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Archive for January, 2017

January 27th, 2017

Flashback Friday: How Santa Clara Valley Traded Fruit Trees for Silicon

By Sander Arts, Interim VP of Marketing

Before Silicon Valley became synonymous with high-tech and innovation, it was known as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight.” This expansive piece of land boasting acres of orchards just south of San Francisco would grow to become the future home to some of the world’s most innovative tech companies.

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Looking back at the area’s history, it’s no surprise that it would someday inspire a culture where groundbreaking tech comes to life in a garage, college dorm room or even at a kitchen table. The story of Silicon Valley itself begins in a garage, with two Stanford grads William Hewlett and David Packard, who would later found Hewlett-Packard in 1939. Throughout the next decade, entrepreneurs and scientists would come to the Santa Clara Valley to explore radio, military and electronic technology, laying the groundwork for the future hotbed of innovation.

Birthplace

By 1953 notable tech companies began to officially establish ground in Santa Clara Valley with property in Stanford Industrial Park, closely followed by the area’s first semi company in 1956. With the Space Race in full force throughout the 1960s, the country experienced a heightened focus on the need for advanced silicon technologies and the valley began to take shape as the country’s hub for advanced high tech. Due to the sheer number of silicon companies in the park and growing attention on the semi industry, the area was officially coined “Silicon Valley” in an Electronic News series published in 1971.

Over the next 30 years, some of the world’s most groundbreaking technology companies would make their way to Silicon Valley. Marvell officially became a part of the phenomenon in 1995, right in the middle of the dot.com bubble. Since then, we’ve seen firsthand how the tech scene has grown exponentially through innovation and entrepreneurship. The startup mentality that originated in 1939 and which continues to boom in the 21st century inspires us to continue improving, innovating and challenging technology of today. At Marvell, we are confident in our vision for the future of silicon, data and cloud technologies and look forward to being a part of the next generation of great entrepreneurs, thinkers and tinkerers in Silicon Valley.

Marvell-campus

January 20th, 2017

The New Scaling Paradigm: Ethernet Port Extenders

By Michael Zimmerman, Vice President and General Manager, CSIBU

Over the last three decades, Ethernet has grown to be the unifying communications infrastructure across all industries. More than 3M Ethernet ports are deployed daily across all speeds, from FE to 100GbE. In enterprise and carrier deployments, a combination of pizza boxes — utilizing stackable and high-density chassis-based switches — are used to address the growth in Ethernet. However, over the past several years, the Ethernet landscape has continued to change. With Ethernet deployment and innovation happening fastest in the data center, Ethernet switch architecture built for the data center dominates and forces adoption by the enterprise and carrier markets. This new paradigm shift has made architecture decisions in the data center critical and influential across all Ethernet markets. However, the data center deployment model is different.
 

How Data Centers are Different

Ethernet-ExtendersEthernet port deployment in data centers tends to be uniform, the same Ethernet port speed whether 10GbE, 25GbE or 50GbE is deployed to every server through a top of rack (ToR) switch, and then aggregated in multiple CLOS layers. The ultimate goal is to pack as many Ethernet ports at the highest commercially available speed onto the Ethernet switch, and make it the most economical and power efficient. The end point connected to the ToR switch is the server NIC which is typically the highest available speed in the market (currently 10/25GbE moving to 25/50GbE). Today, 128 ports of 25GbE switches are in deployment, going to 64x 100GbE and beyond in the next few years. But while data centers are moving to higher port density and higher port speeds, and homogenous deployment, there is still a substantial market for lower speeds such as 10GbE that continues to be deployed and must be served economically. The innovation in data centers drives higher density and higher port speeds but many segments of the market still need a solution with lower port speeds with different densities. How can this problem be solved?
 

Bridging the Gap

Fortunately, the technology to bridge lower speed ports to higher density switches has existed for several years. The IEEE standards codified the 802.1br port extender standard as the protocol needed to allow a fan-out of ports from an originating higher speed port. In essence, one high end, high port density switch can fan out hundreds or even thousands of lower speed ports. The high density switch is the control bridge, while the devices which fan out the lower speed ports are the port extenders.
 

Why Use Port Extenders

In addition to re-packaging the data center switch as a control bridge, there are several unique advantages for using port extenders:

  1. Port extenders are only a fraction of the cost, power and board space of any other solution aimed for serving Ethernet ports.
  2. Port extenders have very little or no software. This simplified operational deployment results in the number of managed entities limited to only the high end control bridges.
  3. Port extenders communicate with any high-end switch, via standard protocol 802.1br. Additional options such as Marvell DSA, or programmable headers are possible.)
  4. Port extenders work well with any transition service: 100GbE to 10GbE ports, 400GbE to 25GbE ports, etc.
  5. Port extenders can operate in any downstream speed: 1GbE, 2.5GbE, 10GbE, 25GbE, etc.
  6. Port extenders can be oversubscribed or non-oversubscribed, which means the ratio of upstream bandwidth to downstream bandwidth can be programmable from 1:1 to 1:4 (depending on the application). This by itself can lower cost and power by a factor of 4x.

