Can I stack two GigaBlox Rugged together to make a larger switch?

– Copied from a customer email –

Hello, I would like to inquire whether the stacking feature on the gigablox rugged will be enabled by default on the next revision of boards?

At present, there are no plans to get this feature working.

Unfortunately this is a product of the firmware toolchain on GigaBlox Rugged being very difficult to work with.

To make the feature work, we would need to cycle through all potential options for the stacking port in the firmware, and then implement each. If the firmware was run on a simple microcontroller like an STM32, this would be easy, however GigaBlox Rugged house a chip (VSC7511) that requires a static image configuration (as a binary file) that is compiled from a large piece of software using Keil. Thus any changes require in depth knowledge of the software, which is provided by Microchip, and not well documented or supported. In the past we have achieved configurations through careful studying combined by trial and error, but as you can imagine, this approach is neither fast nor easy.

That’s not to say that this feature is not possible. Certainly there is an SGMII port exposed on the back of GigaBlox Rugged and it should be possible to enable them to work. This question does come up from time to time. It’s more that we haven’t had significant impetus to push us to spend the development time on getting this feature working. Instead we have essentially solved the problem for needing 8 gigabit ports with UbiSwitch.

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