PLX tool Simplifies PCI-over-USB Driver Development -

PLX tool Simplifies PCI-over-USB Driver Development

To simplify extension of conventional PCI adapter designs into USB devices, PLX Technologies Inc. has just introduced its Remote PCI (RPCI) development tool.

When combined with the recently introduced NET2282 PCI-to-USB bridge chip, Ryan Augustin, USB software manager at PLX, the tool simplifies the process ofextending conventional PCI adapter designs into USB devices.

The remote driver tool is designed for Windows XP and 2000 derived environments and provides a simple interface to fast conversions of PCI drivers that does not required USB-specific protocol or programming expertise, he said.

By plugging an existing PCI adapter board into PLX's NET2282 stand-alone rapiddevelopment kit (RDK) board and using the RPCI driver, developers can instantly start translating their PCI drivers for use in USB devices.

“The tool encapsulates the entire USB subsystem, including USB enumeration and hot Plug-and-Play, allowing driver developers to focus purely on PCI,” said Augustin. “RPCI abstracts I/O, DMA and interrupt functions to be nearly identical to Microsoft's standard hardware abstraction layer (HAL).”Driver development has been a tremendous source of frustration when a design calls for adding USB to PCI-based boards. Developers have had to learn and thoroughly understand USB just to add the interface to an existing PCI design.”

The RPCI tool is included as part of the NET2282 RDK, which comes with a board containing a PCI slot for plugging PCI boards into the RDK board. Peripheral-side firmware is included to easily configure the NET2282 to emulate a standard USB-class device (such as a printer or video device) for which no USB host drivers need to be written.

For custom applications, said Augustin, firmware APIs are provided to abstract the USB transactions to reads and writes. While this device-side firmware is available for various operating systems, it is written in standard C language, with portability in mind. A porting guide is included with the RDK.

The RPCI development tool is sampling now and in May will be included at no extra charge in the NET2282 RDK. The NET2282 controller chip ($7.80 in 10K annual quantities) and the NET2282 RDK ($695) are available now.

PLX Technology, Inc.
Sunnyvale, Ca.

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