Mentor Graphics updates Nucleus RTOS for Internet of Things and embedded connected devices

Mentor Graphics Corporation today announced an update to the Mentor (R) Embedded Nucleus (R) real time operating system (RTOS) targeting low power, next-generation applications for connected embedded and internet of things (IoT) devices. The Nucleus RTOS supports the development of safe and secure applications utilizing the ARM (R) TrustZone (R) in Cortex (R)-A processors. The ARM TrustZone technology provides a system approach to create processor partitioning that isolates both hardware resources and software to help create a “secure” world that is protected from software attacks.

Non-secure applications are executed in the non-isolated domain – the “normal” world- without the ability to impact the applications executing in the secure world. Devices with safety and security operating requirements can isolate and execute secure applications on the Nucleus RTOS in a trusted environment with priority execution over the non-secure applications in the normal world.  Devices requiring a safe domain with dedicated peripherals for trusted applications to support secure software updates, digital rights management, and trusted payments will benefit from the hardware partitioning technology provided by the ARM TrustZone. This release of the Nucleus RTOS also includes support for low power, resource constrained IoT devices with 6LoWPAN and 802.15.4 wireless connectivity.

The explosive growth of smart IoT connected devices with the proliferation of cloud-based services places new requirements on developers to protect assets from software attacks. The ARM TrustZone enables embedded system developers to allocate system peripherals such as secure memory, crypto blocks, wireless devices, LCD screens, and more to a secure operating domain that is isolated from the remaining system. This hardware separation allows for the development of separate, secure applications on Nucleus RTOS in a trusted environment.

“For IoT and other connected applications, the expanded security and low-power connectivity features in Mentor’s Nucleus RTOS provide many of the capabilities needed for the creation of complex heterogeneous IoT systems,” stated Markus Levy, founder and president of EEMBC and The Multicore Association. “These features complement leading-edge hardware capabilities to meet the needs of today’s advanced IoT embedded systems.”

The applications in the secure world have access to all the system resources while a secure monitor acts to ensure the priority execution over the non-secure normal world applications. The secure monitor provides complete isolation to allow for the execution of bare-metal, Linux (R) or Nucleus RTOS-based applications in the normal world without impacting the safe Nucleus RTOS-based applications in the secure world.  The Nucleus RTOS with ARM TrustZone makes it possible to selectively secure peripherals and applications for system isolation to meet safety and security requirements.

“Nucleus RTOS support for ARM TrustZone provides system developers with the ability to meet the highest levels of safety and security for critical applications for heterogeneous OS-based systems,” states Scot Morrison, general manager of runtime solutions, Mentor Graphic Embedded Systems Division, “ARM TrustZone isolates the general purpose operating system, bare metal or Nucleus RTOS in the normal world from the secure application running in Nucleus RTOS in the secure world.”

IoT wearables, portable medical devices, home automation systems, and other smart connected devices are routinely designed with limited system resources to reduce power consumption and extend battery life. Designed for low data rate IP-driven communication, IPv6 over Lower Power Wireless Personal Area Network (6LoWPAN) is an adaptation layer that can be used to connect resource-limited IoT devices to the internet using IP network links like Ethernet, WiFi, or low power wireless connections. The Nucleus RTOS enables the development of IoT devices with 6LoWPAN to allow the low power exchange of data using TCP, UDP, CoAP transport protocols with compatible application layer security protocols such as DTLS. The use of IPv6 addressing allows every IoT device to have a routable IP address to facilitate internet and cloud access using the standard IP network infrastructure. For low power devices, embedded IoT developers can use 6LoWPAN over 802.15.4 wireless communication. With the Nucleus RTOS, IoT end nodes can be connected, monitored and updated using cloud-based services.


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