 
 
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Marvell Port Extenders

Marvell has launched multiple purpose-built port extender products, which allow fan-out of 1GbE and 10GbE ports of 40GbE and 100GbE higher speed ports. Along with the silicon solution, software reference code is available and can be easily integrated to a control bridge. Marvell conducted interoperability tests with a variety of control bridge switches, including the leading switches in the market. The benchmarked design offers 2x cost reduction and 2x power savings. SDK, data sheet and design package are available. Marvell IEEE802.1br port extenders are shipping to the market now. Contact your sales representatives for more information.

 

January 18th, 2017

The Four Most Exciting Wireless Audio Trends

By Jawad Haider, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Wireless Connectivity Business Unit

As chips are becoming smaller and more powerful, the wireless audio market is continuing to rapidly grow. According to MarketsandMarkets, the wireless audio industry is expected to reach $54.07 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 23.2 percent between 2016 and 2022. High performance, low power wireless and Bluetooth/ Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) solutions have been key enablers of the growth of wireless audio, providing the technology for companies to develop connected audio solutions that have the throughput and range needed for high-resolution wireless, integrated with the extended battery life consumers expect for portable devices.

Multi-channel and multi-room wireless audio solutions are two key trends that have seen an increase in consumer adoption. However, to enable consumers to seamlessly stream their favorite tunes throughout their homes, there are a few key technological challenges with range and synchronization that must be addressed.

Marvell’s newest Avastar® wireless connectivity solutions make range limitations a thing of the past for many home and enterprise audio applications. Marvell’s high performance and low power Avastar combos incorporate Dynamic Multi-Hop Relay (DMHR) Technology to connect up to 15 devices in a daisy-chain fashion, extending the range of traditional Wi-Fi networks 15 times from 40m to almost 600m in a typical home. Additionally, Marvell has enabled other exciting features, such as connecting up to 31 clients to a speaker or sound bar which acts as a soft access point.

Diagram showing a daisy-chain wireless audio setup

Diagram showing a daisy-chain wireless audio setup

To make every microsecond of audio count, Marvell’s Avastar solutions provide cutting-edge audio synchronization across devices and rooms. Combining Marvell’s advanced Wi-Fi technology, support for the 802.11mc standard, and hardware time-stamping synchronization algorithms developed by our partners, Avastar delivers best-in-class smart connected solutions.

Another key trend in the wireless audio space, is the emergence of voice assisted products like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Marvell is working closely with all voice-enabled ecosystems to be at the forefront of technology enablement for this new category of products.

From portable speakers to advanced soundbar systems, Marvell’s advanced wireless technology is embedded in many of the most popular audio products on the market today. To learn more about Marvell’s wireless solutions, please visit: www.marvell.com/wireless. You can also read more about wireless trends and standards in my Q&A with Electronic Design’s Bill Wong http://electronicdesign.com/wifi/qa-what-s-new-wireless-audio-market.

January 18th, 2017

Marvell on the Move as Devices are Getting Smarter and the Volume of Data is Exploding

By Sander Arts, Interim VP of Marketing

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We are only a couple of weeks into the New Year and already have a glimpse of how the industry will take shape in 2017 and beyond. It has been a ritual for the Marvell team, and most major players in the technology ecosystem, to start the first week of the year showcasing the cutting-edge solutions of today and tomorrow at CES. This year, the Las Vegas expo floor showed us that everyday objects, as well as cars, are getting smarter and are taking on new capabilities, signaling new demands for the industry to address.

Say “Hello” to the Car of the Future

The race to fully autonomous cars continues with new automotive tech ranging from improved sensors for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to new displays and infotainment systems. Automakers introduced the integration of cloud-based voice assistants, which is bound to revolutionize the way we will interact with our cars.

Virtual Reality Wants to Get Real

Virtual reality (VR) developers focused on creating better content and tools to bring VR to the mainstream. Companies shared plans for gesture tracking and untethered headsets to deliver immersive experiences for gaming, entertainment and enterprise applications. In the near future, we can expect access to more VR, augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) content and experiences, such as shopping in virtual retail stores.

