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Design West: Express Logic’s NetX Duo achieves near-wire speed on STM32 platform

Toni McConnel

March 27, 2012

Toni McConnelMarch 27, 2012

Design West, ESC Summit, San Jose, CA, March 27, 2012 — Express Logic, Inc.'s NetX Duo TCP/IP stack has achieved 93–95 Mbps, a near-wire speed, on STM32F207 and STM32F217, STMicroelectronics’ ARM Cortex-M3 processors. NetX Duo ships with over 12 application protocols, including DHCP, FTP, and many others. NetX Duo is designed for the small footprint, high-performance connectivity needs of consumer, medical and industrial devices.

To achieve these speeds, NetX takes advantage of a 100-Mbps Ethernet port that the STM32F207 and STM32F217 provide for very high-speed transfers. Generally, TCP/IP stacks are significantly less than 100% efficient, resulting in performance well below wire speed. Developers then have to choose a more powerful processor or exhaust a lower power unit to achieve maximum network performance. In contrast, NetX Duo not only achieves 93–95% of wire speed on the STM32 processor, but does so using only 21–34% of the processor’s CPU cycles.

Such performance is achieved using the STM32F2xx ART Accelerator and the dedicated Ethernet MAC DMA connected to the 7-layer multi AHB bus matrix. This frugal use of CPU cycles frees up the Cortex-M3-based processor for many other product functions that can run simultaneously without slowing network performance. Because of this, the inexpensive STM32F2xx processor can deliver maximum processing and connectivity, dropping design costs.


Click on image to enlarge.

Combined with the NetX Duo software solution, the STM32 F2 Series demonstrates outstanding performance while maintaining free CPU and system bandwidth for customers to put more value in their applications. Customers looking for even more performance have a pin-to-pin and software-compatible upgrade path with the STM32 F4 Series, the world’s highest performance ARM Cortex-M MCU.

Express Logic’s IPsec for NetX Duo further speeds secure connectivity. IPsec automatically takes advantage of STM32F217’s hardware crypto acceleration to offload the extensive calculations involved in 3DES or AES encryption. With SHA-1 and MD5 authentication primarily performed by STM32F217’s hardware, developers can implement secure functionality without sacrificing application performance.

NetX Duo performance was measured using iperf, the open-source benchmark tool that has become the industry standard for measuring network throughput. For benchmarking, iperf runs on a Windows host connected to an STMicroelectronics STM3221G-EVAL target board via the Ethernet. The iperf TCP and UDP results were served by NetX Duo as a Web page and displayed by Microsoft Internet Explorer on the host.

Availability

NetX Duo is available in full source code form, royalty free, with project licenses starting at $18,750.

For more information visit Design West Booth: 1515, the Web site at www.expresslogic.com, call 1-888-THREADX, or e-mail inquires to info@expresslogic.com.

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