses in a Free Fan

By Eric Brown

Raspberry Pi Trading has launched a $20 Power-over-Ethernet HAT board for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ that delivers up to 15W and ships with a small fan. The Power-over-Ethernet HAT that was promised with the release of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ SBC has arrived. The $20, 802.3af-compliant “Raspberry Pi PoE HAT” allows delivery of up to 15W over the RPi 3 B+’s USB-based GbE port without reducing the port’s up to 300Mbps bandwidth.


 
Raspberry Pi PoE HAT alone (left) and fitted on Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
(click images to enlarge)

We’ve seen an increase in the use of PoE in embedded equipment over the last year, perhaps due to the growth in IoT applications in which embedded gear must be placed in remote locations. It’s cheaper and easier to run Ethernet cable to a remote device than to extend electrical lines.

With the help of the RPi 3 B+’s improved PXE boot function, which enables network booting, “you can now dispense with not only the power supply but also the SD Card, making deployment even cheaper for a Raspberry Pi based system in your factory or workplace,” writes Roger Thornton in the Raspberry Pi blog announcement.

The Raspberry Pi PoE HAT features a fully isolated switched-mode power supply with 37-57V DC, Class 2 input and 5V/2.5A DC output. The HAT connects to both the 40-pin header and a new PoE-specific 4-pin header introduced with the B+ located near the USB ports. To enable PoE, you need power sourcing equipment, which is either “provided by your network switch or with power injectors on an Ethernet cable,” writes Thornton.


 
Raspberry Pi PoE HAT with RPi 3 B+ (left) and close-up of 4-pin header on B+ between the USB ports and the 40-pin GPIO header
(click images to enlarge)

The PoE HAT ships with a 25 x 25mm brushless fan for cooling the Broadcom SoC. This does not appear to be due to any additional heat generated by PoE. Instead: “We see the product as a useful component for people building systems that may be in tougher environments,” writes Thornton.

The fan is connected via I2C and controlled with an Atmel MCU chip. This setup turns on the fan automatically when the SBC hits a certain temperature threshold, a trick that requires the latest sudo rpi-update firmware.

You can add another HAT board on top of the fan with the help of some pass-through headers for the 40-pin GPIO and the 4-way header to expose the pins on the other side of the PoE HAT. Raspberry Pi Trading recommends the 2×20 pin header from Pimoroni and 4-way risers from RS and element14.

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ won LinuxGizmos’ reader survey of 116 Linux/Android hacker boards. The community-backed SBC builds upon the RPi 3 Model B design with a faster, up to 1.4GHz quad-core Broadcom SoC, as well as faster Ethernet (GbE). You also get various power management improvements and faster dual-band 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2, which comes in a pre-certified, shielded module.

Further information

The Raspberry Pi PoE HAT is available now for $20 at a variety of resellers. The blog announcement may be found here. The product page with links to resellers is here.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on August 25.

Raspberry Pi Foundation | www.raspberrypi.org

10-Gb LAN with Power Over Ethernet

Würth Elektronik has expanded its portfolio of Ethernet modules with LAN transformers for speeds of up to 10 Gbps. The new transformers support Power over Ethernet (PoE) up to 100 W and currents up to 1 A per channel. Wurth 749053010

WE-LAN 10G has a bandwidth of up to 500 MHz and thus conforms to the IEEE Standard 802.3 with a bandwidth 3.5× larger than comparable gigabit Ethernet products. Thus, the transformers are well suited for applications involving large data volumes or requiring a swift transmission of data (e.g., the transmission of HD video data). In addition, the extended temperature range makes the modules a good option for industrial applications.

Free samples are available on request.

Source: Würth Elektronik

Power Over Ethernet Solutions

Powering devices over Ethernet cabling seems easy, but there’s more to it
than meets the eye. In this article, Eddie Insam explains how it all works.

So you’ve designed a brand new Ethernet-based device. Perhaps it’s a clock, a weather sensor, or an industrial controller device. You plan to hang it proudly on your wall and connect it to a RJ-45 wall socket. But how are you going to power it? Where will the system get its juice? Surely, you aren’t going to disgrace your design with a brick wart. There must be a better way!

