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Modularly configurable M2M gateways run Angstrom Linux

Mar 6, 2013  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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Systech recently demonstrated the first model in a new series of Linux-powered M2M (machine-to-machine) intelligent gateways at the Distributech smart grid conference in San Diego. The highly modular SysLink M2M Gateway series enables access to a wide variety of sensors and devices for monitoring and control purposes.

According to Systech the gateways implement full-function routers features, including DHCP, NAT, VPN, and firewall capabilities. Additionally, they’re supported with “enterprise quality” remote management, through which network settings can be configured or changed. The devices are also easily upgradable via over-the-air updates.

The SysLink M2M Gateways target M2M connectivity in point-of-sale, building automation, security, energy management, and mobile health applications. In an effort to support as wide a range of M2M applications as possible, Systech designed a high level of both hardware and software modularity and flexibility into the gateway devices.



Systech’s five SysLink M2M Gateway models

The gateways’ embedded computing engine was built using a 400MHz ARM926 processor, equipped with 256MB of DDR2 DRAM and 256MB flash memory. The systems are qualified for -10 to +70 deg. C operation.

Configurable interface slots

The gateways’ hardware modularity comes from the presence of between one and six interface slots, depending on model. These slots can be populated with a selection of wireless communications interfaces (Wi-Fi, 2G/3G/4G LTE cellular, ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth) and I/O interfaces (digital, serial, and analog I/O ports).

There are four types of slots (types S, P, W, and N), with option cards fitting into one or two different slot types. Besides making it possible to tailor the devices according to the initial requirements of the application, these slots allow for future installation upgrades and enhancements.

The number and types of slots available vary among the five SysLink M2M Gateway series models, with the top-of-line SL-4000 having six slots and supporting all four cards types, and the low-end SL-0500 having a single slot that supports type S cards only (refer to the product’s data sheet for more specifics).

Embedded software

On the software side, the SysLink M2M Gateway family’s flexibility starts with a modular embedded Linux platform, based on the small-footprint Angstrom Distribution, and is rounded out by a combination of standard and third-party cloud services.

“The embedded Linux operating system provides the power and flexibility required to automatically adjust to individual hardware and software configurations,” explains Systech marketing manager Robert Lutz. “Additionally, custom software may be integrated to provide application-specific, value-added features to provide a truly unique solution.”

“The SysLink gateways are able to communicate and bridge a wide variety of protocols and standards, while providing local intelligence to analyze, filter, and take action,” Lutz adds.

The SL-1000 began shipping earlier this year, and the other four models in the series are expected to be phased in gradually over the next several months, according to Lutz.

For further information, visit Systech’s website.
 

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