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April 29th, 2021

Back to the Future – Automotive network run at speed of 10Gbps

By Amir Bar-Niv, VP of Marketing, Automotive Business Unit, Marvell

In the classic 1980s “Back to the Future” movie trilogy, Doc Brown – inventor of the DeLorean time machine – declares that “your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.” At Marvell, engineers are doing just that by accelerating automotive Ethernet capabilities: Earlier this week, Marvell announced the latest addition to its automotive products portfolio – the 88Q4346 802.3ch-based multi-gig automotive Ethernet PHY.

This technology addresses three emerging automotive trends requiring multi-gig Ethernet speeds, including:

  1. The increasing integration of high-resolution cameras and sensors
  2. Growing utilization of powerful 5G networks
  3. The rise of Zonal Architecture in car design

1. Increasing integration of high-resolution cameras and sensors

The main applications for a high-speed network in a car are cameras and displays with uncompressed video streams. Cameras are now upgrading from resolutions of 720p to 1080p, moving to 4K and even 8K within a few years. In addition, the pixel size (color depth) has increased to 16 and 24 bits per pixel, with the refresh rate moving to 60 frames per second. The result? The bandwidth needed to carry the high-resolution video will need to grow correspondingly. While 1Gbps used to be sufficient, there are now many use cases that require data rates up to 10Gbps and beyond (see Figure 1).

Infotainment and high-resolution displays are also driving the need for high-speed video over the in-vehicle backbone. At last year’s CES in Las Vegas (remember those big trade shows, before Covid?) the Byton M-Byte’s jumbo, 48-inch interior screen grabbed headlines. But the revolution in car displays is really just starting. Dashboard displays with integrating touchscreen, controls and ambient lighting in complex 3D forms will be common features in future cars. Holograms and Changeable Surface Textures are new technologies that automotive designers are integrating into display screens.

Technologies such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Google-based infotainment suites, effectively transform these displays into extensions of our smartphones and smart homes, including support for video-conferencing that combines high-res displays and cameras.

Similarly, side mirrors – while still useful – are seeing their roles supplanted as well, as cameras integrating images of surrounding traffic now cover a much greater field of view. Soon, augmented reality technologies, based on high-resolution OLED displays and fish-eye cameras, will also help warn us of potential trouble. Some OEMs are now planning up to 12 screens – a virtual megaplex inside the vehicle.

The upshot? The in-vehicle network (IVN) will need to support unprecedented bandwidth.

In addition to the cameras and displays, the car sensors, like radar and lidar, also rely on higher data speeds. Today, existing high-bandwidth sensor modules integrate a pre-processing IC for initial data analysis and object detection. The processed data is transmitted to the SoC/GPU over low-speed interfaces like CAN (up to 10Mbps) or 100M Ethernet links.

However, with the latest generations of high-compute power SoCs/GPUs handling the growing sensor data, the new trend is to eliminate completely the pre-processing units in the sensor module (see Figure 2). This shift will help to reduce:

  1. The cost of sensor modules
  2. The heat dissipation that pre-processing units in the sensor create, which degrades sensor performance.
  3. The latency created by the pre-processing algorithms (improve detection and response time).

To support this trend, these sensors are already upgrading from 100Mbps to 1Gbps Ethernet links, and within a few years are expected to require multi-gigabit rates. 

2. Growing Utilization of Powerful 5G Networks

While the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine dramatically reduced the time Americans spent commuting by car, as well as the number of cars sold, a new generation of vehicles promises to transform the automotive landscape in coming years. Not just more efficient electric vehicles, but more autonomous, connected vehicles empowered by the rollout of powerful 5G networks.

What are the advantages of 5G over current networks (like 4G)? To start with, 5G is fast. Real fast. From a peak speed perspective, 5G is 100x faster than 4G. This means almost instantaneous downloading of HD maps, movies, or over-the-air (OTA) applications and software updates.

Latency in 5G networks is also extremely low, enabling direct communication between of vehicles to everything (V2X) – vehicles, pedestrian, infrastructure, and cloud (Figure 3). Until now, vehicles had to communicate via a distant server. With 5G, vehicles can communicate directly with each other, exchanging key information about accidents, road conditions and other alerts. This 5G network is critical to autonomous transportation, which is designed to be safer, more efficient, and more sustainable. It will also offer passengers a rich experience in the car and better ways to use their time while on the road. This includes using interactive applications, watching movies, playing games or preparing for meetings as easily as they do at home.

To support 5G’s high speeds and low latency, automotive 5G modems and backbone networks within the vehicle will need to support speeds of 10Gbps and higher – speeds that Marvell’s multi-gig Ethernet PHY already enables. In addition, this technology enables OEM’s to leverage Ethernet’s high quality-of-service features to meet the demands of emerging vehicle-to-vehicle communication and related infrastructure.

