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Dual-core network processors sample with Linux

Jun 15, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 29 views

Fabless chip-maker Mindspeed Technologies is sampling a family of inexpensive, dual-core, ARM11-based network processors targeting voice-enabled CPE (customer premises equipment) for use by small-to medium-sized enterprises. The “Comcerto 100” chips are accompanied to market by an OpenWRT Linux BSP (board support package) and design kit.

MindSpeed's Comcerto 100 chips are based on dual ARM11 cores clocked at 450MHz. In a typical configuration, one core runs the OpenWRT Linux distribution, handling control and service processing, while the other runs MindSpeed's binary-licensed “media stream processor” executive. Written in ANSI C, the executive handles protocol-specific data/signal processing, with some field upgradability — for example, to support evolving 802.11n standards, MindSpeed said.

Alternatively, a “flexible” architecture permits “either or both” of the Comcerto 100 chips' ARM11 cores to be used for applications or packet processing, the company said.

MindSpeed Comcerto 100 (m821xx) function block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Specific chip models currently include:

    M82104 — 4CH VoIP Processor
    M82108 — 8CH VoIP Processor
    M82152 — Integrated 2CH VoIP Fast Ethernet Broadband Router SoC
    M82154 — Integrated 4CH VoIP Fast Ethernet Broadband Router SoC
    M82170 — Gigabit Ethernet Broadband Router SoC
    M82172 — Integrated 2CH VoIP Gigabit Ethernet Broadband Router SoC
    M82174 — Integrated 4CH VoIP Gigabit Ethernet Broadband Router SoC
    M82190 — Broadband ATM Router SoC
    M82192 — Integrated 2CH VoIP Broadband ATM Router SoC
    M82194 — Integrated 4CH VoIP Broadband ATM Router SoC

OpenWRT BSP and development kit

The Comcerto 100 chips are supported by an OpenWRT Linux BSP design kit comprised of:

  • MindSpeed's aforementioned binary-licensed “media stream processor” executive
  • An OpenWRT Linux BSP with source for all drivers
  • Hardware design files
  • Documentation
  • Web-based application development support

The OpenWRT BSP includes the open U-Boot bootloader, a Linux 2.6-series kernel, filesystem, drivers, web-based configuration system, make files, and a VoIP-enabled PBX application. Combined with Mindspeeds binary data-plane stack, it is said to support “carrier-class” VoIP via dozens of QoS algorithms, IPv4/6, virtual private networking and firewalls, 3DES & null SHA-1 authentication, and packet filtering.

MindSpeed currently offers two hardware reference boards built around Comcerto 100 chips. These are:

  • Gigabit Ethernet broadband packet Internet access device [screenshot]
  • Gigabit Ethernet broadband router reference board [screenshot]

MindSpeed maintains an “OpenMind” third party developer ecosystem comprised of Wind River, LynuxWorks, Jungo, and Digium, among other notable veterans of the embedded Linux development and support market.

Preet Virk, business director, stated, “Our new Comcerto 100 Series provides unprecedented price/performance in a range of pin-compatible devices. The same software architecture [can] support broadband home routers, enterprise service routers, and high-end integrated access devices.”


MindSpeed's Comcerto 100 (M821xx) product family is currently sampling. It is expected to ship in volume in Q3, priced from $13 to $40 in volume.

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