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10G WiFi gateway runs OpenWRT on 64-bit Freescale QorIQ

Sep 11, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 6,315 views

Freescale unveiled a Linux-based 10Gbps, residential WiFi gateway reference design based on its quad-core QorIQ LS1043A SoC and a Quantenna 802.11ac router.

The Linux-based QorIQ LS1043A residential gateway is “the industry’s first 10Gbps Internet plus 10Gbps Wi-Fi enabled home gateway solution,” claims Freescale Semiconductor. The design was co-developed with Quantenna Communications, which is supplying its QSR10G 10G Wave 3 802.11ac WiFi router, announced on Sept. 9, the same day the Freescale gateway was revealed. Back in June Quantana demonstrated an early version of the gateway, without revealing many details.

QorIQ LS1043A 10G Residential Gateway Reference Design board and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The QorIQ LS1043A residential gateway supports Linux-based security, video streaming, and networking applications with “dramatic boosts in bandwidth, throughput and quality of service,” says Freescale, which will soon merge with NXP. Like other recent Linux-based WiFi routers, such as Google’s OnHub and the mesh-enabled Eero, the solution aims to, in the words of Freescale, “meet rising demand for home access points that can manage and support increasing numbers of Wi-Fi devices.” By categorizing wireless and Internet traffic for streaming and time-sensitive priority, the gateway can optimize gaming, video streaming and Internet voice quality, says the chipmaker.

Quantenna’s QSR10G 10G Wave 3 802.11ac Wi-Fi solution supports up to a dozen 802.11ac streams. The system features “True 8×8” adaptive, multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) technology on 5GHz networks, as well as a 4×4 MIMO configuration for 2.4GHz. The solution supports up to 1024 QAM modulation, as well as a 10Gbps copper or fiber WAN connection.

QorIQ LS1043A SoC

The Freescale gateway combines the 10G Wave 3 solution with its 64-bit, ARMv8 QorIQ LS1043A system-on-chip. This quad-core, 1.6GHz Cortex-A53 SoC was announced in 2014 but has only recently begun sampling.

QorIQ LS1043A SoC block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The QorIQ LS1043A is part of Freescale’s networking-oriented LS1 Layerscape line announced in 2013 as the first of the previously PowerPC based QorIQ SoCs to move to ARM. In June of this year, Freescale unveiled two more QorIQ LS1 SoCs, both with 64-bit Cortex-A53 cores: the octa-core LS1088A and quad-core LS1048A. The chipmaker is now planning a Cortex-A72 LS2 QorIQ model.

The QorIQ LS1043A, which was announced with a similar, dual-core LS1023A model, is billed as the first ARMv8 Gateway SoC with a 10G interface. It’s designed for broadband gateway applications, with a special focus on next-generation edge networking equipment. such as fiber and xDSL residential gateways, branch routers, security appliances and SDN/NFV edge platforms, says Freescale.

The QorIQ LS1043A integrates 1MB L2 cache, and has typical power consumption as low as 5 Watts, says Freescale. In addition to the 10GbE interface, it supports five gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as three PCIe, three USB 3.0, and a SATA 3.0 interface.

The SoC integrates virtualization hardware, and supports secure over-the-air software updates using Freescale’s trust security architecture. The SoC offloads latency sensitive applications for “optimized performance with proven classification and traffic management hardware,” says Freescale.

The QorIQ LS1043A residential gateway is supported with Freescale’s OpenWRT Linux based residential gateway Application Solution Kit (ASK), which implements low-level routing and security acceleration functions, and also provides CodeWarrior toolchain. In addition to the OpenWRT BSP, there are optimized third-party software solutions to support development with OSGi, Java, Android, and IMS/VoLTE.

Other QorIQ- and Linux-based Freescale gateway reference designs include the LS1021A-IoT Gateway Reference Design, which was built by manufacturing partner TechNexion. Running on a dual-core, Cortex-A7 QorIQ LS1021A, the gateway is designed for industrial Internet of Things communications.

“Delivering on the promise of Quantenna’s 10G Wave 3 Wi-Fi product family demands a level of packet processing performance that was previously the exclusive domain of high-end enterprise networking equipment, yet today Freescale is uniquely positioned to bring power-efficient, multi-gigabit performance to the home,” stated Nikolay Guenov, director of Product Management for Freescale’s Digital Networking group.

“The optimized security and 10G performance of Freescale’s LS1043A processor opens the door for next-generation user applications and enhanced quality of wireless experience in the home,” stated Lionel Bonnot, SVP of Marketing and Business Development for Quantenna.

Further Information

Freescale’s QorIQ LS1043A residential gateway reference design is planned for availability in the fourth quarter, and the QorIQ LS1043A processor is sampling now. Quantenna is now sampling its QSR10G Wave 3 product family to early access partners. More information on the gateway may be found in the Freescale QorIQ LS1043A residential gateway announcement. More information on the OpenWRT Linux-based Application Solution Kit (ASK) may be found in this ASK datasheet [PDF] for the similar dual-core LS1024A.

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