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June 7th, 2018

Versatile New Ethernet Switch Simultaneously Addresses Multiple Industry Sectors

By Ran Gu, Marketing Director of Switching Product Line, Marvell

Due to ongoing technological progression and underlying market dynamics, Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) technology with 10 Gigabit uplink speeds is starting to proliferate into the networking infrastructure across a multitude of different applications where elevated levels of connectivity are needed: SMB switch hardware, industrial switching hardware, SOHO routers, enterprise gateways and uCPEs, to name a few. The new Marvell® Link Street™ 88E6393X, which has a broad array of functionality, scalability and cost-effectiveness, provides a compelling switch IC solution with the scope to serve multiple industry sectors.

The 88E6393X switch IC incorporates both 1000BASE-T PHY and 10 Gbps fiber port capabilities, while requiring only 60% of the power budget necessitated by competing solutions. Despite its compact package, this new switch IC offers 8 triple speed (10/100/1000) Ethernet ports, plus 3 XFI/SFI ports, and has a built-in 200 MHz microprocessor. Its SFI support means that the switch can connect to a fiber module without the need to include an external PHY – thereby saving space and bill-of-materials (BoM) costs, as well as simplifying the design. It complies with the IEEE 802.1BR port extension standard and can also play a pivotal role in lowering the management overhead and keeping operational expenditures (OPEX) in check. In addition, it includes L3 routing support for IP forwarding purposes.

Adherence to the latest time sensitive networking (TSN) protocols (such as 802.1AS, 802.1Qat, 802.1Qav and 802.1Qbv) enables delivery of the low latency operation mandated by industrial networks. The 256 entry ternary content-addressable memory (TCAM) allows for real-time, deep packet inspection (DPI) and policing of the data content being transported over the network (with access control and policy control lists being referenced). The denial of service (DoS) prevention mechanism is able to detect illegal packets and mitigate the security threat of DoS attacks.

The 88E6393X device, working in conjunction with a high performance ARMADA® network processing system-on-chip (SoC), can offload some of the packet processing activities so that the CPU’s bandwidth can be better focused on higher level activities. Data integrity is upheld, thanks to the quality of service (QoS) support across 8 traffic classes. In addition, the switch IC presents a scalable solution. The 10 Gbps interfaces provide non-blocking uplink to make it possible to cascade several units together, thus creating higher port count switches (16, 24, etc.).

This new product release features a combination of small footprint, lower power consumption, extensive security and inherent flexibility to bring a highly effective switch IC solution for the SMB, enterprise, industrial and uCPE space.

 

May 31st, 2018

Why is 802.11ax a “must have” for the connected car?

By Avinash Ghirnikar, Director of Technical Marketing of Connectivity Business Group

Imagine motoring along through busy, urban traffic in your new connected car that is learning, getting smarter, safer and more reliable as it is driving. Such a car is constantly gathering and generating all kinds of data that is intermittently and opportunistically being uploaded to the cloud. As more cars on the road feature advanced wireless connectivity, this exciting future will become commonplace. However, each car will need to share the network with potentially hundreds of other cars that might be in its vicinity.

While such a use case could potentially rely on LTE/5G cellular technology, the costs associated with employing such a “licensed pipe” would be prohibitively expensive. In such situations, the new Wi-Fi® standard 802.11ax, also known as high efficiency wireless (HEW), will be a life saver for the automotive industry. The zettabytes of data that cars equipped with a slew of sensors will create in the years to come will all need to be uploaded to the cloud and data centers, enabling next-generation machine learning in order to make driving increasingly safe and predictable in the future. Uploading this data will, of course, need to be done both securely and reliably.