3. The Rise of Zonal Architecture

In many vehicles, the wiring that connects the electronic and electric components is so complex and extensive that, were it laid end to end, all those cables would stretch over a mile. This cable spaghetti is also very heavy. Obviously, complexity and weight both add significant costs, first in terms of labor, as well as energy consumption while driving.

Despite these drawbacks, such spaghetti is still the norm rather than the exception. That’s because many of today’s new vehicles are still built around the concept of Domain Architecture, where extensive cable harnesses connect independent domains such as Body, Telematics, ADAS, Infotainment and Powertrain directly to components that are spread all over the car. Figure 4 offers a simplified diagram of a typical harness system.

Shedding the constraints of traditional wired harnesses, the most advanced vehicle designers are shifting toward Zonal Architecture, which leverages Ethernet as the backbone protocol between the car’s different zones. To support this concept, each zone of the car includes a Zonal Gateway – a switch that utilizes Ethernet to convert and aggregate the different domains and protocols, while preserving each protocol’s desired performance and quality of service (QoS). As Figure 5 illustrates, Zonal Architecture dramatically streamlines automotive wiring requirements, reducing cable, labor and energy costs.

The shift to Zonal Architecture becomes even more powerful when augmented with in-vehicle centralized computing and storage – an approach that is just emerging in the automotive industry. With a backbone that can leverage the speed and the benefits of Ethernet (switching, QoS, security, virtualization) and the growing computing power of the latest CPUs, many OEMs are now gravitating toward a central processing architecture (see Figure 6).

Along with the central processing comes the need for central storage, to store the most relevant data in a way that is secure, fast, easy and reliable to access.

To be able to aggregate the high bandwidth data of each zone over the zonal architecture, the Ethernet backbone needs to support data speeds of 10Gbps and higher.

Marvell track record with Multi-gig Ethernet

Marvell was the first company to introduce 10G Automotive Ethernet PHY (AQV107), in 2018, which supported 2.5G, 5G and 10Gbps speeds over automotive cables. Next, Marvell supported the development of a new IEEE standard for Multi-gigabit Ethernet Automotive PHY (IEEE’s 802.3ch), and is now sampling to customers the 88Q4346, IEEE compliant 10GBASE-T1 PHY.

In addition, the new line of automotive Ethernet switches that Marvell introduced in 2020 included multi-gigabit ports. The 88Q5072 is a highly integrated 11-port managed secured switch that support 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps ports, and the 88Q6113 supports two ports of 10Gbps.

What’s next? In 2019 Marvell initiated a call-for-interest (CFI) in IEEE for a new standard for Automotive Ethernet PHY at rates “beyond 10G”. As a result, a new IEEE group (802.3cy) is currently developing a standard for 25G, 50G and 100Gbps automotive PHY.

In summary, the decade ahead will be transformative for the automobile industry, as OEMs leverage remarkable innovations in Ethernet to integrate more high-resolution cameras and sensors, tap the power of 5G networks, and implement Zonal Architecture. And with Marvell’s help, the future may arrive faster than anyone, even Doc Brown, ever expected.

October 30th, 2020

Adhir Mattu Named Global Winner of the 2020 Bay Area CIO of the Year ORBIE Awards

By Lindsey Moore, Marketing Coordinator, Marvell

The BayAreaCIO recognized chief information officers in eight key categories – Leadership, Super Global, Global, Large Enterprise, Enterprise, Large Corporate, Corporate, and Nonprofit/Public Sector.

“The BayAreaCIO ORBIE winners demonstrate the value great leadership creates. Especially in these uncertain times, CIOs are leading in unprecedented ways and enabling the largest work-from-home experiment in history,” according to Lourdes Gipson, Executive Director of BayAreaCIO. “The ORBIE Awards are meaningful because they are judged by peers – CIOs who understand how difficult this job is and why great leadership matters.”

The CIO of the Year ORBIE Awards is the premier technology executive recognition program in the United States. Since inception in 1998, over 1,200 CIOs have been honored as finalists and over 300 CIO of the Year winners have received the prestigious ORBIE Award. The ORBIE honors chief information officers who have demonstrated excellence in technology leadership.

Congratulations again to our very own Adhir Mattu on this honorable win!

To learn more about the winners (Click Here)

October 30th, 2020

Matt Murphy Talks Inphi Acquisition on CNBC’s Squawk Alley

By Stacey Keegan, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Marvell

Yesterday Marvell announced its intent to join forces with Inphi, a leader in high-speed data movement. A premier company in the semiconductor industry, and one of the highest regarded companies in our space, Inphi’s highly complementary portfolio accelerates growth and leadership in cloud and 5G. The combination of the two companies is expected to create a U.S. semiconductor powerhouse with an enterprise value of approximately $40 billion.

