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February 5th, 2018

Marvell SoC Technology Underpins Powerful pfSense Secure Gateway

By Maen Suleiman, Senior Software Product Line Manager

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.

 

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