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Author Topic: UEXT Modules for A64-OLinuXino  (Read 381 times)

gops

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UEXT Modules for A64-OLinuXino
« on: May 07, 2019, 04:58:34 AM »
I have few questions before placing order.

I would like to buy  A64-OLinuXino IND versions, it has one Ethernet. We would to explore additional ethernet, we came across USB to Ethernet options, also we found that  A64-OLinuXino IND has UEXT support, can help to add UEXT Modules.

Now our question is, if we want to add additional ethernet to  A64-OLinuXino IND version, is MOD-ENC624J600 UEXT Module a good option? https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/Ethernet/MOD-ENC624J600/ 

Does Olimex provide drivers for MOD-ENC624J600 UEXT Module so that it can act as second Ethernet port, so we can have primary and secondary Ethernet on the same board.

Also one concern is,  MOD-ENC624J600 is industrial supported or not, even though we don't look for Industrial temperature, 0-70 Deg C is good for us.


Thanks.


LubOlimex

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Re: UEXT Modules for A64-OLinuXino
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2019, 02:12:49 PM »
Our boards work fine in that temperature range from 0 to 70 degrees Celsius. It is fine. Industrial ones have extended rage from -40 to +85 (unless specified otherwise).

One big concern in using MOD-ENC624J600 would be the software support - it might be hard to get it working. Worth checking if somebody used the same ENC624J600 chip under Linux, maybe there is some experience.

You can consider using USB-Ethernet adapters which might simplify the software. I've used this one successfully a number of times: https://www.olimex.com/Products/USB-Modules/USB-ETHERNET-AX88772B/
Technical support and documentation manager at Olimex

gops

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Re: UEXT Modules for A64-OLinuXino
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2019, 03:09:00 PM »
"""One big concern in using MOD-ENC624J600 would be the software support - it might be hard to get it working. Worth checking if somebody used the same ENC624J600 chip under Linux, maybe there is some experience.
"""

I am curious, if you don't support Linux with MOD-ENC624J600 for your own hardware, how customer buy and use the hardware, is it like customer would write the drivers for Linux? USB is good option, but it can be easily unpluggable, not good for industrial environment.  We are really struggling to find industrial boards with  2 Ethernet.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 08:33:46 PM by gops »

LubOlimex

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Re: UEXT Modules for A64-OLinuXino
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2019, 02:03:58 PM »
Quote
I am curious, if you don't support Linux with MOD-ENC624J600 for your own hardware, how customer buy and use the hardware, is it like customer would write the drivers for Linux?

Yes, exactly. That is why I warned you. About why we don't provide Linux example - in this specific case the MOD board was released a lot of years prior to the A20 board and while MOD-ENC624J600 is a cool board we never believed it would be used to add extra Ethernet to an A20 boards. It is more suitable for PIC or PIC32 boards. On the other hand simply said we have around 1000 products and it is hard to guarantee or provide support for all possible combinations of our products. This means (1000*1000)/2 = 500 000 combinations. Obviously we provide some starting point examples but it is impossible to provide full software support for any idea a customer might have. There are companies that specialize in software support and might write demo examples for any hardware for a fee.
Technical support and documentation manager at Olimex

Morgaine

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Re: UEXT Modules for A64-OLinuXino
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2019, 02:55:54 PM »
The whole point of Olimex defining its own UEXT standard socket and producing a large selection of host boards and plug-in modules to that standard is to create an ecosystem, in which UEXT hosts are purchased because UEXT modules are available to fit them, and UEXT modules are purchased because UEXT hosts are available to use them.  It is a combinatorial benefit to the company and to customers alike.

It is entirely reasonable for customers to assume that when Olimex designs a host board with a UEXT socket then it is going to work with many of your UEXT modules (not necessarily all).  That's the whole point of creating such a modular ecosystem, and you know it:  that's why you list UEXT as a feature for your host boards.  Customers definitely appreciate such plug-in modularity of functions, which is what makes it a feature worth listing.

Having created such a plug-in ecosystem, you can't then wash your hands entirely from the issue of compatibility and imply that "it's your problem".  That's not reasonable, and it's not fair to your customers.  No, it's very much your problem, because you are the financial beneficiaries of the plug-in ecosystem that you created, and customers' expectations of plug-in interoperability are completely valid and reasonable.

This doesn't mean that all combinations will work of course, nor that you have tested all possible combinations yourselves, but it does mean that you support customers' expectations of UEXT interoperability because that is the purpose of you providing UEXT interconnect in the first place.

Perhaps the simplest way of showing support for your own standard would be to track UEXT interoperability:  create a compatibility matrix on your wiki, say with hosts listed across the top and modules listed down the page.  Fill in the boxes for those combinations which you have tried yourselves with a symbol denoting "Olimex Tested", as well as tentative "Should Work" and "Not Yet Working" markings where you can make a reasonable guess of the current level of interoperability.  If it's on the wiki, customers could provide updates to the matrix as well, cross-linked to details of their success or failure given on the forum.  Perhaps trainees could help you in the task of testing combinations for the interoperability matrix.

Finally, the original poster was asking about using UEXT for Ethernet connectivity, an extremely common and important use of plug-ins since most of your UEXT host boards do not possess their own network interfaces.  While that specific MOD-ENC624J600 may not work with A64-OLinuXino, in this Internet age the onus is upon you to provide at least one Ethernet UEXT module which you have tested to work for each range of boards which provide a UEXT host socket, and an RF module too if possible.  Where there are empty boxes in the matrix for some UEXT host boards, a tested UART-connected Ethernet interface can be recommended if the SoC has no built-in MAC.

UEXT is great, and it may even be one of your crown jewels, but it ceases to be great if host-module interoperation is a complete unknown because it is not listed anywhere, and is given no support.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 04:59:32 PM by Morgaine »

Morgaine

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Re: UEXT Modules for A64-OLinuXino
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2019, 04:05:15 PM »
A little more encouragement for documenting UEXT host-module interoperability for everyone's benefit :-

Whenever Olimex engineers develop a new UEXT module, they already test it against one or more UEXT hosts, so every module already has one or more boxes in the interoperability matrix ready to be marked as "Olimex Tested".

What's more, every UEXT host board that employs the same SoC as a host that was used for module testing will automatically merit a "Should Work" entry, even if that was not verified by yourselves at the time of module development.

There are a limited number of architectures and SoCs used by the company.  The interoperability matrix is likely to fill out faster than you may think! :-)