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XScale net board runs Linux OpenWrt

Aug 11, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 61 views

Gateworks Corp. announced a new line of power-sipping networking boards called the Cambria Network Platform. The first Cambria device is the GW2358-4, which ships with an OpenWrt Linux-based board support package (BSP) and optional dev kit, and is primarily designed for wireless applications, says Gateworks.

(Click for larger view of the Cambria GW2358-4)

The Cambria GW2358-4 is targeted at multi-radio wireless access points, mesh networks, backhauls, repeaters, and VPN appliances, says the company. The board incorporates an Intel IXP435 XScale processor clocked at 667MHz. Shipping early last year, the IXP435 integrates an XScale core with a pair of network processor engines (NPEs) — programmable processing elements with their own instruction and data memory. Other IXP435 features include DDR1/2 memory controllers, dual hi-speed USB 2.0 (480Mbps) host ports, cryptographic accelerators, and a high-speed serial (HSS) interface.

Intel IXP435 NPU diagram
(Click to enlarge)

The GW2358-4 offers 128MB of DDRII-400 SDRAM and 32MB of flash, with a CompactFlash socket for expansion. The “4” in the board's name stems from its four Type III Mini-PCI sockets, which can be used to expand the system with wireless radio interface cards. The board also includes two Ethernet ports, two USB 2.0 Host ports, a serial port, and a variety of other I/O. A GPS receiver and an additional serial port are optional.

Supporting Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), the GW2358-4 typically consumes only six Watts, says Gateworks. The board is touted for its broad 8-48VDC input range and its reverse polarity and transient protection, which together are said to support applications ranging from automotive devices to solar and battery-powered wireless installations. The power supply supports up to four simultaneous Mini-PCI radios that can be used for 802.11ab/g, 802.11n, or WiMAX, says the company. The dimensions and front panel connector locations are said to be compatible with the Avila GW2348, a member of Gateworks's previous-generation Avila Platform.

Specifications listed for the Cambria GW2358-4 include:

  • Processor — Intel XScale IXP435 667MHz
  • Memory — 128MB DDRII SDRAM
  • Flash — 32MB; 1 x CF socket
  • Mini-PCI — 4 x Type III slots
  • Networking — 2 x 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet
  • USB — 2 x USB 2.0 (Host) ports
  • Serial — 1 x RS-232 port; optional RS485 port
  • Cryptography support — SHA-1, SHA-256, SHA-384, SHA-512, MD5, DES, 3DES, AES
  • Other features:
    • GPIO
    • 1K Serial EEPROM
    • Battery-powered real-time clock
    • Voltage and temperature monitor
    • Thermally activated fan controller
    • Watchdog timer
    • Front-panel LED and push-button reset
    • Optional Trimble Copernicus GPS
  • Power — 8 to 48VDC input range; 6W typical consumption; reverse voltage and transient protection; supports PoE
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 185 degrees F (-40 to 85 degrees C)
  • Operating system — OpenWrt Linux

Cambria GW2358-4 Dev Kit
(Click to enlarge)

The GW2358-4 is preloaded with Redboot Boot-Loader and OpenWrt, a community-supported Linux distribution. OpenWRT first achieved popularity with hardware hackers bent on improving off-the-shelf consumer electronics products, such as the classic Linksys WRT54G WiFi router, LinkSys NSlu2 NAS appliance, or the new NetGear WGR614L WiFi router (the supported devices list currently lists 76 products). However, OpenWrt has also recently started to show up in commercial routers, such the Netgear WNR2000, according to Andy Boyett, an OpenWrt developer who keeps some diffstats for Netgear's implementation, here.

In addition, a hardware/software development kit is available as a separate option. The Cambria GW2358-4 Dev Kit (pictured at right) adds a USB JTAG flash programming interface, a passive PoE power supply/injector, a cable set, and a Linux development CD that includes the OpenWrt-based BSP.


The Cambria GW2358-4 is shipping now for prices starting at $330, or $243 in OEM quantities, says Gateworks. Customized versions are said to be available for volumes as low as 100 pieces. The Cambria GW2358-4 Dev Kit costs $410 per unit. More information may be found here.

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