Combined with explosive Internet traffic growth and the rollout of new ultra-fast 5G wireless networks, the importance of Inphi’s high-speed data interconnect solutions will only accelerate. The merged company will be uniquely positioned to serve the data-driven world, addressing high growth, attractive end markets – cloud data center and 5G.

President and CEO of Marvell, Matt Murphy had the opportunity to discuss the deal with CNBC’s Squawk Alley team after the news broke yesterday morning. Catch a replay of that video broadcast here to learn more.

Press Release: (Click Here)

Analyst commentary from Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy and Daniel Newman of Futurum Research: (Click Here)

October 9th, 2020

Matt Murphy Joins CNBC’s Jim Cramer for a Post Investor Day Discussion on Mad Money

By Stacey Keegan, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Marvell

Following the company’s 2020 Investor Day, Marvell President and CEO, Matt Murphy, joined Jim Cramer on CNBC’s Mad Money to discuss yesterday’s event highlights. Calling out significant growth opportunities across Marvell’s key market segments – including #5G, #DataCenter #Cloud and #Automotive – Murphy noted that adoption of both 5G and Cloud remain in the early innings and that Marvell is well positioned to see continued benefits from these long-term growth markets.

As working from home accelerates digital transformation, Marvell is building the next generation data infrastructure semiconductor technology that will power the world’s progress.

Watch more videos on the Marvell YouTube Channel & Subscribe:  (Click Here)

August 28th, 2020

Matt Murphy Talks Marvell’s Market Traction on CNBC’s Squawk Alley

By Stacey Keegan, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Marvell

Marvell President and CEO, Matt Murphy, discussed Marvell’s second quarter Earnings beat this morning with the CNBC Squawk Alley team. 

Marvell’s growth is being driven by our success in our key data infrastructure end markets. Particularly, in looking at 5G wireless infrastructure we have seen 4 consecutive quarters of sequential growth. Right now, this is particularly pronounced in China, where 5G is being rolled out. But with other countries working on rollout plans, and 4 of the top 5 base station vendors as Marvell customers, the growth from 5G is just beginning.

Marvell also has a large and growing data center business, with both enterprise on-prem datacenters and now the cloud. We announced last quarter that cloud is now over 10% of our revenue and growing fast. And the reason we are seeing strong growth is that we are producing the key storage and security products for cloud. This includes chips for huge multi-terabyte hard drives, where all cloud data is stored. It also includes our networking products, which doubled year-over-year. And finally, growth in this area includes Marvell’s custom products that came to us through a recent acquisition. This is how several of the larger datacenter operators like to buy chips. Where we build exactly what they want. 

Watch the full interview here.

July 22nd, 2020

The Six Five – Insiders Edition: The New Marvell – Interview with Chris Koopmans

By Stacey Keegan, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Marvell

Chris Koopmans, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Operations, recently joined Patrick Moorhead and Daniel Newman, hosts of the of The Six Five – Insiders Edition, to discuss the future of semiconductors and the critical role they’re playing in 5Gcloud, the automotive revolution, and the borderless enterprise.

I highly encourage you to watch the video all the way to the end. Don’t have the time to catch the full episode? Skip to the closing commentary from the analysts where you’ll hear Pat and Dan discuss Marvell’s mission and focus on transforming the data infrastructure architecture of the future.  

Watch the full episode here.

Or grab the audio here.

June 3rd, 2020

Matt Murphy Shares Marvell’s Transformation Journey and Market Insights on CNBC’s Mad Money

By Stacey Keegan, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Marvell

Marvell President and CEO, Matt Murphy, sat down with Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Mad Money for a virtual chat about Marvell’s focus on data infrastructure opportunities. Jim opened the segment congratulating Matt on a spectacular quarter and the company’s 25th anniversary: “This is not the Marvell of 25 years ago or even 25 months ago.”

With the company’s new brand identity on display, Matt explained: “It’s been a great 25-year celebration of the company this year. We’ve gone through a pretty substantial transformation really over the last 3-4 years…we set out to transform the company into a long-term player with a real focus around what we viewed as the data infrastructure opportunity and as you can see, as the strategy has played out over the last few years its extremely relevant in today’s environment with now major growth drivers of the company and our back in 5G, cloud, segments of enterprise and automotive.”

Matt continued by highlighting Marvell’s traction as one of the leading providers of Ethernet technology, powering the network backbone of future automobiles through partnership with 16 different car OEMs – 3 of which will ramp this year and the balance of them in model year 21.

When asked about the big gains in 5G, Matt affirmed the design wins the company has secured have resulted in “significant content across all the remaining key four players in 5G systems.”

Matt closed the interview explaining his focus on “solving for value and not overall aggregate revenue.”

To hear more about Matt’s discussion with Jim Cramer, watch the full video below.