Open Source Real Time Ethernet on Altera PCIe


Get your wish to combine the performance of a real time PLC and the ease of usage of your Windows/Linux PC, in one solution, using openPOWERLINK PCIe master on Altera Cyclone IV. The solution comes with a readily pluggable network master PCIe card for your PC and support drivers and libraries for Windows and Linux. The PCIe master supports all features of POWERLINK and has a built in Ethernet interface of its own.



  • BSD licensed
  • Windows / Linux support
  • < 250us network cycle time
  • < 40ns jitter
  • Maximum Ethernet frame size support
  • 10 slaves @250us
  • > 30 slaves @1ms
  • Cross traffic
  • Quartus II 13.0 support

In the PCIe based solution, the openPOWERLINK master can be run on any Windows or Linux PC without compromising in the hard real time performance of the POWERLINK network. Here the time critical network support layers of the master stack run as a stand alone driver on NIOS II softcore processor in the Cyclone IV device which is connected to your PC via a PCIe slot. The user support library with a demo master application run on your native Windows or Linux system and interact with the driver using the PCIe interface. The design uses the in-built Ethernet interface on the Cyclone IV with the openPOWERLINK-optimized controller openMAC, for POWERLINK communication, which enables low SoC jitters.