NetBurner 3.0: The Dawning of a New Age in IoT

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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), reliable firmware, life-saving libraries and associated tools that provide peace of mind to developers all over the world. We also believe in keeping our products and services at the cutting edge and working to maintain our standing as industry leaders.

That’s why we are excited to announce the release of NetBurner 3.0 in tandem with the release of our brand new NetBurner ARM® Cortex®-Powered System on Module (Part Number: MODM7AE70 – with versions and dev kits available). This next generation delivers our best and brings it to the next level with new features and dual support of our NPX/Freescale® platforms, in addition to our newest Microchip/Atmel ARM® platforms!

Available for download mid December 2018, and preloaded in all of our MODM7AE70 modules.

In this article we’ll describe 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 3.0 documentation and tutorials to help you every step of the way. If you are a NetBurner 2.8 stalwart don’t worry… the 2.8 documentation is still available and we will continue to support it indefinitely. But if you are looking for the latest, greatest features, 3.0 is the way to go. The following is a brief summary of those 3.0 updates, features and advisories.

SUPPORT FOR THE NEW ARM-POWERED NETBURNER HARDWARE

NetBurner 3.0 is really special in that it continues to supports our our flagship Freescale 5441X line of microcontroller System on Modules (SOMs) (specifically the MOD5441X, NANO54415, and SB800EX) but ALSO enables our newly released NetBurner ARM® Cortex®-Powered System on Module. As you may know, ARM has really made waves in the embedded community, and NetBurner 3.0, along with our newly released line of Microchip Technologies/Atmel ARM M7-based products, is our vanguard into this exciting embedded platform.

REMOTE 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.

Examples: nburn\examples\Configuration

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.

Examples: nburn\examples\RTOS

TCP

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.

INTERFACES

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. Examples:

  • nburn\examples\ShowInterfaces
  • nburn\examples\IPv6

SSL/TLS

We’ve got your back. That’s why 3.0 provides the security and reliability of the latest SSL/TLS protocols and ciphers.

  • SSL/TLS libraries come included with NetBurner 3.0. No additional licenses will be required.
  • The latest version of our SSL libraries will now support the creation of certificate requests.

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.

Examples: nburn\examples\SSL

SYSTEM INITIALIZATION

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).

NBECLIPSE IDE

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.

GCC

  • We’ve updated to 8.1 GNU compiler.

Onward!

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.

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