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August 2nd, 2016

Marvell Delivers Industry’s First IEEE Gigabit Ethernet For Automotive

By Anil Gercekci, Director of Technical Marketing of Automotive Solutions Group at Marvell

High-Speed Networking Becomes a Reality For Automotive
Creating New Consumer Features

Marvell First to Deliver Samples to Auto Manufacturers

With the availability of high-speed LTE networks and the thrust toward autonomous driving, car companies are working on a structured approach to high-speed data distribution to and within vehicles. Today, Gigabit Ethernet over a single pair of twisted-pair copper wire has become a reality for the automotive industry paving the way for high-speed networking within a vehicle. In November of last year, Marvell delivered the first samples based on the IEEE 1000BASE-T1 pre-standard specification for verification of performance in vehicles. The 1000BASE-T1 standard allows high-speed and bi-directional data traffic over light-weight, low-cost, single-pair cable harnesses. This enables car companies to create a whole new array of exciting automotive features and benefits. Early chip samples from Marvell allow auto makers the ability to evaluate the performance of this new standard and identify possible issues early in the application development process, prior to production, to accelerate time to market.

 

Gigabit-Ethernet-Chart

 

Industry Standards Organizations Paving the Way to Seamless Automotive Wireless Communications

Simultaneously, a number of industry standards organizations are working on automotive-specific wireless standards that will enable seamless internal and external communications with vehicles to enable cloud-based applications. With LTE standards enabling higher than 100Mbps data capability, LTE connectivity will require high-speed links in line with 100BASE-T1 or 1000BASE-T1 Ethernet capabilities within the vehicle, depending on the actual real throughput available to the user from the network. As carrier network coverage and data billing rates become accepted by consumers, cloud-based applications for automotive will allow large data transfers that will enable not only wider infotainment, but concierge and navigation applications, plus remote diagnostics with secure over-the-air (OTA) updates. (Won’t it be nice to know when you’re pulled over on the side of the highway on vacation, exactly what is wrong with your car?) Such mechanisms will also enable security and accelerated fleet management for business and commercial enterprises that can help lower the cost of maintenance, while increasing customer satisfaction by keeping drivers up-to-date with the latest cloud-based data services.

A History of Firsts

Marvell has a history of actively participating in the IEEE standards development process. In 2011, Marvell was a key driver in the Call For Interest (CFI) at IEEE for an Automotive-specific Gigabit Ethernet PHY. This CFI received unanimous support (a relatively rare event in IEEE) and now the new IEEE 802.1bp standard is set to be ratified in 2016. In the meantime, Marvell has already begun sampling pre-standard parts to the industry for testing. The availability of parts has sparked remarkable interest and activity in testing and developing new applications for high-speed Ethernet.

Will Automotive Become the Largest IT Employer In the Near Future?

The introduction of Automotive-specific Gigabit Ethernet can provide the backbone for enhanced connectivity applications. The automotive industry is rapidly adopting Ethernet as a key enabler, not only for its superior price/performance, but also because it supports the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. The OSI model allows for the rapid deployment of applications and services. Using this layered approach, a specific PHY technology, which met both the light weight and low EMC requirements, had to be developed that was consistent with all the existing upper layers of the OSI model. This gives the benefits of being able to leverage and reuse existing developments in layers above the PHY level. It is amazing to think that with this unprecedented potential expansion of automotive connectivity and its applications, it is conceivable that the automotive industry could become the world’s largest employer of IT experts in the coming years.

More to Come
In addition to a long history of WiFi and Bluetooth combo products in automotive, Marvell is enabling WiFi technology to become part of this external connectivity by developing 802.11ai technology that allows for Fast Initial Link Setup (FILS) that provides opportunistic access to base stations whenever they become available as the car drives at high speed. In addition, 802.11p products will enable short-range wireless connectivity for collision avoidance or pedestrian/cyclist detection, applications that demand quick response and are not possible via current Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and LTE technologies. With these wireless technologies placed in the roof of the car, Ethernet plays an important role for high-speed communication to and within the vehicle. By delivering early samples based on the latest developing industry standards, Marvell is helping to “drive” new applications in automotive connectivity technology.