The AI of Everything

While automotive tech and VR continued to have a big presence at CES like in past years, artificial intelligence (AI) was one of the stars of the show. We saw more devices—beyond robots and smartphones—touting AI capabilities as automakers and home appliance manufacturers showcased exciting voice control integrations in cars, fridges, washing machines, TVs and more.

Amid all of the hype around the technologies that took center stage at this year’s CES, it was clear that data remains at the heart of our connected world. With advancements in connectivity comes the explosion of digital traffic as data is created, accessed, stored and moved to the cloud by billions of connected devices, appliances, cars, enterprises and more. Autonomous cars, VR and AI all depend on high bandwidth video and data to deliver smart and seamless experiences for consumers.

MOVE_Reliably

 

At CES Marvell demonstrated how we are enabling the ecosystem to overcome its toughest data storage and network bandwidth challenges with our advanced solutions for the cloud, automotive, industrial, enterprise and consumer markets. Our automotive Ethernet physical layer (PHY) transceiver provides the robust 1000BASE-T1 connectivity needed to distribute data between the multiple advanced in-vehicle systems of tomorrow’s cars.

As data is moved and stored from consumer devices to the cloud, data centers can take advantage of our support for a range of Ethernet technology speeds for even greater accessibility, including our Prestera® switches, Alaska® Ethernet transceivers and ARMADA® 64-bit ARM-based modular SoC families for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), 25 GbE and 40 GbE. We also demonstrated at CES our recently announced 25GbE end-to-end data center solution which underscores our commitment to delivering high performance, cost-effective and energy-efficient computing solutions to keep up with today’s increasing bandwidth demands.

What we saw at CES validates the work we do at Marvell, providing industry-leading solutions that help our customers move and store data fast, securely, reliably and efficiently across a wide range of applications, systems and platforms. For whatever new demands and challenges the market brings in 2017, Marvell is on the Move.

January 18th, 2017

Marvell Honored with 2016 Analysts’ Choice Award by The Linley Group for its Storage Processor

By Marvell, PR Team

Linley
We pride ourselves on delivering innovative solutions to help our global customers store, move and access data—fast, securely, reliably and efficiently. Underscoring our commitment to innovation, we were named one of the Top 100 Global Innovators by Clarivate Analytics for the fifth consecutive year. In further recognition of our world-class technology, we are excited to share that The Linley Group, one of the most prominent semiconductor analyst firms, has selected Marvell’s ARMADA® SP (storage processor) as the Best Embedded Processor in its 2016 Analysts’ Choice Awards.

Honoring the best and the brightest in semiconductor technology, the Analysts’ Choice Awards recognize the solutions that deliver superior power, performance, features and pricing for their respective end applications and markets. The Linley Group awarded this prestigious accolade to Marvell for its ARMADA SP and recognized the solution’s high level of integration, high performance and low-power operation.

Marvell’s ARMADA SP is optimized for the rapid development of high-efficiency and high-density storage solutions for the enterprise and data center markets. With a highly integrated, scalable and flexible architecture, the ARMADA SP incorporates state-of-the-art interfaces and acceleration engines for advanced data processing capabilities, and to support TCO-minded hyperscale environments.

To learn more about Marvell’s SP solution, visit: http://www.marvell.com/storage/armada-sp/.

January 13th, 2017

Marvell Named One of Top 100 Global Innovators

By Kelvin Vivian, Director of Intellectual Property

Top-100-Innovators

Innovation is the lifeblood of any technology organization. Markets change overnight – if you stand still you fall behind, become irrelevant and soon cease to exist. This is what makes Silicon Valley exciting and scary at the same time.

Products change over time, but one thing Marvell has remained constant with is our commitment to innovation. That’s why we are so honored to be recognized this week as one of the Top 100 Global Innovators by Clarivate Analytics, formerly the Intellectual Property and Science business of Thomson Reuters. This is the fifth year Marvell has made this global “Who’s Who” list of innovators, and that’s thanks to every one of our 5,000 employees who put their ideas, energy and ingenuity to work here every day.

The award is based in part on global reach — we hold more than 9,000 patents worldwide — grant success rates and influence, and it serves as a testament to Marvell’s culture of innovation and commitment to providing differentiated, breakthrough technology solutions.

“Skate to where the puck is going, not where it’s been.”

— Wayne Gretzky

 
We do a lot to promote the great products we bring to market, but what doesn’t get said is how much work our engineers do with partners, standards committees, and in end markets to understand where markets are going, and how we can help our customers differentiate their solutions from the competition.

A great example is our pioneering work in automotive Ethernet. This innovation has been five years in the making, but because we understood autonomous driving would become a reality, we were able to work with standards groups and auto suppliers to create a new way to move sensor data throughout a car. As a result, we can provide the interoperability, performance, and scalability mainstream auto manufacturers need to build autonomous cars. Uber and others talk about creating fleets of driverless cars – with Marvell’s technology, it’s now possible.

