Industrial Automation Transformation

The Industrial automation architecture is under transformation, using larger amounts of factory data which AI systems can extract insights to continue increasing efficiencies. New sets of Industry standards, such as IEEE 802.1 TSN and OPC-UA, will allow the mix-and-match of industrial hardware and software solutions from different vendors.

Intel® FPGA based TSN solutions provide the connectivity for Industrial 4.0 factories to be smart, agile and heading towards fully autonomous. FPGA based designs allow Industrial equipment manufactures to quickly add new features, such as functional safety and deep learning analytics, getting new products to market which deliver best-in/class performance, seamless deterministic interoperability, and comply with safety and security requirements. For more information please contact Intel sales.


Simplify Industrial Ethernet

Manufacturers for factory automation, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and motor control are challenged to implement a wide variety of industrial Ethernet protocols to support different end user requirements. Using Intel's highly integrated FPGAs and SoCs, easy-to-use development tools, and off-the-shelf intellectual property (IP), you can quickly develop products that are first to market, flexible, and cost effective.

Intel's Industrial Ethernet solutions offer:

  • Multiple protocol support
  • No up-front license fees
  • No complex royalty reporting requirements
  • Flexibility
  • Low cost



Protocol Provider Supported Device(s)
IEEE 802.1 TSN (Time Sensitive Networking)  TTTech Cyclone® V SoC

Available Protocols

Protocol Provider Supported Device(s)
PROFIBUS Softing Cyclone® IV, Cyclone V SoC, Arria® II
PROFINET RT Softing Cyclone IV, Cyclone V SoC
PROFINET IRT Softing Cyclone IV, Cyclone V SoC
EtherCAT Softing Cyclone IV, Cyclone V SoC
Ethernet POWERLINK Softing Cyclone IV, Cyclone V SoC
EtherNet/IP Soft DLR Softing Cyclone IV, Cyclone V SoC
Modbus TCP/IP Softing Cyclone IV, Cyclone V SoC

Designing Industrial Ethernet with Softing and Intel

To make it easier to add Industrial Ethernet to your design, Intel and Softing Industrial Automation GmbH provide an out-of-the-box solution with no up-front license fees, no per-unit royalty reporting, and no protracted negotiations.

Simply download an entire Industrial Ethernet protocol including the software stack from Softing. 

Three Steps to Design for Multiple Industrial Ethernet Protocols

  1. Download the protocol IP that you would like to use in production.
  2. Evaluate the protocol IP using the Intel® Quartus® Prime design software tool and the development kits.
  3. When you are ready to go into production, purchase a low-cost security CPLD for less than $3 each in 5,000+ unit volume through your local Intel sales representative.

You can use the same hardware for all the protocols listed in Figure 1 from PROFINET to Ethernet/IP to EtherCAT. You must purchase a security CPLD from Intel to enable any one protocol at a given time.

Simple Licensing Structure for Popular Industrial Ethernet Standards

Protocol Downloads

Download EtherCAT protocol now!

Download Ethernet/IP protocol now!

Download PROFINET RT/IRT protocol now!
Use the following application notes to help guide your PROFINET implementation:

Evaluating and Developing Solutions with Intel® and Softing

Intel and Softing Industrial Automation GmbH provide an out-of-the-box solution with no up-front license fees, no per-unit royalty reporting, and no protracted negotiations. You have the flexibility to incorporate Industrial Ethernet using communications bridges, a communications peripheral, or by implementing a full system on an Intel FPGA as shown in Figure.

Industrial Ethernet – Implementation Examples

Next Steps:

1. Download the protocol(s) including the intellectual property and associated documentation package from the download tab at the bottom of the Softing's web page.

Note: Customer must become a member of the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) to use EtherCAT (membership is free). This provides a member identification number which must be input to the IP before compiling.

2. Select a platform for hardware evaluation, if needed.
3. Sign the Softing evaluation license agreement included in the documentation package for the protocol(s) of interest.
4. Evaluate and/or develop your system using the Intel Quartus Prime design software.
5. Take your design to production. The inclusion of a separate security CPLD addresses production licensing requirements. No additional licensing is required.

Hardware Development Platforms


Protocol Support

Cyclone IV Cyclone V Cyclone V SoC
Industrial Networking Kit (INK) Cyclone V Development Kit Cyclone V SoC Development Kit






EtherCAT Yes


Ethernet POWERLINK Yes


EtherNet/IP Soft DLR Yes


Modbus TCP/IP Yes



Take Your Design to Production

Production System Licensing

Intel and Softing enable you to quickly incorporate Industrial Ethernet into your product. Licensing is tracked using an external Security CPLD that unlocks the protocol IP loaded into the FPGA at boot time. For product development and protocol evaluation, the IP will function without the CPLD for several minutes and then time out. The Security CPLD is not required for pre-production activities.

The Security CPLD:

  • Connects to the FPGA using a simple interface
  • Tracks the number of licenses consumed - only pay for what you ship
  • Works across multiple protocols. Load the protocol software of interest into the FPGA and go
  • Can be used across multiple products. Mix and match protocols across your entire portfolio. Customize a product to meet customer requirements at compile time.
  • Available in four versions

Security CPLD Versions

Protocol Support Ordering Code Intel Quartus Prime Software Part Number Supply VCC Package Type Size (mm)
All protocols (except EtherCAT) M570ZM6NKA EPM570ZM100I8N 1.8 V 100-MBGA,
0.5 mm pitch
6 X 6
All protocols (except EtherCAT) M570F11NBA EPM570F100I5N 2.5 V or 3.3 V 100-FBGA,
1.0 mm pitch
11 x 11
All protocols M570ZM6NLA EPM570ZM100I8N 1.8 V 100-MBGA,
0.5 mm pitch
6 X 6
All protocols M570F11NCA EPM570F100I5N 2.5 V or 3.3 V 100-FBGA,
1.0 mm pitch
11 x 11