June 3rd, 2016

NO DEAD ZONES: New Home Networking Products, Based on Marvell G.hn Powerline Technology, Redefine the Home Wi-Fi Experience

By Donna Yasay, Business Development Director of Broadband Business Group, Marvell

You’ve seen it, the dreaded buffering while trying to stream a movie, lag times while gaming or dropped signals as you walk through your home. In fact, you probably know exactly where the dead zones are in your house.  But all this is a thing of the past with the latest products based on Marvell’s Gigabit Home Networking (G.hn) Powerline Communications technology. Marvell G.hn chip sets combine powerline, coax, phone line/twisted pair and optical fiber in a single technology, which can turn a home’s electrical, coaxial and anywire smart grids into high-speed internet and connected devices.

ArrisSURFboard

Take for example the new line of ARRIS routers and extenders, the SURFboard® family of home networking devices with RipCurrent™ G.hn technology.  This new system of routers and extenders, based on Marvell technology, is designed to eliminate the frustrations that have plagued home wireless as more and more family members use more and more devices.  The RipCurrent-enabled routers and extenders use existing powerlines (electrical outlets) in the home to create new hotspots to connect high-bandwidth devices and relieve home Wi-Fi congestion.

ARRIS SURFboard is an easy-to-set up device that can bring gigabit speeds to every room, not just the room nearest to the router.  That means ultrafast Wi-Fi in any room, sharing one internet connection.  Range is no longer an issue and interruptions become non-existent. Now, mom can binge-watch her favorite program, while the teens are gaming or streaming, without suffering the dreaded buffering lag times.  (Where’s dad? He’s shopping the internet for more cool devices.)

And while ARRIS International plc was the top cable modem retailer in 2016, they aren’t the only ones where Marvell G.hn Powerline is playing an integral role. Last summer, Comtrend, a leading designer and manufacturer of broadband communication equipment, launched its first G.hn powerline-only adapter in retail.

COMTREND

G.hn offers the flexibility of providing high bandwidth for in-home networking using both a wired medium and wireless extender setting.  Offering full home connectivity at 1 Gbps and 2 Gbps PHY rates, Marvell G.hn chipsets represent an ideal solution for wireline distribution of bandwidth-intensive and real-time applications like HD-IPTV, VoIP, gaming, video surveillance, multi-room DVR and more. The new 2Gbps chipset offers support for the new ITU-T G.hn 200MHz channel bandwidth, allowing for higher data transmission rates through the multitude of supported connections that G.hn already offers. Marvell’s 2 Gbps G.hn chipsets will enable vendors to build a new generation of solutions for wired IPTV delivery and 802.11ac extenders that will double the throughput and increase the range of existing products.

With no more dead zones, Marvell G.hn powerline technology is helping redefine home networking and improving the home Wi-Fi experience.

June 1st, 2016

Marvell Supports An Enterprise-Grade Network Operating System With The Linux Foundation Project

By Yaniv Kopelman, Networking and Connectivity CTO

As organizations continue to invest in data centers to host a variety of applications, more demands are placed on the network infrastructure. The deployment of white boxes is an approach organizations can take to meet their networking needs. White box switches are a “blank” standard hardware that relies on a network operating system, commonly Linux-based. White box switches coupled with Open Network Operating Systems enable organizations to customize the networking features that support their objectives and streamline operations to fit their business.

Marvell is committed to powering the key technologies in the data center and the enterprise network, which is why we are proud to be a contributor to the OpenSwitch Project by The Linux Foundation. Built to run on Linux and open hardware, OpenSwitch is a full-featured network operating system (NOS) aimed at enabling the transition to disaggregated networks. OpenSwitch allows for freedom of innovation while maintaining stability and limiting vulnerability, and has a reliable architecture focused on modularity and availability. The open source OpenSwitch NOS allows developers to build networks that prioritize business-critical workloads and functions, and removes the burdens of interoperability issues and complex licensing structures that are inherent in proprietary systems.

As a provider of switches and PHYs for data center and campus networking markets, Marvell believes that the open source OpenSwitch NOS will help the deployment of white boxes in the data center and campus networks. Developers will be able to build networks that prioritize business-critical workloads and functions, removing the burdens of interoperability issues and complex licensing structures that are inherent in proprietary systems.

Our first contribution is to port the Marvell Switch Software Development Kit (CPSS) to support OpenSwitch. This contribution to an industry standard NOS will enable Marvell devices to be widely used across different markets and boxes.

To learn more, please visit: http://www.openswitch.net/, or read the full press release.