This is just one of the many innovative ideas born inside Marvell. As you can imagine, there are thousands of others. By giving our employees the freedom to explore, fail and persevere, we generate not only the patents but the products that keep us one step ahead in the market.

If this sounds like a place where you want to work, check out our careers page.

January 13th, 2017

Marvell and Mythware Introduce “Classroom Cloud” in Primary and Secondary Schools

By Yong Luo, Marvell China CSI Technical Support Director

Recently, Marvell and local China customer Nanjing Mythware Information Technology Co., Ltd. (Mythware), cooperated to create a brand new wireless network interactive teaching tool –the Mythware Classroom Cloud. Compact and exquisitely designed, this wireless network teaching solution is the first brand new educational hardware product based on Mythware’s more than 10 years of experience in education informatization and multimedia audio and video technologies.

mythware

The introduction of the Mythware Classroom Cloud, as well as its supplementary interactive classroom software, effectively solves some common wireless network equipment-related teaching application challenges, such as instability, frequent dropping offline and data transmission errors. Thus, the innovative Interactive teaching can be successfully carried out wirelessly. This not only enhances the efficiency of teaching, but also brings new vigor and vitality into primary and secondary classrooms.

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The Mythware Classroom Cloud incorporates a complete set of Marvell high-performance Wi-Fi enterprise-class wireless solutions, offering 2.4G and 5G operating frequency bands, and wireless throughput of up to 1900Mbit/s. The solution includes a dual-core 1.6GHz CPU – the ARMADA® 385. It also uses Marvell’s Avastar® 88W8864 – an 802.11ac 4X4 Wi-Fi chip. And, last but not least, the unit boasts a four-port Gigabit Ethernet transceiver, Marvell’s Alaska® 88E1543. Marvell’s solutions have been widely used in the Cisco enterprise cloud and Linksys high-end routers.

The Marvell ARMADA 385 CPU chip, with super data processing and computing capability, is built into the Mythware Classroom Cloud. It provides strong protection for sending and receiving large-capacity cloud files in the classroom. The CPU also provides abundant interfaces, so you can connect hard drives directly through the SATA 3.0 interface, which helps the Mythware Classroom Cloud to support up to 8TB of storage.

This is especially important for schools with poor network conditions. Teachers can upload resources such as courseware to the Classroom Cloud’s hard drives before school time, and call on the resources directly in class. That enables students to enjoy multimedia teaching resources immediately and without interruption, effectively solving problems caused by inaccessible networks or limited network bandwidth. The Mythware Classroom Cloud enables full real-time interconnection between teacher’s and student’s end devices, sending and receiving documents, arranging homework and accessing teaching resources in real time, without needing them to be forwarded by campus servers.

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One of the biggest highlights of the Mythware Classroom Cloud is that its lightweight body contains “wireless” super energy. Marvell’s Avastar 88W8864 802.11ac 4X4 wireless chip significantly improves the bandwidth utilization, as well as further upgrading data transmission capacity and reliability. It also provides trusted network support for a variety of multimedia file transmission in the wireless network teaching environment, ensuring the stability of classroom interactions.

One of its outstanding features is that teachers can use the wireless network in the classroom to send high-definition video (8Mbit/s) to more than 60+ mobile terminal devices with different operating systems, completely in sync and without delay. At the same time, teachers no longer have to worry about screen-pausing problems when broadcasting a PPT screen or demonstrating 3D graphic models.

And, when teachers use some interactive features (such as group teaching, sharing the whiteboard, initiating discussion and quick answer, survey and evaluations) during the teaching process, the problems of intermittent playback and the network dropping offline are solved.

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In addition, the Alaska 88E15433 Ethernet transceiver chip mounted in the Marvell solution provides stable and reliable Gigabit Ethernet connections, and Marvell’s 88PG877 power management chip provides voltage stability for the Mythware Classroom Cloud. It also supports flexible power supply modes: local AC and 802.3af PoE powering. With its special rotary chuck design, the Mythware Classroom Cloud equipment can be easily installed on classroom walls or ceilings.

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Mythware was founded in 2007, and for the past 10 years its main business has been educational software. Its core product – classroom interactive system software – enjoys a market share of up to 95% in China. It also supports up to 24 different languages, and is exported to over 60 countries and regions. Domestic and global users now exceed 31 million. By 2017, Mythware plans to fully transform into an integrated hardware and software supplier, focusing on intelligent hardware, big data, cloud platform, and will continue to release a large number of new hardware products and solutions. New opportunities for cooperation between Marvell and Mythware will continue to emerge.