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Open source design Fig. 3: Freescale’s 24-core QorIQ comms processor comes equipped with all the open source software needed for 10- to 40-G network switches and routers. (Source: Freescale) designs. “Now with SDN and the virtualization of network functions in software, our business there has exploded and we now have a diverse family of offerings using not only the X86, but network processor SoCs from the likes of Broadcom, Freescale, and Netronome.” The company’s most recent offering in this market is its ESP- 9112 network switch, which uses Freescale Semiconductor’s QorIQ T4242, a 24-core communications processor that is capable of scaling from current 10 Gigabit/second performances to leading edge 40 G and higher. Stevens said that what the engineers at Freescale have done right is not only to provide an extremely powerful processor for the network switch market that is able to scale up in data throughput without significant software changes, but also to do a lot of work providing the critical software needed. In addition to an open source Linux OS, Freescale supplies its T4242 platform hardware platform with software for standards based protocols such as OpenFlow, and supports manageability through open technologies such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight. It also includes VNF support, commercial grade SDN software supporting OpenFlow version 1.3 with extensions for Layer 4 and above protocols, and Layer 2/3 forwarding. “That is the same strategy many of the network processor suppliers are beginning to use widely,” said Stevens. “And if they did not we would come in and provide the software support ourselves, because that is what this new market requires.” He said that while traditional network providers such as Hewlett Packard and Cisco still dominate the market with their proprietary solutions, their long term survival depends on how quickly they can jump onto the same network software standards bandwagon. If they do not, I suspect there are a lot of companies out there who are very willing to step in and take their place. Freescale S32 ups automotive ante By R. Colin Johnson Today’s automobiles contain from 70 to 280 microcontrollers, from the engine control unit to the dashboard liquid crystal display, to the automotive driver assistance system, to the automatic brake system. There’s also all the low-end microcontrollers that roll-up the windows, manage the interior environment, blink the blinkers, and dozens more functions we take for granted. Freescale Semiconductor is already supplying microcontrollers for the high-end functions - about 70% of the job - but now it wants to tackle the low-end functions too, with its new family of S32K microcontrollers--derived from its eight-bit S08 and 12-bit S12 families, but now 32-bits wide. “Freescale has created a new 32-bit ARM-based hardware platform - the S32K - for automotive applications which can perform about 30% of the operations needed in a modern car,” Manuel Alves, global product line manager at Freescale told EE Times in advance of the announcement at the Freescale Technology Forum 2015. Freescale will also offer a functional-safety compliant software design studio free of charge to “make the life of the software engineer much easier by providing an open-source software-tool environment.” The design studio will include reusable modules from Freescale and third parties that are all compatible with the whole spectrum of ARM-based ecosystem partners, ultimately shortening the product development cycle. The entire software development kit - from drivers, to middleware (Core Self Test, LIN Stack, Automotive Math and Motor Control Library), to the real time operating system - are Fig. 1: The Freescale S32K with an ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller (seen block diagram) is the first of a family that fills out the low-end of its automotive hardware offerings. Source: Freescale all provided open-source and for free including the applicationprogrammer interfaces to premium tools ecosystem partners such as IAR Systems and Cosmic Software. “What this proves is that Freescale is still fully committed to automotive market - in fact automotive is key to Freescale since they ship a million units per day to automotive manufacturers - second only to Renesas - and when they merge with NXP, Freescale will be number one in automotive,” Jim McGregor, founder and principal analyst at Tirias Research (Phoenix, Ariz.) told EE Times. “Today’s cars are more like smartphones than R. Colin Johnson is Advanced Technology Editor at EE Times – www.eetimes.com 34 Electronic Engineering Times Europe July-August 2015 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE JULAUG 2015
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