May 19th, 2016

Automotive Center of Excellence Now Open in Ettlingen, Germany

By Alex Tan, Director, Automotive Solutions Group

Marvell Automotive Center

Marvell’s Automotive Center of Excellence, the first-of-its-kind automotive networking technology development center, recently opened in Ettlingen, Germany. Due to the rapid advancement of automotive technological developments in recent years, the next generation of cars needs a new architecture to run a wide array of features—for example, full driver assist, ultra high-definition (HD) displays and over-the-air updates. Marvell’s objectives are to provide access to the latest innovative technologies, (link: http://www.marvell.com/solutions/automotive/), work closely with customers and partners, and drive the automotive industry forward more quickly and efficiently.

The grand opening event elicited great excitement, and Marvell was honored to welcome many distinguished guests including Wolfang Erhard, Chief of Business Development from the Mayor’s office in Ettlingen; Klaus Oertel, from Hanser Automotive; Ingo Kuss, from Elektronik Automotive; and Thomas Zimmer from BNN. Philip Poulidis, Vice President and General Manager, Internet of Things, Automotive and Multimedia Business Units at Marvell along with Ian Riches, Director of the Global Automotive Practice at Strategy Analytics provided the keynote speech.

Given Marvell’s history of dedication and innovative design, the company knows that understanding advanced technologies such as, Audio Video Bridging, Time Sensitive Networking and singe pair Ethernet standards—is vital to further the connected car industry. A dedicated team of engineers will utilize their knowledge to expand development and education efforts in these areas with Marvell and its customers to advance the architecture of future, connected cars. The engineering team is responsible for automotive products that include switch, end-node system-on-chips, gateways and automotive software.

Marvell continues to market innovative technologies that will shape the future of the automotive industry, and with its Automotive Center of Excellence in Germany is better positioned to drive new automotive designs and technologies forward.

May 17th, 2016

Marvell Drives Automotive Connectivity with Industry’s first 1000BASE-T1 Development Platform with Automotive Connectors

By Alex Tan, Director, Automotive Solutions Group

Automobile Close Up, Marvell Solutions

With OEMs racing to offer connected car services, Marvell has developed a new Ethernet reference platform integrated with TE Connectivity’s (TE) MATEnet modular and scalable connectors for automotive Ethernet, to enable a faster time-to-market for Gigabit Ethernet in automotive systems. The new development platform supports audio bridging (AVB) switching solutions with 100BASE-T1 and 1000BASE-T1 Ethernet physical layer (PHY) capability. Manufacturers are now able to quickly prototype automotive systems with Gigabit Ethernet for electrical and electronic architectures.

The next generation of vehicle technology requires a high-speed, resilient data infrastructure that can operate in the robust conditions of the automobile. Applications such as autonomous driving, advanced safety features and immersive infotainment systems are driving these new architectures. Combining Marvell’s expertise in network and Ethernet, with TE’s experience in providing real world automotive connector and cable systems, this development platform allows vehicle architects to begin designing these systems for mass production.

This new reference platform includes support for the AVB networking standards of the AVnu Alliance’s certification test subgroup and also supports Stream Reservation Protocol to provide end-to-end management of resource reservations for automotive data streams. In addition, Marvell’s Ethernet PHY transceivers (88Q2112 100BASE-T1 PHY and 88Q1010 100BASE-T1 PHY) enable high definition and uncompressed video, high speed links, between domains to support connected and autonomous driving systems and the fastest system bring up from power down. Additional features and benefits include time sensitive networking technology to support time critical control applications, vehicle-to-vehicle Wi-Fi communication to improve safety and reduce response times using real time alerts regarding traffic and road alerts. The 88Q2112 is the industry’s first 1000BASE-T1 automotive Ethernet PHY transistor that is compliant with the draft IEEE 802.3bp 1000BASE-T1 standard.

Marvell’s commitment to extend connectivity to the automobile includes a number of solutions to meet the needs of designers for the cars of the future.

May 15th, 2016

New Ethernet Transceivers Provide a Lower Cost Solution for Higher Data Rates over Cat5e Cables

By Ron Cates, Senior Director, Connectivity, Storage and Infrastructure Business Unit

Couple Enjoying Their Wifi

The first commercially available Ethernet Transceivers, the Alaska® 882010/40 family is fully optimized for 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps data rates over Cat5e cables. Offering a small form factor and low-power dissipation, these devices are excellent options for the most common types of installed Cat5e Ethernet cabling for applications such as 802.11 ac Access Point uplinks, switches, servers, workstations and high-end PCs that require high-speed connectivity.

