Freescale Semiconductor introduced the QorIQ LS1043A communications processor – the industry’s most power-efficient 64-bit ARM-based processor for the virtual network. The system-on-chip helps edge network equipment manufacturers easily scale power and performance to meet the changing needs of the world’s highly virtualised, software-defined networks.
Cloud and data center technologies are increasingly deployed in branch offices, retail stores and even residences, driving demand for standard, flexible and low-power platforms. Meanwhile, service providers’ multiple “box” service delivery solutions are quickly giving way to a model of fewer on-premises gateways, since numerous services can now be consolidated into less on-site equipment. As virtual network functions and cloud orchestration technologies continue to mature, virtual CPE (vCPE) systems hold the potential for lower service provider opex and capex via reductions in local IT management costs and fewer physical devices to be deployed.
With network functions migrating from routers to virtual and third party providers, new, edge platforms must have the intelligence to determine which users and applications are best delivered locally, and which are less latency dependent. Likewise, edge platforms must support highly secure, performance-optimised virtual machine environments and be able to authenticate new software delivered from corporate and service provider administrators.
Freescale’s new QorIQ LS1043A quad-core processor is engineered to address these dynamics, delivering precise blends of intelligence, integration, security and performance to enable the new “intelligent edge.” The fanless SoC delivers 1.5 GHz of performance and requires power as low as just 6 W to operate. This remarkable combination of performance and energy efficiency is ideal for affordable vCPE products and other next-generation edge networking equipment, such as branch routers, security appliances and SDN/NFV edge platforms.
“Freescale is driving affordable virtualised services by delivering outstanding performance, efficiency and intelligence to the network’s edge,” said Tareq Bustami, vice president and general manager of product management for Freescale’s Digital Networking group. “This new QorIQ LS1043A processor reinforces Freescale’s leadership in providing the world’s top equipment OEMs with optimised platforms for broadly deployed, secure and flexible edge services.”
Based on the core-agnostic, software-aware Layerscape system architecture, the QorIQ LS1043A device integrates four 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 cores, delivering 10+ Gbps and an estimated 16,000+ CoreMarks of CPU performance. The device features advanced virtualization hardware, supports flexible, secure cloud application updates with Freescale’s trust architecture, and offloads latency sensitive applications for optimised local performance with proven classification and traffic management hardware.
For maximum configuration flexibility, the QorIQ LS1043A includes a wide range of high-speed I/O for wired and wireless systems including 10 GbE plus 5x 1GbE, 3x PCI Express, 3x USB 3.0 with PHYs and SATA 3.0. Freescale’s multi-protocol QUICC Engine module is also incorporated for integrated support of legacy wide area and industrial interfaces.
“Featuring 64-bit performance and low power consumption, the new QorIQ LS1043A processor adds to Freescale’s increasingly broad portfolio of ARM-based embedded SoCs,” said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group. “The first Cortex A53-based multicore device targeting the networking space, this new product is well suited for the growing market of intelligent-edge networking equipment including security appliances, SDN/NFV edge platforms and other fanless, power-efficient applications.”
Comprehensive development support
The combination of Freescale’s deep networking expertise and ARM’s expansive ecosystem gives designers access to comprehensive tools to streamline development. The QorIQ LS1 family is supported by Freescale’s LS1 development platforms, along with third-party platforms from Freescale’s embedded board solutions partners. Evaluation kits will include a Linux 3.12 BSP with optimised drivers to support peripherals and a six-month evaluation license for CodeWarrior development tools. Freescale’s VortiQa software provides complete software stacks for enterprise and SDN, AIS application identification software for SMB networking applications, security appliances and cloud equipment. And QorIQ LS series devices are also supported by Freescale’s extensive third-party ecosystem.
In addition, Freescale is a member of Linaro, a collaborative engineering organization focused on open source software for the ARM architecture. Freescale’s contribution to Linaro includes active participation in Linaro’s Networking Group, where programs such as OpenDataPlane are underway to promote a standard API that supports cross-platform interfaces for different networking data path hardware.
Freescale at the Linley Tech Processor Conference
Freescale Semiconductor is a Platinum Sponsor of the Linley Processor Conference, occurring October 22-23, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, California. While at the event, the company will host an exhibit table during the October 22 evening reception showcasing the latest QorIQ solutions built on Power Architecture and ARM technology. Freescale will present during two sessions on October 22. John Arends, a Freescale Fellow and director of systems and architecture, will present at 10:50 a.m. on “Enabling the Intelligent Edge.” Peter Newton, a senior software architect at Freescale will present at 3:10 p.m. on “Enhanced Performance through Advanced Packet Processing.”