The car – as an 802.11ax station (STA) – will also be to able upload data to an 802.11ax access point (AP) in the most challenging of wireless environments while sharing the network with other clients. The 802.11ax system will be able to do this via technologies like MU-MIMO and OFDMA (allowing for spatial, frequency and time reuse) which are new innovations that are part of this emerging standard. Today, STAs compete rather than effectively share the network and have to deal with the dreaded “circle of death”’ awaiting connectivity. This is because today’s wireless standard can often be in an all-or-nothing binary mode of operation due to constant competition. When coupled with other upcoming standards like 802.11ai, specifically fast initial link setup (FILS), this vision of cars uploading data to the cloud over Wi-Fi becomes a true reality, even in environments where the car is moving and likely hopping from one AP to another.

While this “under the hood” upload use case is greatly enhanced by the 802.11ax standard from an infrastructure perspective, download of software and firmware into connected cars can also be transformed by this same standard. It is well known that the number of processors and electronic control units (ECUs) in car models is expected to increase dramatically. This, in turn, implies that the software/firmware content in these cars will likewise grow at exponential rates. Periodic firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updates will be required and, therefore, having a reliable and robust mechanism to support this will be vital for automobile manufacturers – potentially saving them millions of dollars in relation to servicing costs, etc.  Such is the pace of innovation and technological change these days that this can sometimes happen almost immediately after cars come off the assembly line.

Take the example of a parking lot outside an auto plant containing hundreds of brand new cars requiring some of their software to be updated.  Here, too, 802.11ax can come to the rescue by making a mass update more efficient and reliable. This advantage will then carry forward for the rest of the lifespan of each car, since it can never be predicted what sort of wireless connectivity environment these cars will encounter. These could be challenging environments like garages, driveways, and maybe even parking decks. The modulation enhancements that 802.11ax delivers, coupled with MU-MIMO and OFDMA features, will ensure that the most efficient and reliable Wi-Fi pipe is always available for such a critical function. Given that a car can easily be on the road for close to a decade, having this functionality built in from day one would be a tremendous advantage and could enable significant cost savings. Again, accompanying technologies like Wake on Bluetooth® Low Energy and Bluetooth Low Energy Long Range will also play a pivotal role in ensuring this use case is realized from an overall end-to-end system standpoint.

These two infrastructure type use cases are likely to be tremendous value-adds for the connected car and can justify the presence of 802.11ax, especially from an automobile manufacturers’ point of view. Even consumers are likely to see significant benefits in their vehicle dashboards where the mobile APs in their infotainment systems will be able to seamlessly connect to their latest smartphone handsets (which will themselves be 802.11ax capable within the 2019 timeframe). Use cases like Wireless Apple CarPlay®, Wireless Android Auto™ Projection, rear seat entertainment, wireless cameras, etc. will all be a breeze given the additional 30-40% throughput enhancement in 802.11ax (and the backward compatibility this standard has with previous Wi-Fi standards for such use cases to cooperatively coexist).  Just as in homes, the number of Wi-Fi endpoints in cars is also proliferating. The 802.11ax standard is the only well-designed path for an increasing number of endpoints and yet provides the best user experience.

The 802.11ax as Release 1 (aka Wave 1) is well on its way to a concrete launch by the Wi-Fi Alliance in the second half of 2019. Products are already being sampled by silicon vendors – both on the AP and STA/mobile AP side – and interoperability testing is well underway. For all wireless system designers at OEMs and their Tier 1 suppliers, the 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard should be a goal, and especially for any product launch set for 2020 and beyond.  The time has come to begin future proofing for the impending arrival of 802.11ax infrastructure. The days of the wireless technology in your smartphone/home/enterprise and in your car belonging to different generations are long gone. Consumers demand that their cars now be an extension of their home/work environments and that all of these living spaces function as one. The 802.11ax is destined to be one of the key pillars of technology to make such a vision a reality.

Marvell has been a pioneer in designing Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo devices for the automotive market since the debut of such devices in cars in 2011. With actual development beginning almost a decade ago, Marvell’s automotive wireless portfolio has been honed to address key use cases over five generations of products, through working closely with OEMs, Tier 1s and Tier 2s. All the technologies needed to achieve the various use cases described above have been incorporated into Marvell’s fifth generation device. Coupled with Marvell’s offering for enterprise class, high-performance APs, Marvell remains committed to providing the automobile industry and car buyers with the best wireless connectivity experience — encompassing use cases inside and outside of the car today, and well into the future.

