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Freescale touts quad multicore processors for network edge

Posted: 29 Jul 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Freescale  multicore processor  network edge  NFV  IoT 

Freescale has announced its plan to make significant headway in "network edge" in customer premise equipment (CPE) and Internet Service Provider systems with the release of its latest QorIQ network processors. To meet the growing need for offering a number of Web services directly to the consumer, Freescale added its latest generation of network processors to its QorIQ-based LayerScape family: the LS1088A octal and LS1048A quad multicore processors, both based on ARM's 64bit Cortex-A53 cores.

According to Matt Short, senior QorIQ product engineer, these network processors are specifically designed for intelligent edge access equipment, network function virtualisation (NFV) and virtual CPE solutions, industrial control systems, and intelligent virtualised network interface card (NIC) applications using software defined network protocols and building blocks.

Short said that unlike the Internet backbone, where the raw bandwidth of the processors in the data forwarding plane of a network switch is all important, in the intelligent network edge market it is more important to have the ability to adapt quickly to changing system and end user needs in the control or management plane.

ARM A53

ARM Ltd's A53 brings a lot of muscle to Freescale's eight core QorIQ network edge processor (Source: Freescale)

Traditional uses of the Internet will test the download capabilities of hardware at the network edge. At the same time, novel Internet of Things applications will test their limits not only in dealing with the amount of activity, but also the latency and upstream traffic management loads.

With current approaches, even simple cloud mediated IoT applications such as turning on a light or a fan could cause unpredictable latencies from sensing, wireless transmission, gateway processing, Internet delivery and cloud processing. There are also different kinds of traffic to manage: high bandwidth dominates in traditional applications but IoT applications that use the cloud will require much more upstream traffic. IoT applications, however, generate data at the edges of the network, a pattern that could easily saturate router/switch's ability to manage traffic.

To address these needs, the latest iteration of the QorIQ processor architecture incorporates four to eight A-53 processors in the management plane as well as two 10Gb/s and eight 1Gb/s Ethernet wire rate processors and a 10Gb/s advanced I/O processor for use in complex packet processing in a network switch data-routing plane. To give the hardware as much flexibility as possible, the devices incorporate a second-generation programmable data path architecture (DPAA2), which incorporates acceleration engines that allow virtualised network fast swapping through the use of sophisticated sharing techniques.

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