Question regarding possible firmware

does w5xxx(w5100, w5500) have firmware or software running within the chip? and if it has, how can the firmware be updated if problems or bugs are found in w5xxx implementation later on?

I deal with W5x00 chips for 12 years, and had this question too. I personally sure that there’s some firmware running within the chip, but I have never seen updates or even attempts to make updates. Thus I would not rely too much on this way to solve the issue.

If you have the issue explain it and we will try solving it without dissecting the chip :face_with_monocle:

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I am mostly just interested about this topic from security perspective. If a problem is found in hardwired stack, how it can be fixed? Also from engineering point of view it is interesting if Wiznet hardwired stack is FPGA or running some sort of MCU + software.

There’s no “security” as is in the chip, it provides sockets’ hardware acceleration. All security should be built into the driving hardware/software. There’s errata released for the chip, if it would have firmware upgrade capability there would be such an option documented and used.

In general we may consider this as their trade secret. The chip is having digital part and analog part. Digital part may be whatever and of whatever architecture, but it is just a matter of terminology, FPGA -like device may also be configured as MCU + software/firmware in embedded ROM.

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Hi, Eugeny and thanks for the answer.

One point regarding security and hardwired tcp/ip chip. As wiznet implements TCP/IP stack, that stack might contain issues that have security impact. Several embedded TCP/IP stacks have been found to be flawed. For example about flawed tcp/ip stacks there is project memoria: Project Memoria - Forescout

In my opinion with wiznet hardwired tcp/ip stack attack surface is quite limited as it runs on separate chip as actual application of embedded system. But there could still be some attack surface if TCP/IP stack is flawed.

Therefore it would be technically interesting to know how Wiznet has implemented this hardwired (immutable?) tcp/ip stack. however i understand that they might not reveal it, as it does not seem to be “open source” solution.

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