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Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

October 13th, 2016

Marvell Unveils Industry’s First 25G PHY Transceiver Fully Compliant to IEEE 802.3by 25GbE Specification

By Venu Balasubramonian

Alaska C 88X5123 enables adoption of 25G Ethernet in datacenters and enterprise networks

Server room in data center.

Server room in data center.

Growing demand for networking bandwidth is one of the biggest pain points facing datacenters today. To keep up with increased bandwidth needs, datacenters are transitioning from 10G to 25G Ethernet (GbE). To enable this, IEEE developed the 802.3by specifications defining Ethernet operation at 25Gbps, which was ratified recently. We are excited to introduce the high performance Marvell Alaska C 88X5123 Ethernet transceiver, the industry’s first PHY transceiver fully compliant to the new IEEE 25GbE specification.

Availability of standards-compliant equipment is critical for the growth and widespread adoption of 25GbE. By delivering the industry’s first PHY device fully compliant to the IEEE 802.3by 25GbE specification, we are enabling our customers to address the 25GbE market by developing products and applications that meet this newly defined specification.

In addition to supporting the IEEE 802.3by 25GbE specification, our 88X5123 is also fully compliant to the IEEE 802.3bj 100GbE specification and the 25/50G Ethernet Consortium specification. The device is packaged in a small 17mm x 17mm package, and supports 8 ports of 25GbE, four ports of 50GbE or two ports of 100GbE operation. The device also supports gearboxing functionality to enable high density 40G Ethernet solutions, on switch ASICs with native 25G I/Os.

With support for long reach (LR) SerDes, and integrated forward error correction (FEC) capability, the 88X5123 supports a variety of media types including single mode and multi-mode optical modules, passive and active copper direct attach cables, and copper backplanes. The device offers a fully symmetric architecture with LR SerDes and FEC capability on host and line interfaces, giving customers the flexibility for their system designs.

For more information on Marvell’s Alaska C 88X5123 Ethernet transceiver, please visit:

October 6th, 2016

Marvell PHYs for Low-Latency Industrial Ethernet

By Kaushik Mittra

Part 1 of Two-Part Series

Introducing the Marvell 88E1510P/1512P/1510Q Family of PHY Products

Traditionally Ethernet has been used in enterprise applications – we are familiar with its use in our office environments. But the IEEE 802.3 family of standards is constantly evolving. Industrial networks present their own set of challenges, and Ethernet with its components are evolving again to address the needs of the factory floor. Connectivity hardware that can offer low-latency, enhanced electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection while operating in extended temperature environments is invaluable to industrial network implementation. The Marvell 88E1510P/88E1512P/88E1510Q family of PHY (physical layer device) products was designed from the ground up in collaboration with leaders in industrial automation and has been vetted for use in the most demanding industrial applications.

A multitude of communication protocols are used in industrial networks today including EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, Profinet and SERCOS III. These are independent and proprietary offerings from different vendors. But what they share in common is the goal to deliver real-time Ethernet to industrial automation applications under harsh environmental conditions. The typical elements of an industrial network might include programmable logic controllers (PLCs), motor controllers and drives, sensor networks and human machine interfaces (HMIs). These elements are connected on the Ethernet backbone using a protocol such as EtherCAT or Profinet. The network topology might be hub-spoke (star) or linear. Regardless of network topology, the goal is to provide precise control and synchronized timing information to each of the nodes. If the topology is a long daisy chain, then each node has to perform with the most optimized latency to enable fast request/response cycle times through the system.


Looking for a Low-Latency PHY?

Protocols such as EtherCAT have to process the Ethernet packet and insert new data into the frame as it passes through in real-time. For real-time applications, this imposes tight restrictions on the latency through the switch and PHY. With this requirement in mind, we designed the Marvell 88E1510P/1512P/1510Q family of PHY products to address the stringent latency needs of tier-1 industrial customers. The table below shows that the Marvell low-latency PHY operates 30-40 percent faster as compared to non-optimized implementations.


While the data shown above is the default configuration, significantly lower latencies are possible with register programming. The sum total of transmit and receive latency was less than 400ns across the entire range, as shown below.


The small latency variation observed (from min to max) is due to the presence of synchronization circuits in the transmit path. Typically a FIFO (first in, first out queue) is used in the transmit path to compensate for any PPM (parts-per-million) differences between the transmit circuits and receiving circuits. Depending on packet size and the number of entries in the FIFO, a small variation in latency can be observed.

(Note: When the PHY is used for precision-time protocol- (PTP-) based timestamping applications, the presence of the FIFO does not affect the accuracy of the timestamps. The timestamps are taken closest to the wire, eliminating the FIFO uncertainty).

Future Proof with 1000BASE-T

While 100BASE-TX speeds are sufficient for the majority of factory applications today, there is a growing need to support 1000BASE-T. Since the installation of industrial equipment and networks is capital-intensive, it is prudent to use a PHY device that can future-proof network speed requirements up to 1000BASE-T. The Marvell 88E1510P/1512P/1510Q family of PHY products supports 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, and 1000BASE-T. The low latency ranges observed in 1000BASE-T mode is shown below.


Extended Temperature Operation and ESD support

In an industrial environment, it is difficult to control temperatures on the plant floor, where surrounding equipment may operate at high temperatures and where it can be difficult to provide good ventilation. Industrial motors and robots connected by an Ethernet network often have to weld metals at very high temperatures.

This requires the PHY to operate in environments where the ambient temperature remains high throughout the entire duration of operation (for more than several hours). The Marvell 88E1510P/1512P/1510Q family of PHY products was designed to operate in ambient operating temperature ranges of minus -40 0C to 85 0C degrees (or 125 0C maximum junction temperature.)

