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Freescale Chips Target Software-Defined Networking

Embedded processor maker Freescale Semiconductor this week introduced new chips targeting software-defined networking (SDN) systems.

The new QorIQ LS2 family of system on a chip (SoC) processors is based on 64-bit ARM cores and works with the company's Layerscape architecture, a programmable packet-processing technology designed to abstract hardware complexity.

Freescale said the chips are designed to help customers deal with the exploding universe of network endpoints resulting from the growing Internet of Things (IoT) and nascent 5G technologies in a world of increasingly virtualized networks. The new realm of network virtualization, exemplified by SDN and related technologies such as the OpenFlow communications control protocol and network functions virtualization (NFV), must deal with an ever-increasing avalanche of data that must be secured, analyzed and transported.

"We recognized the paradigm shift toward the era of SDN/NFV two years ago, when we first announced our next-generation of QorIQ platforms built on Layerscape architecture," said company executive Tom Deitrich. "With today's introduction of QorIQ LS2 products, we are fulfilling our commitment to deliver exceptionally advanced SoC technology that simultaneously boosts ease-of-use for our customers while dramatically enhancing network performance."

Along with debug, I/O and acceleration technologies, the chips use a new, C-programmable packet processing engine designed to abstract hardware complexity, letting customers focus on applications. To that end, the packet processor comes with C-based libraries to use with common network protocols and functions.

The QorIQ LS2 architecture comes with an integrated L2 switch, which the company said enables interconnect and peripheral functionality, providing a complete SoC solution with lower power requirements, a smaller form factor, lower cost and fewer parts. Programming the multicore chips is made easier by the abstraction of functions such as setup, initialization and teardown, Freescale said. Users can call resources and accelerators via standard APIs and Linux objects.

"The QorIQ LS2 family is specifically designed for SDN/OpenFlow switching, NFV solutions, wireless access, enterprise routing and datacenter processing applications," the company said.

Freescale said the new chips will be available in the second half of this year and hinted at "plans for a complete ARMv8-A-based portfolio of multicore processors to be disclosed later in 2014."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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