For over 20 years, NetBurner has been committed to helping our customers quickly and easily turn ideas into products and connected solutions. We’ve made it possible to “set it and forget it” with super-reliable and stable hardware, custom Real Time Operating System (RTOS), firmware, and libraries that provide peace of mind to developers all over the world. That’s why we are excited to announce the pending release of NetBurner 3.0. This next generation of our RTOS, firmware, libraries and associated tools take these virtues to the next level. Version 2 has been in use for nearly 10 years, so for us this release is major news and is by no means a minor version update!
In this article we’ll preview what’s new in NetBurner 3.0. You see that we’ve added exciting new capabilities to enable the use of the latest hardware platforms, security protocols, IoT capabilities, extensibility, interface and fleet configuration and maintenance tools.
We know… you are really excited about the new features, but perhaps also bit nervous? While we think you’ll ultimately agree that these updates are extremely helpful, for some even game changing, existing customers will need to make a few adjustments if you are porting code to 3.0. Don’t worry, we’ll be providing supportive documentation to help you every step of the way. The following is a brief summary of those updates and advisories.
SUPPORT FOR THE LATEST EMBEDDED HARDWARE
NetBurner 3.0 is really special in that it supports our our flagship Freescale 5441X line of microcontroller System on Modules (SOMs) but also enables our newest line powered by Microchip’s ARM M7 microcontroller. As you may know, ARM has really made waves in the embedded community, and NetBurner 3.0, along with our soon-to-be released line of ARM M7 based products, is our vanguard into this exciting market.
CONFIGURATION AND UPDATE MANAGEMENT
We want you to have an easy and convenient experience at all stages in your product life-cycle. Many of our users have large-scale deployments of hundreds, even thousands, of NetBurner modules. We came to realize that easily and remotely updating and configuring these IoT device “fleets” was essential. NetBurner 3.0 allows field engineers and IT managers to drastically reduce the effort and overhead of firmware updates and product configuration, and to improve the consistency of those operations. We also provide more freedom and predictability by making all of this browser-based and thus OS independent.
Here’s more details on our new configuration and update system:
- Updates, discovery and configuration are now platform independent and do not require any OS specific utilities.
- AutoUpdate is now deprecated.
- The IPSetup windows utility can still be used to locate a device, but not configure it.
- Devices can be discovered by going to “discover.netburner.com”.
- Applications can be updated from any web browser, the nbupdate utility, nbeclipse, WGET, and through the device’s serial port.
- Configuration can now be done as a JSON object. These objects can be saved and uploaded through a web interface, making configuration in a production environment much easier and faster.
- Developers can easily create their own application specific configuration objects.
RTOS (Real Time Operating System)
The low-level code of the RTOS has been modified to support a wide array of features listed elsewhere in this article. These changes have resulted in a significant performance improvement over our previous, already highly optimized RTOS. Overall, we improved the capacity for multi-tasking and made utilizing RTOS functionality more extensible and user friendly. Here are a couple of additional details you might find useful:
- Increased the number of tasks from 64 to an open-ended amount, which is user defined. Using more than 256 tasks may impact performance.
- RTOS functions are now managed as C++ objects.
Our networking stack has been completely reworked and users will find its performance in NetBurner 3.0 a substantial upgrade over previous versions. Additionally, for some of our users with highly complex networked applications, having a greater number of TCP sockets is critical. NetBurner 3.0 answers this call and provides a significant boost in capability.
- Increased the maximum number of sockets from 32 to 256.
Access to interfaces now requires looking at an Interface Object, rather than global variables such as ETHERNETIP. This was done to facilitate the future addition of new interfaces such as Bluetooth, cellular data, etc.
We’ve got your back. That’s why 3.0 provides the security and reliability of the latest SSL/TLS protocols and ciphers. Additionally, our SSL/TLS libraries come included with NetBurner 3.0. No additional licenses will be required.
Note: NetBurner 2.8.7 also has the SSL/TLS updates (but still requires an SSL license)
- Updated to the latest protocols and ciphers
- The process for generating compiled-in certificates is slightly different. Please see the SSL documentation for more information.
Here’s an important change to keep in mind for those already using our products. When you update your existing NetBurner applications, or when starting new ones, we’ve now added a single function call,
init(), that will take care of initializing your stack, getting DHCP (if enabled), and running network debug (if enabled).
We admit, it was time for a freshening up of the NBEclipse IDE. We think you’ll really like the updated UI and capabilities offered.
- Updated to Eclipse IDE Oxygen. Take a look here for the noteworthy updates.
- You can now generate makefiles that can be used on command line builds.
- We’ve updated to 5.2 GNU compiler.
We hope that you are as excited about this upcoming release as we are! For those in a position to port their existing NetBurner Version 2 projects and products over to 3.0, please be reassured that it will be well worth it and that we are here to support you in that effort. We welcome your comments and questions here on the blog, or in our user forum so that others can benefit. Also, feel free to contact our friendly support directly.