December 21, 2001

SnapGear announces new USB/PCMCIA reference design powered by Linux

Author: JT Smith

SnapGear Inc, a leading supplier of consumer VPN Router appliances and OEM custom design solutions has developed a new reference platform that brings together USB, PCMCIA, WAN, LAN, and serial connectivity in a single powerful appliance design.

The platform, known as an SE2900, is a highly integrated reference platform in a single board design that has two 10/100BaseT ethernet ports, two USB host ports (compliant with OHCI specifications), RS-232 port. The PCMCIA slot works with traditional 16-bit PC Cards as well as the 32-bit 33 MHz CardBus, accomodating Type I/II/III PCMCIA cards. The board has JTAG interface support primarily intended for AMD's JTAG software debugger.

Powered by the Linux 2.4.10 kernel the board can be configured with 8MB or 16MB of Flash, 1MB of Boot Flash, 64MB of SDRAM, and uses an AMD SC520 processor running at 133MHz.

Chief Software Wizard, Greg Ungerer, said: "Basic board bring-up only took a day or so and we were able to use standard kernel drivers so it was largely just a configuration issue. Then we really needed a way of demonstrating the versatility of the board and that's where we had some fun". Using a regular USB camera, PCMCIA wireless LAN card, and standard Linux tools the unit was quickly set up as a mobile, streaming-video web server.

Ungerer said: "We just attached a battery to it and walked around outside the building while friends and co-workers watched through their desktop web browsers. Next time we'll add a USB audio input source to the other USB port and we can give walking tours of the area to people over the Internet!".

The board presented considerable design challenges in being able to integrate so many PCI devices cleanly and in a small form factor.

The SE2900 Reference Platform is available immediately. For further information on the SE2900 USB/PCMCIA design please visit Hi-res photo available from g

About SnapGear, Inc.

SnapGear Inc produces the popular SnapGear VPN Routers along with SecureEdge custom design solutions. SnapGear Inc has produced turnkey development, design, and even manufacturing and fulfillment services for large blue-chip companies. SnapGear solutions are characterised by affordability, tight integration, and design ingenuity. Recent examples include a sport/racing control terminal, an advanced VPN gateway router, and a network access point connecting petrol bowsers to the Internet. For more information on SnapGear please visit For more information on SecureEdge reference designs and services please visit


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