GLL guy1656 at ados.com
Tue Mar 29 22:44:35 PST 2005


German electronics company Kleinhenz is shipping a network-enabled Linux 
system barely larger than a standard RJ-45 Ethernet jack. "Picotux" is based 
on the DigiConnect ME module from NetSilicon, along with a 2.4.27 uClinux 
port that was probably developed by German embedded system specialist FS 
Forth Systeme.

NetSilicon's DigiConnect ME measures 0.75 x 0.75 x 1.4 inches (19 x 19 x 
36mm), and weighs 0.64 ounces (18 grams), packaged in a metal housing only 
slightly larger than a standard RJ-45 module.

The DigiConnect ME is based on a NetSilicon NS7520 SoC (system-on-chip), which 
features a 32-bit ARM7TDMI core supporting clock rates of 36, 46, or 55MHz. 
Kleinhenz lists 55MHz as the clockspeed for Picotux. The NS7520 integrates a 
10/100 Ethernet MII and ENDEC MAC, as well as a serial port, external memory 
controller, JTAG, and 13-channel DMA.

The DigiConnect ME has a 20-pin male connector supporting a serial interface 
with data rates up to 230,400bps, full modem control, and GPIO ports, 
NetSilicon says. The tiny system also includes link status and activity LEDs. 
A developers version adds a JTAG connector.

The DigiConnect ME is available with 2MB or 4MB of Flash, and Kleinhenz lists 
2MB of Flash for the Picotux product, along with 8MB of RAM. The device 
requires 3.3V of DC power, and draws 250mA. Operating temperature range runs 
from -40 to 85 degrees Celsius.

NetSilicon offers a generously-sized development board for the DigiConnect ME. 
Kleinhenz, however, bundles a small application board with Picotux (pictured 
at left). The board offers a serial port and five pins for GPIO.

NetSilicon also offers a DigiConnect ME-WI model (pictured at right), which 
supports wireless 802.11b networking and includes an RP-SMA antenna port in 
place of the RJ-45 port. The ME-WI measures 0.75 x 0.75 x 1.85 inches (18 x 
18 x 46mm), not including the antenna port, and is available from NetSilicon 
in both standard and developer (with JTAG interface) models. A version of 
Picotux based on the ME-WI is not yet available, however.

According to Kleinhenz, Picotux is based on a 2.4.27 uClinux kernel, and 
includes a shell based on busybox 1.0.

NetSilicon has previously partnered with German embedded software specialist 
FS Forth Systeme on uClinux development kits for embedded modules based on 
the NS7520 processor. And, Forth Systeme says it is currently working on 
Linux ports for several of NetSilicon's "Digi" products, including the 
DigiConnect ME. Thus, Kleinhenz may have based Picotux on Forth Systeme's 
"LxNETES" uClinux port for the NS7520. The companies did not immediately 
confirm this to be the case, however.

Picotux is available now, priced at 99 Euros, from Kleinhenz.

Additional details about Picotux are available from Kleinhenz. Details on the 
DigiConnect ME, including an extensive hardware PDF manual, are available 
from NetSilicon. Details about Forth Systeme's LxNETES and Linux ports can be 
found here.

Lantronix also offers a webserver built into an RJ-45, although that device is 
not based on Linux.

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