EtherCAT Real-Time Protocol IP Support Now Available on Altera's Low-Cost Cyclone III FPGAs

Popular Industrial Communications Protocol Brings Enhanced Design Flexibility to Factory Automation Systems

SAN JOSE, Calif., July 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Giving industrial equipment designers greater flexibility in implementing real-time Ethernet communications, Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) today announced intellectual property (IP) support for the EtherCAT protocol from the EtherCAT Technology Group. Previously qualified on Cyclone(R) II devices, the IP now targets Altera's new low-cost, low-power Cyclone III FPGAs.

"In the extremely competitive factory automation equipment market, companies are looking to incorporate new functions and features quickly to differentiate their products," said Martin Rostan, executive director for the EtherCAT Technology Group. "With EtherCAT support on Cyclone III FPGAs, designers can easily add real-time Ethernet capabilities in a cost-effective manner."

EtherCAT is the performance leader among real-time industrial Ethernet protocols. The protocol can update data from over 1,000 distributed I/O nodes in 30 microseconds over low-cost twisted pair.

"The addition of EtherCAT on our low-cost Cyclone III devices is the latest example of Altera's commitment to constantly deliver more value to our customers and improve their overall productivity," said Michael Samuelian, director of Altera's industrial business unit.

EtherCAT Seminar at Altera

Following SEMICON West, Altera and the EtherCAT Technology Group will host a free, half-day seminar at the Altera San Jose campus from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Friday, July 20. Attendees will learn about topology flexibility, cost advantages, applications, slave implementation using Altera's low-cost Cyclone FPGAs, and more. Registration is required. For more information, go to

To support Cyclone III FPGA-based industrial designs, EtherCAT Technology Group members are also offering development kits. The Cyclone III development kit by member company Beckhoff consists of a slave device evaluation board with an EtherCAT slave controller, the slave protocol stack in source code, reference hardware design information, an evaluation license for EtherCAT master, manuals and cables. For more information, go to

Price and Availability

Industrial Ethernet solutions using Altera(R) Cyclone series FPGAs are immediately available and are priced as low as $12.50 in 1,000 unit quantities. For more information, go to

About EtherCAT Technology Group

The EtherCAT Technology Group is an international user and vendor organization in which key user companies from various industries and leading automation suppliers join forces to support, promote and advance the EtherCAT technology. The organization was founded in 2003.

About Altera

Altera programmable solutions enable system and semiconductor companies to rapidly and cost effectively innovate, differentiate and win in their markets. Find out more at

Altera, The Programmable Solutions Company, the stylized Altera logo, specific device designations and all other words that are identified as trademarks and/or service marks are, unless noted otherwise, the trademarks and service marks of Altera Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. All other product or service names are the property of their respective holders.

    Editor Contact:
    Mark Plungy
    Altera Corporation
    (408) 544-6397
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