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Connect One’s new secure internet solution uses Microchip Technology’s PIC24

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Connect One has announced a reference design and a corresponding evaluation board that bring together the 16-bit microcontroller (MCU) for application control and the CO2128 iChip for secure, reliable TCP/IP connectivity to LAN and GPRS networks.

The marriage of Microchip Technology’s PIC24 and Connect One’s secure iChip offers an attractive option to system architects needing to develop and manage an open and flexible internet-enabled application.

Using the evaluation board, developers can quickly and easily develop an IP-enabled embedded system where the application resides on the PIC24 MCU and the networking and security are provided by the CO2128 iChip.

Working together, the Microchip Technology and Connect One chips offer a significant value proposition for developers:

  • Dual-core internet secure architecture where all connectivity features are isolated from the application, providing a natural firewall
  • Microchip Technology’s flexible MPLAB integrated development environment, based on the most established MCU architecture, along with Connect One’s black-box solution where the application requests connectivity and security services from the iChip via the AT+i command set
  • Production-ready IP networking and networking applications
  • Flexible, low-cost, and PHY independent bill of material (BOM)

In this system, the iChip connects to the PIC24 serial port and its intuitive, ASCII-based AT+i commands enable programmers to connect to IP networks and leverage iChip’s Internet Protocol features including HTTP (client and server), HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, SMTP, POP3, SSL, and routing capabilities. A detailed reference design for the combined solution facilitates the integration of specific M2M systems.

“It’s exciting to offer our customers this dual-core, secure architecture, where the application runs on the PIC24’s low-power, low-cost microcontroller, and the networking functionality is implemented on the iChip,” said Amir Friedman, Connect One’s CEO.

“This unique combination protects the application microcontroller from network attacks and intruders and provides system developers with an out-of–the-box, secure system featuring proven, production-ready networking.”

Due to the AT+i command set, developers can add connectivity and security features to their applications in less than one engineering man-month of work. Given the cost-sensitive nature of markets such as factory automation, sensor, medical, home appliances, HVAC, retail automation, gaming, telematics, and metering, the PIC24/iChip integrated solution offers a flexible, full-featured solution.
For existing PIC24-based embedded systems, the solution can be used as a reference design to add a robust suite of IP networking, networking applications and security by simply adding the iChip.

This innovative, easy-to-use reference design includes Microchip’s PIC24FJ64GA006 microcontroller and Connect One’s latest iChip, the CO2128. This PIC24F MCU provides application developers with RS-232/RS-485 serial connections, one serial peripheral interface, eight general-purpose I/O pins, an analogue-to-digital converter, and 64 KB Flash and 8 KB RAM memory.

With simple integration of an MII or RMII PHY, a 10/100 BaseT Ethernet link can be created. A UART connection allows users to operate at a baud rate of up to 1 Mbps between the PIC24 and the iChip.

CO2128 overcomes time and complexity barriers of implementing secure end-to-end IP communications. Designers do not need to significantly reprogram applications since Connect One’s iChipSec CO2128 uses the AT+i API to offload WiFi drivers & security tasks, SSL security and networking protocols from the host application.

iChipSec CO2128 also acts as a firewall-in-a-chip, protecting the application from networks attacks. CO2128 supports LAN, WiFi and all types of dial-up/wireless modems (AMPS, CDMA, CDMA2000, CDPD, GPRS, GSM, IDEN, and TDMA cellular protocols). CO2128 includes a fully secure TCP/IP stack, plus upper layer protocols like SMTP, POP3, MIME, HTTP, WAP, FTP and TELNET. It includes an integrated Web server for easy application management.

With CO2128, developers can take advantage of 10 simultaneous TCP/UDP sockets; two listening sockets; SMTP, MIME, POP3, FTP, Telnet, and HTTP/HTTPs clients; a Web server with a website for the application and one for configuring iChipSec CO2128; and SerialNet mode for serial-to-IP bridging. Secure Socket iWiFi supports 64-/128-bit WEP encryption, WPA1 and WPA2 WiFi encryption, AES-128/256, SHA-128/192/256, 3DES; the SSL3/TLS1 protocol for a secure client socket session and a secure FTP session.

The CO2128 operates at an industrial temperature range of -40° to 85° C (-40° to 185° F) and is RoHS-compliant. IIEVB-PIC-2128-110/220 evaluation board is available today from Connect One.

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