|Company||NetSilicon||ZF Micro Devices Inc.|
|Processor||32-bit ARM7TDMI||32-bit x86|
|Peripherals||Ethernet, serial, GPIO serial, parallel, 10-channel DMA||GPIO, IDE, USB, floppy disk, serial, parallel, IrDA, PS/2, I2C|
|RTOS||NET+OS (ThreadX), uClinux, Wind River's VxWorks, Accelerated Technology's Nucleus||LynuxWorks' BlueCat Linux, Red Hat Linux, Wind River's VxWorks, Microsoft's Windows CE|
|Tools||GNU, Green Hills' Multi 2000 IDE, Accelerated Technology's code/lab, Wind River's Tornado, Esmertec Jbed||GNU, Wind River's Tornado, Microsoft's Platform Builder and Visual Studio|
|Services||Network protocols, NET+Services||Phoenix PC BIOS|
|Miscellaneous||NET+DB development board||FailSafe Boot ROM, Z-Tag|
NetSilicon was one of the first companies to deliver an off-the-shelf, system-on-a-chip (SoC) with a bundled operating system and tools. Called the NET+ARM, the SoC targets embedded network applications. It's based on the 32-bit ARM7 architecture with 8 kbytes of cache and incorporates a 10/100 Ethernet MAC. The development board contains the Ethernet transceiver.
NetSilicon provides four different real-time operating systems (RTOSs). NET+OS 4 is the primary RTOS. It's based on Express Logic's ThreadX v4 RTOS. The development tools for NET+OS are part of Green Hills' Multi 2000 IDE. NET+OS 4 includes the Fusion 5.0 TCP/IP stack and support for SNMP v3, LDAP, and Active Directory. A new XML Parser provides the basis for protocols like SOAP. The optional NET+Services includes mail, FTP, and Web servers.
The other RTOSs for NET+ARM include uClinux, VxWorks, and Nucleus. GNU tools are used with uClinux while Wind River's Tornado is used with VxWorks. Accelerated Technology's code/lab development environment works with Nucleus. Each RTOS comes with its own set of drivers and services for NET+ARM. All have been tested with the NET+ARM and have comparable services to NET+Services.
The PC x86 architecture is a popular base for SoC products like ZF Micro Devices' ZFx86 family. This family provides a PC-compatible platform, easing cross development. But setting up an RTOS isn't easy, especially when taking advantage of the ZFx86's FailSafe Boot ROM and Z-Tag configuration support.
ZF Micro comes with support for LynuxWorks' BlueCat Linux, Red Hat's Linux, Wind River's VxWorks, and Microsoft's Windows CE. The latter two are royalty-based when a product is delivered. ZF Micro is RTOS-agnostic, providing similar configuration support for each RTOS. This includes drivers for the built-in PC-compatible hardware such as the IDE, USB, parallel, and serial ports.
A typical ZFx86 system can often provide host-based development. But most developers will utilize a cross-platform development approach because most PCs have significantly more power and disk space than a typical embedded system. Still, having the ability to use the same OS on the embedded system is handy. Versions of the ZFx86 are available with minimal on-chip peripherals and specialized peripherals like the ZFx86-TV, which has video support.