 

April 30th, 2018

ARMADA 3720 SoC Enables Ground-Breaking Modular Router from CZ.NIC

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

Marvell ARMADA® embedded processors are part of another exciting networking solution for a crowdfunding project and are helping “power” the global open hardware and software engineering community as innovative new products are developed. CZ.NIC, an open source networking research team based in the Czech Republic, just placed its Turris MOX modular networking appliance on the Indiegogo® platform and has already obtained over $110,000 in financial backing.

MOX has a highly flexible modular arrangement. Central to this is a network processing module featuring a Marvell® ARMADA 3720 network processing system-on-chip (SoC). This powerful yet energy efficient 64-bit device includes dual Cortex®-A53 ARM® processor cores and an extensive array of high speed IOs (PCIe 2.0, 2.5 GbE, USB 3.0, etc.).

Figure 1: The MOX Solution from CZ.NIC

The MOX concept is simple to understand. Rather than having to procure a router with excessive features and resources that all add to the cost but actually prove to be superfluous, users can just buy a single MOX that can subsequently be extended into whatever form of network appliance a user needs. Attachment of additional modules means that specific functionality can be provided to meet exact user expectations. There is an Ethernet module that adds 4 GbE ports, a fiber module that adds fiber optic SFP connectivity, and an extension module that adds a mini PCIe connection. At a later stage, if requirements change, it is possible for that same MOX to be repurposed into a completely different appliance by adding appropriate modules.


                        Figure 2: The MOX Add-On Modules – Base, Extension, Ethernet and SFP

The MOX units run on Turris OS, an open source operating system built on top of the extremely popular OpenWrt® embedded Linux® distribution (as supported by Marvell’s ARMADA processors). This gives the appliance a great deal of flexibility, allowing it to execute a wide variety of different networking functions that enable it to operate as an email server, web server, firewall, etc. Additional MOX modules are already under development and will be available soon.

This project follows on CZ.NIC’s previous crowdfunding campaign using Marvell’s ARMADA SoC processing capabilities for the Turris Omnia high performance open source router – which gained huge public interest and raised 9x its original investment target. Turris MOX underlines the validity of the open source software ecosystem that has been built up around the ARMADA SoC to help customers bring their ideas to life.

Click here to learn more on this truly unique Indiegogo campaign.

 

April 2nd, 2018

Understanding Today’s Network Telemetry Requirements

By Tal Mizrahi, Feature Definition Architect, Marvell

There have, in recent years, been fundamental changes to the way in which networks are implemented, as data demands have necessitated a wider breadth of functionality and elevated degrees of operational performance. Accompanying all this is a greater need for accurate measurement of such performance benchmarks in real time, plus in-depth analysis in order to identify and subsequently resolve any underlying issues before they escalate.

The rapidly accelerating speeds and rising levels of complexity that are being exhibited by today’s data networks mean that monitoring activities of this kind are becoming increasingly difficult to execute. Consequently more sophisticated and inherently flexible telemetry mechanisms are now being mandated, particularly for data center and enterprise networks.

A broad spectrum of different options are available when looking to extract telemetry material, whether that be passive monitoring, active measurement, or a hybrid approach. An increasingly common practice is the piggy-backing of telemetry information onto the data packets that are passing through the network. This tactic is being utilized within both in-situ OAM (IOAM) and in-band network telemetry (INT), as well as in an alternate marking performance measurement (AM-PM) context.

At Marvell, our approach is to provide a diverse and versatile toolset through which a wide variety of telemetry approaches can be implemented, rather than being confined to a specific measurement protocol. To learn more about this subject, including longstanding passive and active measurement protocols, and the latest hybrid-based telemetry methodologies, please view the video below and download our white paper.

