POWERLINK MN and CN Protocol Software

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POWERLINK MN and CN Protocol Software

Software package for the development of 
managing nodes (MN) and controlled nodes (CN)


  • Scope of functions based on the current POWERLINK DS 1.1.0 specification
  • Operation speed optimized, modular software structure
  • Allows for simple and rapid development of POWERLINK devices (managing nodes and controlled nodes)
  • Comprehensive configuration and scaling possibilities
  • Clearly structured programming interface for connection of the application program
  • "C" source code can be used with any target system
  • Capable of operating either with or without operating system
  • Adaptable to various Ethernet controller architectures and hardware architectures (e.g. 1-CPU, 2-CPU) via internal interfaces
  • Dynamic modification of the Object Dictionary during operation
  • Multi-channel capability
  • Configuration manager for automatic network configuration
  • Certified component as used in the Evaluation Kit for the IEM/POWERLINK and other OEM products

ETHERNET Powerlink MN/CN Protocol Software - Module Overview

Overview of functions

The POWERLINK protocol software contains all necessary functions to implement managing (MN) and controlled nodes (CN) in accordance with the POWERLINK specification. A UDP/IP stack that is required to run the SDO protocol via UDP can be supplied as an extra option. Integration of a UDP/IP stack by the user is greatly simplified by the internal interfaces of the POWERLINK protocol software.

Encapsulation of hard real-time tasks and
hardware specific adaptation

The lower layers of the POWERLINK software are specifically designed to guarantee fast response times of real-time events on the POWERLINK bus as well as the efficient processing of the POWERLINK cycle on the MN. Therefore, the access to and the handling of the Ethernet controller is encapsulated within a separate module, the lower layer driver (LLD). For an adaptation of the POWERLINK software to a specific CPU or hardware platform, this module needs to be modified. This abstraction between hardware-dependant routines and the higher layers of the POWERLINK software makes it possible to provide a high degree of scalability and adaptability. A configuration tool delivered with the software allows optimum adaptation of the POWERLINK functionality provided by the protocol stack to the given application which guarantees an extremely resource-efficient implementation. Compared with the CN version, the MN/CN version allows to switch the MN/CN functions during runtime. MN specific functions and objects are not available in the CN only version which saves system resoures.

Object dictionary and programming interface
The object dictionary is the interface between application and communication. Each object dictionary entry can be directly allocated a reference to a variable with application data. PDOs and SDOs access these application variables directly. Therefore, no modifications to an existing CANopen application are necessary to integrate the POWERLINK protocol software for example.
User-specific call-back functions can be linked to every application object and enable an event-controlled notification of the application in the event of accesses to these objects. This mechanism allows a direct, application-specific reaction on modifications to the application data caused on the bus side. In addition, saving and recovery of configured data is also supported. The application is also able to build or modify parts of the Object Dictionary during operation.

Process (PDO) and Service Data Objects (SDO)
The POWERLINK protocol software supports both dynamic and static PDO-mapping and allows a true producer / consumer communication.
In addition to PDO communication, the SDO protocol necessary for configuration and diagnostics is also implemented in the POWERLINK protocol software. It allows safe transmission of non-real-time-critical data. The SDO protocol can be run via UDP/IP or via ASend (POWERLINK frames).

Multi-channel support
The POWERLINK protocol software enables the implementation of several independent POWERLINK interfaces in one device. Managing node or controlled nodes can be configured independently as well as with independent object dictionaries in each case. In this way, gateways can be developed that are connected to a higher order POWERLINK network with one POWERLINK channel as a CN and control a POWERLINK sub-network as a MN with the second POWERLINK channel.

Network management
One important task of the MN is network management, which includes start-up and monitoring of the network nodes. The MN capable version of the protocol software supports the complete boot-up procedure for mandatory and optional CNs as defined in the POWERLINK DS 1.1.0 specification.
Software updates of CNs by the managing node are also supported.
The POWERLINK protocol software includes the configuration manager which allows for device configurations to be checked and updated during the boot-up process. With the aid of the configuration manager it is easy to replace defective devices while a network is in operation without interaction of the application. In this case no manual configuration of the replacement device is required before installation by the service technician.

Redundant MN
Optionally redundant MNs according to EPSG WDP 302-A V 1.0.4 can be implemented based on the POWERLINK MN/CN protocol software. Redundant MNs are typically used in applications where a high availability of the systems is required. If the active MN fails, the next redundant MN takes the role of the active MN and provides seamless communication among all POWERLINK nodes.

Operating system support
The POWERLINK stack can be used with or without an operating system. The software has an internal scheduler which insures the optimal allocation of the available process time resources. By using an operating system, the POWERLINK stack is executed as one task. Only basic operating system functions like semaphores and tasks are required. These functions are encapsulated by an abstraction layer (GOE - Generic Operating Environment) and can be easily adapted to the operating system.

Reference platform
The provided "C" source code can be used on any target system. Besides the generic version, the delivered software package includes a reference implementation, which work on Freescale Coldfire 523x and Altera NIOS II based systems without the need of additional adaptation. Evaluation boards with wiring diagrams (reference schematics) are also available.

Contents of delivery


  • "C" source code
  • Reference implementation for Coldfire 523x and NIOS II
  • Software license
  • Manual
  • Technical support

Supplementary Services

  • Service Contract
    In addition to the software package IXXAT offers a software service contract. During the term of the contract, IXXAT provides the following services:
    - Free updates and bug fixing
    - Technical support via telephone including answering
    questions regarding general POWERLINK issues.
  • Code Introduction
    IXXAT offers comprehensive one- or two-day detailed introductions to the code. Interfaces, sequences and data flows within the POWERLINK software are explained. Questions are also answered concerning the adaptation to be carried out, and adaptations to the code can be made.
  • Technical support
    Support in the specification of the POWERLINK device or system to be implemented. Here the customer benefits from our comprehensive POWERLINK applied expertise, allowing errors to be avoided and better solutions to be developed within a shorter period of time.
  • Implementation support
    IXXAT handles adaptation, implementation and testing of the Powerlink protocol software for your hardware or application.
  • Seminars
    IXXAT offers a seminar on POWERLINK. The seminar can also be held in-house on request.