Mindspeed aims to capitalize on MIPS woes
June 11, 2012 // Nick Flaherty
Mindspeed Technologies is aiming to capitalize on the uncertainties surrounding the future of MIPS Technologies with a family of multi-core devices for communication infrastructure based around 1.2GHz ARM cores
The Comcerto 2000 family of device provides wireline speed processing for security, traffic and content management and caching at the edge of the network in devices such as next generation 802.11ac wireless network routers. These have so far been dominated by devices using MIPS cores from companies such as Broadcom.
With Software Defined Networking (SDN) at the edge of the network in set top boxes and wireless access points, the new processors enable a new generation of products for switching, routing, security, multi-service gateways, enterprise class wireless access points & controllers, network attached storage and Voice-over-IP (VoIP) applications says Rupert Baines, vice president of strategy for Mindspeed. “There’s a lot of ARM devices moving into these new markets,” he said. “This opens up a lot of new opportunities and market for us in residential, enterprise and networking equipment for small and medium businesses.”
The first two devices in the series are Comcerto C2100 and C2200 with single core and dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A9 processors, respectively, with symmetric multi-processing (SMP), coherent level two cache and ARM TrustZone security. Both include Mindspeed’s Open Packet Acceleration Logic (OPAL) engine, a wire rate gigabit-speed programmable data-path acceleration engine, I/O and peripherals, as well as support for DDR3 with ECC. This enables a new class of cost-effective products that support new protocols and higher speeds with lower power consumption. Silicon, carrier-grade software and Linux software design kits (SDK) are sampling now.
In addition to the ARM subsystem, OPAL is a collection of fully-programmable wire speed network accelerators, which include engines for IPv6 packet forwarding / Network Address translation (NAT), firewall/VPN, IPSec/SSL security processing, Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), QoS and storage network processing. Through intelligent offloading, the Comcerto C2000 range supports wire rate Gigabit-per-second IPv6 NAT and firewall applications without using the ARM processors keeping them fully available to run value-added applications from OEMs or service providers. For example, in wireless enterprise access points for dual-band, multi-radio 802.11 ac, the system can offload Wi-Fi and protocol packet processing at 450Mbit/s while the ARM cores are available to run enterprise class services such as policy, authentication and roaming.
“The Comcerto 2000 is the first in a new family of high-performance multi-core ARM-based communications processors from Mindspeed,” said Marco Bello, executive director of marketing and product management of the communications convergence processing (CCP) business unit at Mindspeed. “We are building on the proven success of the dual core Comcerto 1000 processor, widely deployed in carrier-grade networking products around the world, to deliver industry changing price, power and performance to our customers. The Comcerto 2000 processor family with the OPAL engine brings the capability of software defined networking to a new class of products.”
The first two devices in the new family, the C2200 dual-core and the C2100 single-core, are sampling to lead customers now. Carrier grade software and Linux SDK are also sampling now. Future devices in the family will include higher count multi-core, virtualization support and software support for additional vertical markets and technologies such as SDN.
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