WHITE PAPER, Network Telemetry Solutions for Data Center and Enterprise Networks

February 22nd, 2018

Marvell to Demonstrate CyberTAN White Box Solution Incorporating the Marvell ARMADA 8040 SoC Running Telco Systems NFVTime Universal CPE OS at Mobile World Congress 2018

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

As more workloads are moving to the edge of the network, Marvell continues to advance technology that will enable the communication industry to benefit from the huge potential that network function virtualization (NFV) holds. At this year’s Mobile World Congress (Barcelona, 26th Feb to 1st Mar 2018), Marvell, along with some of its key technology collaborators, will be demonstrating a universal CPE (uCPE) solution that will enable telecom operators, service providers and enterprises to deploy needed virtual network functions (VNFs) to support their customers’ demands.

The ARMADA® 8040 uCPE solution, one of several ARMADA edge computing solutions to be introduced to the market, will be located at the Arm booth (Hall 6, Stand 6E30) and will run Telco Systems NFVTime uCPE operating system (OS) with two deployed off-the-shelf VNFs provided by 6WIND and Trend Micro, respectively, that enable virtual routing and security functionalities.  The CyberTAN white box solution is designed to bring significant improvements in both cost effectiveness and system power efficiency compared to traditional offerings while also maintaining the highest degrees of security.

CyberTAN white box solution incorporating Marvell ARMADA 8040 SoC

 

The CyberTAN white box platform is comprised of several key Marvell technologies that bring an integrated solution designed to enable significant hardware cost savings. The platform incorporates the power-efficient Marvell® ARMADA 8040 system-on-chip (SoC) based on the Arm Cortex®-A72 quad-core processor, with up to 2GHz CPU clock speed, and Marvell E6390x Link Street® Ethernet switch on-board. The Marvell Ethernet switch supports 10G uplink and 8 x 1GbE ports along with integrated PHYs, four of which are auto-media GbE ports (combo ports).

The CyberTAN white box benefits from the Marvell ARMADA 8040 processor’s rich feature set and robust software ecosystem, including:

  • both commercial and industrial grade offerings
  • dual 10G connectivity, 10G Crypto and IPSEC support
  • SBSA compliancy
  • Arm TrustZone support
  • broad software support from the following: UEFI, Linux, DPDK, ODP, OPTEE, Yocto, OpenWrt, CentOS and more

In addition, the uCPE platform supports Mini PCI Express (mPCIe) expansion slots that can enable Marvell advanced 11ac/11ax Wi-Fi or additional wired/wireless connectivity, up to 16GB DDR4 DIMM, 2 x M.2 SATA, one SATA and eMMC options for storage, SD and USB expansion slots for additional storage or other wired/wireless connectivity such as LTE.

At the Arm booth, Telco Systems will demonstrate its NFVTime uCPE operating system on the CyberTAN white box, with zero-touch provisioning (ZTP) feature. NFVTime is an intuitive NFVi-OS that facilitates the entire process of deploying VNFs onto the uCPE, and avoids the complex and frustrating management and orchestration activities normally associated with putting NFV-based services into action. The demonstration will include two main VNFs:

  • A 6WIND virtual router VNF based on 6WIND Turbo Router which provides high performance, ready-to-use virtual routing and firewall functionality; and
  • A Trend Micro security VNF based on Trend Micro’s Virtual Function Network Suite (VNFS) that offers elastic and high-performance network security functions which provide threat defense and enable more effective and faster protection.

Please contact your Marvell sales representative to arrange a meeting at Mobile World Congress or drop by the Arm booth (Hall 6, Stand 6E30) during the conference to see the uCPE solution in action.

February 5th, 2018

Marvell SoC Technology Underpins Powerful pfSense Secure Gateway

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager at Marvell

Marvell’s ground-breaking ARMADA® 38x processor series continues to see momentum in integration into new network and security designs. Most recently, the ARMADA 385 processor has been incorporated into Netgate’s new SG-3100 product offering.