Marvell’s advanced Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology makes possible the repurposing of existing low-cost Cat5e Ethernet cables for data rates as high as 5Gbps, saving the cost of rewiring. The Alaska 88E2010/40 transceivers may also be kitted with Marvell’s broad range of switches that support 4 to 48 NBASE ports, providing a seamless system solution. The devices support Category 6, 6a, and 7 type cables as well and support a variety of host interfaces. In addition, the Alaska transceiver family features full backward compatibility with lower speed legacy Ethernet on the line side. Other features include the incorporation of Marvell’s advanced Virtual Cable Tester® technology for cable fault detections and proactive cable performance monitoring, and compliance with the emerging IEEE802.3bz standard and the NBASE-T Alliance specification for 2.5Gbps and 5Gpbs data rates over Cat5e cables. In addition, these Ethernet transceivers support 100G-LR4 and SR4 optics, as well as enterprise switches with 2.5G/5G capabilities.

The Alaska 88E2010/40 transceivers extend the Alaska product suite and offer many additional features and benefits for important applications that utilize Ethernet cabling.

To learn more, download the Product Brief:

April 25th, 2016

How Marvell FLC Redefines Main Memory

By Hunglin Hsu, Vice President, Digital IC Design

With newer, bigger programs and more apps multitasking simultaneously, the answer to making any system run faster, from handheld to super computer, was always just to add more DRAM. . . and more, and more and more. Well, those days will soon be “memory” with Marvell’s introduction of Final-Level Cache™ (FLC™). FLC is an architecture that redefines memory on everything from data centers to wearables. By offloading the storage of programs to less expensive solid-state drives (SSDs) and only using a small amount of expensive DRAM to cache the active processes, the amount of DRAM can be cut dramatically along with power consumption.  FLC has the potential to spark the development of a new class of lower-cost and lower- power products and cut the DRAM needed in a system by as much as 10x, while cutting the energy consumed to about half what is used today.

FLC-solution-003

How? If you look at what’s actually being used on your computer or portable device, only a small percentage of the application code loaded into the main memory is usually active. Take a look for yourself. For example, look at the process monitor in Windows task manager. You will see that most of the applications are idle, yet in aggregate require a significant amount of DRAM space. In fact, nearly 90 to 99 percent of most DRAMs are idle. By using a special algorithm, Marvell FLC can put the most frequently used programs on a small amount of DRAM and the rest onto less expensive, energy-efficient flash memory that can reduce the size, cost and power requirements of anything from a smart car, to mobile phones, tablets, smart watches, computers or data centers.

And it works!  Our engineering mobile phone platform, shown in this video, uses FLC to play back video smoothly, without any lag or stutter.  App switching is also zippy.  Such performance is common on mid- or even high-end phones with large DRAM, yet this design used only 768MB of DRAM in the implementation.  Time-sensitive streams are mapped to a 512MB non-cacheable area, while another 256 DRAM is used in FLC to emulate 1GB of memory. Hence, it provides similar performance to 1.5GB of main memory in traditional DRAM-based designs. FLC can also emulate larger quantities of main memory.  The second proof of concept demonstrates smooth video performance on the same mobile phone platform using FLC.

With FLC, better performance can be achieved by reporting to the operating system a larger than physically implemented main memory. The operating system is thus less likely to kill background apps, which is why the fast app switching is possible. The FLC hardware does all the heavy lifting in the background and frees up the tasks of the operating system.

Smaller DRAM means less power and lower cost creating endless new possibilities. It will free up innovation in digital design and even accelerate categories like the Internet of Things (IoT.)  By offloading storage to cheaper SSD memory, the world can also dramatically reduce overall power consumption and energy needs. For example, a 50 percent reduction in all computer energy use equates to a two percent decrease in rural power needs. Battery life of laptops will be increased, as well as IoT devices that could last weeks before recharging. It changes the future of supercomputers as well. With FLC, you can replace an entire server room with a small portable device. Super computing and computational sets will become faster and more efficient, with future super computers containing tens of terabytes of memory instead of hundreds of gigabytes. Data center space savings and cooling costs will also be dramatically reduced.

This is why Marvell Final-Level Cache represents a monumental technical step forward. Marvell FLC will not only redefine memory–but all of computing.

See Marvell FLC in action in the following proof of concept videos: