Quad-core 64-bit 2GHz ARMv8 SoCs enter volume production

21st April 2016
Jordan Mulcare

Broadcom Limited has announced volume production of its series of quad-core 64-bit 2GHz ARM v8 Cortex-A57 communication processors, the StrataGX BCM5871x, targeting a broad range of networking applications including virtual CPE (vCPE) and NFV appliances, 10G service routers and gateways, control plane processing for Ethernet switches, and Network Attached Storage (NAS).

The BCM5871x combines advanced computing, networking and virtualisation functions on a single SoC with the industry’s first quad-core A57 CPU delivering 34,000 DMIPS below 10W, providing unprecedented levels of integration and setting a bar on performance and power efficiency.

Next gen Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) use virtualisation to collapse multiple dedicated appliances into single virtual CPE (vCPE) systems. These vCPE platforms run several virtual network functions (VNF’s) such as vFirewalls and vRouters simultaneously in software. This allows service providers to more rapidly deploy services, thus increasing their revenues and also reduces both their Capex and Opex by consolidating equipment and reducing maintenance costs. The BCM5871x integrates a server-class network interface controller with virtualisation, stateless offloads, and packet processing capabilities, which significantly improves overall system performance when running multiple VNFs on chip, providing an industry leading vCPE platform.

"According to our IHS Infonetics global service provider surveys, operators are investing their time and energy into deploying vCPE as #1 among the many NFV use cases,” stated Michael Howard, Senior Research Director and Advisor, IHS Technology. “Operators also consider vCPE as the #1 use case for helping to drive new revenue, the #1 for lowering capex, and the #1 to improve operational efficiencies.”

“Our customers across a wide range of applications demand low power, high performance ARM based processors,” said Ed Redmond, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Compute and Connectivity Division at Broadcom. “The StrataGX processor family has led the industry in migration to ARM processors, particularly in the retail and enterprise wireless router markets, as well as in service provider and enterprise switch/router control plane applications. By being first to production with a low-power 2GHz quad-core A57 ARM CPU, we are further cementing our leadership in the markets we serve, as well as driving into new markets such as SDN, NFV and vCPE.”

“Broadcom was early to embrace ARM ISA with its StrataGX SoC line, and as a result is well-positioned to gain share in this transition,” said Jag Bolaria, principal analyst, The Linley Group. “The new generation of StrataGX BCM5871x multi-core ARMv8 products offers balanced performance, power, and integration for OEMs and ODMs seeking a flexible ARM SoC solution for next generation SDN and NFV applications.”

BCM5871x Key Features:

  • Quad-core ARM Cortex-A57 64-bit 2GHz ARMv8-A CPU architecture
  • Hardware virtualization support
  • Integrated vNIC, and FlexSPARX v2 accelerator for packet processing
  • 2x 10GE + 2x 2.5GE (25G total), RGMII management, and IEEE 1588v2 timing
  • TruFlow integrated flow processing engine
  • 64/72-bit DDR3/DDR3L/ DDR-4 2133/2400 memory interface with optional ECC
  • 8 Lanes of PCIe supporting different lane widths and RC and EP functionality
  • Advanced power management modes (WoL, WoWLAN, WoActivity)
  • Yocto-compliant LDK with pre-integrated Switch SDK & WLAN drivers
  • Support for open source projects and development models (KVM, OpenStack, Open vSwitch, OpenDaylight, DPDK, and ODP™)

Broadcom will showcase the BCM5871x in the Broadcom Booth #40 at the NFV World Congress 2016 in San Jose, California from April 20th to 22nd. In addition, Broadcom and ecosystem partner ENEA will demonstrate an ARM-based vCPE platform. The collaborative demonstration will show an OPNFV-compliant multi-layer virtualization platform built on top of the BCM5871x SoC for deploying VNFs using OpenStack and VNF service layer management with NETCONF and YANG.

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