Netgate’s objective with the SG-3100 was to bring to market an entry-level secure gateway solution that offered substantially more horsepower than competing products in the same price range. The target criteria for the new design were:

  • Significantly greater performance
  • A broader range of functionality
  • Flexible configuration to suit customers’ particular needs

Marvell’s engineering team was pleased to collaborate with Netgate on this ambitious project.

Figure 1: Netgate SG-3100 powered by Marvell ARMADA 385 Processor

 

The SG-3100 exhibits a high degree of flexibility and can be employed as a security firewall, LAN, router or WAN router, or VPN solution. It can also act as a DHCP server or DNS server, as well as providing intrusion detection system (IDS) and intrusion prevention system (IPS) capabilities. This extremely configurable unit comes equipped with 8GB eMMC Flash data storage or two m.2 SATA-based solid-state drives (SSDs), and also supports the LTE standard. Thanks to its Marvell® 88E6141 4-port switched LAN interface, the compact, cost-effective product easily facilitates bridging multiple wired and wireless networks.

Several factors drove Netgate’s decision to use Marvell’s ARMADA 385, starting with the ARMADA 38x ecosystem, which includes the ARMADA 38x ClearFog community board from SolidRun, and the ARMADA 38x FreeBSD port developed by Semihalf. Additionally, an increasing number of pfSense users had requested access to a board that provided three Ethernet ports, especially for dual-WAN operation. The ARMADA 385’s extensive embedded connectivity satisfies this need.

Based on the Arm® Cortex®-A9 topology, the ARMADA 385 system-on-chip (SoC) at the heart of the SG-3100 provides highly effective, dual-core processing capabilities. The SoC has a total of three Ethernet ports – two that support 1 Gbps data rates and a third capable of supporting either 2.5 Gbps or 1 Gbps. In the SG-3100 design, the ARMADA 385 is accompanied by Marvell’s 88E6141 multi-port Ethernet switch, which also supports 2.5Gbps operation through one of its ports.

The Netgate SG-3100 runs at 1.6GHz and is ideal for small offices and domestic environments. And thanks to the constituent IC technology, this solution packs serious throughput at a very compelling price.

 

January 29th, 2018

Marvell Named a Top 100 Global Innovator for the Sixth Consecutive Year

By Kelvin Vivian, Director of Intellectual Property

The term ‘innovation’ is frequently used in business today. For many, the term means providing ideas out of the blue, which lead to mind blowing discoveries and achievements.

While this might be the perceived outcome of innovation, the reality is that true innovation can arise in a variety of different forms and can have any sizeable impact, and a healthy dose of creativity and idea sharing must be encouraged if businesses are to effectively harness the innovative potential of its employees.

At Marvell, we pride ourselves on working together collaboratively and creatively and this enables employees to be the most innovative versions of themselves, and such is what largely contributes to our sixth consecutive year of inclusion in the Clarivate Analytics Top 100 Global Innovators list.

Placement on the list has become the standard measure for innovation across the world and is recognized as a significant achievement. The award itself is based in part on global reach — we hold more than 9,000 patents worldwide — grant success rates and influence of patented technology, and it serves as a testament to Marvell’s culture of innovation and commitment to providing differentiated, breakthrough technology solutions.

While inclusion on this list provides a celebratory point of reflection for all of us at Marvell, it also is a reminder of the work that lays ahead of us and our colleagues across industry who, while competing, also share a common passion and goal, which simply put – is to make technology that makes life better. And in today’s market especially, it’s more important than ever that we and our partners continue to push the boundaries of innovation at every turn. As the physicist Albert Einstein said, “You can’t solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level.”

So while we extend our congratulations to colleagues and competitors alike, without whom there would be no yardstick to measure ourselves by and no goal to aim for; we can’t wait to see what new innovations and types of critical and creative thinking this year will bring.

See you all on the other side!