In addition to high temperature, industrial environments can also lead to accumulation of electric charge within the machinery. To shield against high voltage surges, the Marvell PHY has enhanced ESD protection circuits. We tested the Marvell PHY in the robust testing environments of some of the largest industrial electronics OEMs who approved the device from an ESD perspective.

Packaging and Interface Options

The Marvell 88E1510P/1512P/1510Q family of PHYs is offered in 48-pin or 56-pin QFN packages. It also offers a variety of host interface options such as RGMII, MII and SGMII. For information on specific features, please review the attached product selector guide.

In conclusion, connectivity hardware that can offer enhanced ESD protection, low-latency and operate under extended temperature ranges is gaining popularity in industrial networks. The Marvell 88E1510P/1512P/1510Q family of PHYs offers these key benefits to implement in any real-time industrial Ethernet network.

June 1st, 2016

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

By Yaniv Kopelman

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:, or read the full press release.

May 15th, 2016

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

By Ron Cates

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:

February 11th, 2015

Marvell Selected by The Linley Group as 2014 Analysts’ Choice Award Winner

By Amit Avivi

Linley Group Analyst AwardThe Linley Group has announced the winners of its annual Analysts’ Choice Awards, and we are thrilled to share the news that the Marvell Prestera® 98DX4251 has been selected as the Best Networking Chip of 2014. The Marvell Prestera 98DX4251 is our next-generation packet processor designed to enable performance- and cost-optimized solutions for a broad range of platforms in the service provider and campus environments.

Bob Wheeler, Principal Analyst, Networking at The Linley Group shared his thoughts with us on our award win, “We selected Marvell’s Prestera 98DX4251 packet processor as the Best Networking Chip because its feature set advanced the state-of-the-art for Carrier Ethernet aggregation switches. By offering five levels of carrier-class hierarchical QoS along with virtualization and tunneling capabilities, the 98DX4251 enables delivery of highly differentiated services in the access and aggregation layers of next-generation networks.”

The Linley Group Analysts’ Choice Awards recognize the top semiconductor products of 2014 in seven categories: PC/server processors, mobile processors, embedded processors, processor-IP cores, networking chips, mobile chips, and best technology. The team of technology analysts from The Linley Group evaluate the merits of the leading products based on the combined impact of performance, power, features and cost of each device for a given end system and market. You can read more about the 2014 Awards winners here.

We thank The Linley Group for honoring us with this award and recognizing the contributions of leading processor offerings in powering innovative capabilities for the industry.

January 16th, 2015

Search No More — Marvell Breakthrough Questflo Network Search Engine Scales Up to 8 Million Flows

By John Chiang

According to Cisco Forecasts¹, in three years mobile data traffic is projected to hit 11.2 exabytes per month (1 exabyte = 1 billion gigabytes) and will experience a 66 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2012 to 2017.


The demand for mobile Internet and Internet of Things (IoT) are amongst the drivers of this growth, as well as wearables and automotive connectivity. Not only is there an increase in the number of services and apps being used on mobile devices, but the number of devices per person has increased as well. For example, a user may stream video, access social networking or enterprise work applications, or run any number of apps from a single mobile phone, as well as own a tablet and wearable, like an iwatch, creating even more traffic. And all of this activity must be backhauled or aggregated to the Cloud at some point, leaving network providers and carriers in a constant quest to keep up with this explosive growth while providing high Quality of Service levels and enhanced security.

Today’s Ternary Content Addressable Memory (TCAM)-based solutions are unable to address the future scaling requirements of bandwidth and service to keep up with the explosive growth. The industry has been tinkering around with other network search engine solutions, yet none have been able to satisfy on all fronts: performance, density, power, cost, form factor and reliability. SRAM-based solutions to date have not offered the performance needed for such applications, and TCAMs that are added to gain more density become costly and run hot, exceeding the expected power and thermal and requirements of these networking systems.

Another driver is the shift from a forwarding paradigm to a flow-based management paradigm, where new services may not be IPv4- or IPv6 protocol-driven but protocol independent. New classes of Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) platforms will require such flexibilities at high capacity with deterministic latency and throughput to support these networks of the future.

Marvell recently announced, a major technology breakthrough with its Oct. 20 introduction of the Marvell Questflo™ 98TX1100, a groundbreaking Static Random Access Memory (SRAM)-based network search engine that delivers 4X capacity at 1/3 the power consumption to address the needs of next generation networking equipment. Targeted for the design of carrier and enterprise service/edge routers, security appliances, network probes, data center switches, servers, load balancers and the new classes of SDN and NFV platforms, the Questflo 98TX1100 is scalable to 8 million flow entries and can make 2.4 billion decisions per second. In addition to offering the performance and density needed, the Marvell solution operates at only 25W. When combined with a Marvell Xelerated 400 Gbps wire-speed network processor produces and ARMADA XP ARM-based embedded control processor, the new network search engine from Marvell provides a complete solution architecture to help next-generation equipment providers collectively support the exponential growth of mobile and IoT devices.


This Marvell breakthrough was summed up well by Bob Wheeler, Principal Analyst for Networking at The Linley Group: “As next-generation networking equipment adopts new paradigms based on highly flexible and highly scalable flow-based services, Marvell is entering the market as a credible supplier of network search technology. The magnitude of scaling required by these new equipment designs can only be realized using innovative new approaches like that represented by Questflo.”

By addressing the needs of next-generation networking equipment on all fronts – performance, density, power, cost, form factor and reliability – we believe the search for the next-generation search engine is over, the answer is Questflo.

¹Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017, © 2013 Cisco