Why not feed power over the CAT-5 cable? Well, you’re not the first person to consider this technique.

The D-Link DWL-P50 is a ready-togo module. Ethernet in, Ethernet out, and a choice between 12- and 5-VDC outputs.

Photo 1: The D-Link DWL-P50 is a ready-togo module. Ethernet in, Ethernet out, and a choice between 12- and 5-VDC outputs.

Standard CAT-5 cable has four pairs, and only two are used for data in a typical 10- or 100-Mbps installation (see Figure 1a). So, it sounds obvious to stick a few DC volts down the spare pairs. Oh, yes. But hang on, life is never so simple. This is technology, remember? There has to be a catch somewhere. So, sit down and relax, I have the story.

Standard 10- and 100-Mbps Ethernet devices use just two of the four available pairs. The spare wires can be used to transmit power to the remote. Two possible methods are shown (b and c). But watch out! The power source must be smart enough to detect shorts and overloads and to avoid damaging components at the far end.

Figure 1: Standard 10- and 100-Mbps Ethernet devices use just two of the four available pairs. The spare wires can be used to transmit power to the remote. Two possible methods are shown (b and c). But watch out! The power source must be smart enough to detect shorts and overloads and to avoid damaging components at the far end.

It may not come as a surprise that the wise men at the IEEE thought about this for a while and came up with a standard (IEEE 802.3af). This standard has been around since 1999, but progress has been relatively slow. It started to take off only recently, mainly because of the availability of inexpensive specialist components. Tom Cantrell and Jeff Bachiochi have covered some of the available components and modules (Circuit Cellar 165 and 187). A wide range of parts are now available, including dedicated switching transistors, isolation transformers, and high-quality nonsaturating magnetics, making power over Ethernet (PoE) a practical proposition.

TECHNICALITIES
The IEEE document covers two main methods for sending power down the CAT-5 wire. One involves using the spare pairs. The other involves sharing with the existing data lines using center-tapped transformers (see Figures 1b and 1c). The latter method is beneficial when spare cable capacity isn’t available.

The method involving spare pins allows a decent amount of current to be drawn because the two spare pairs are paralleled together to increase capacity by reducing the total DC resistance. The present IEEE specifications allow up to 13 W of power to be transferred this way. This may not be enough for some heavy-duty devices, but it’s quite acceptable for medium-size and small items such as TV cameras and VoIP phones. An updated PoePlus standard is currently being considered. This will allow for up to 30-W capacity, while still remaining backwards compatible.

Transmitting power with center-tapped transformers is more limited. Pulse transformers and other magnetics in the Ethernet controller must be designed to take the full DC power load current without saturating. That isn’t an easy task for miniature surface-mounted components. The advantage of this alternative is that it leaves the extra pairs alone, an essential consideration in higher-speed gigabit Ethernet, which requires all four pairs to carry data.

POWER SUPPLY
Why can’t you just stick any old power supply across the spare wires? Because you don’t know what’s at the remote end, and you may run the risk of blowing up sensitive equipment. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Figure 2, which is a typical Ethernet terminator. This kind of circuitry is sometimes contained within a single metal enclosure called a MagJack.

This is a typical Ethernet termination. The resistors strapped to the spare data pins and center taps are there to balance the line and to reduce noise. They can quickly flash to smithereens in true Harry Potter style if any unmanaged DC power is placed on the cable.

Figure 2: This is a typical Ethernet termination. The resistors strapped to the spare data pins and center taps are there to balance the line and to reduce noise. They can quickly flash to smithereens in true Harry Potter style if any unmanaged DC power is placed on the cable.

Note the two 50-W resistors R3 and R4 across the center taps of transformers T3 and T4. They are branched in series to form an effective 150-W DC load across the input lines. Also note the two 50-W resistors R1 and R2 right across pins 7 and 8 and 4 and 5. These present a controlled impedance load to the otherwise non-terminated wires. They are there for robustness and noise reduction. This hookup is sometimes known as a Bob Smith termination.

If you connect a 48-VDC raw supply into such a socket, you will be driving a good third of an amp through these tiny resistors. This is guaranteed to vaporize them to kingdom come. Tiny SMD resistors are not built for such treatment.

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