Nios II Networking Solutions

Looking to create a network-connected device? Altera recommends the networking solutions shown in Table 1 for use with the Nios® II processor.

Table 1. Summary of Recommended Networking Solutions for the Nios II Processor

Network Layer Solution/Product Description
Network protocol software NicheStack TCP/IP Network Stack - Nios II Edition Source ships with the Nios II Embedded Design Suite (EDS), including several reference designs. See below for more information.
Nucleus Net Network stack for the Nucleus RTOS from Mentor Graphics®.
NetX Network stack for the ThreadX RTOS available from Express Logic.
MicroC/TCP-IP Network stack for the Micro/C OS-II RTOS available from Micrium.
µCLinux (built-in stack) Community supported by the Altera Forum and Altera Wiki.
eCos (built-in stack) Community supported by the Altera Forum and Altera Wiki.
Lightweight IP (LWIP) network stack Legacy network stack solution (not recommended for new designs).
Media access controller (MAC) Altera® Triple-Speed Ethernet MegaCore Function 10/100/1000-Mbps Ethernet MegaCore® function available through Altera.
SMSC LAN91C111—single-chip MAC/PHY Featured solution in Nios II development kits. Includes several reference designs.
Open source 10/100 Ethernet MAC 10/100 Ethernet Development Package available from Microtronix. Also available from OpenCores.org.
Other partner Ethernet IP Altera provides a range of Ethernet functions to provide a simple and flexible solution for networking needs.
Ethernet PHY 10/100 Ethernet PHY Daughtercard with National Semiconductor PHY Compatible with Nios II development kits. This board contains the National Semiconductor DP83848 10/100 Ethernet PHY and the Santa Cruz headers available from MoreThanIP.
10/100/1000 Ethernet PHY Daughter Board with Marvell Compatible with Nios II development kits. This board contains the Marvell 88E111 10/100/1000 Ethernet PHY.
10/100/1000 Ethernet PHY Module with National PHY Compatible with Nios II development kits. This board contains the National Semiconductor DP83865 GigPHYTEr and the Santa Cruz headers available from Devboards.de.

NicheStack TCP/IP Network Stack - Nios II Edition

NicheStack TCP/IP Network Stack - Nios II Edition is a software suite of networking protocols designed from the ground up to provide an optimal solution for designing network-connected embedded devices with the Nios II processor. Product highlights include the following:

  • Zero data copy for ultra-fast performance
  • Standard sockets interface
  • Raw socket support
  • Non-blocking versions of all functions
  • Versatile MSS and window options
  • Connections limited only by memory availability
  • Optional optimized assembly language checksum routines
  • "Predictive" header processing for speed
  • Nagle algorithm (slow start)
  • VJ smoothed round-trip timing
  • Delayed ACKs
  • BSD style "keepalive" option
  • Complete debugging and optimization module

InterNiche Technologies and Altera collaborated to provide a version of InterNiche’s NicheStack IPv4 network stack optimized for the Nios II architecture. The stack has a small footprint, is portable, and delivers high performance without compromising compliance to RFC standards. NicheStack supports a wide variety of physical interfaces and can be configured as a standard client machine, an Internet protocol router, or a multi-homed server. The suite also contains a comprehensive device networking package, FTP, Telnet, IGMPv1, and DNS and DHCP client components.

In addition to the network stack provided by Altera, additional stacks (eg.IPv6) and protocol modules are available separately by InterNiche.

The NicheStack TCP/IP Network Stack - Nios II Edition is distributed by Altera as full ANSI C source code, and is provided at no cost as part of the Nios II EDS.