1 6 7 8 9 10 20 Previous Next

Market Applications

292 Posts

Today’s cars are so complex electronically that they’re perhaps best thought of as mobile computer networks. The cars of tomorrow—which are already starting to appear today—will be increasingly connected—to the Internet, to each other, and to roadside wireless infrastructure.


The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has designated IEEE 802.11p as the basis for Dedicated Short Range Communications (DS_RC), by which a vehicle can communicate with other vehicles and roadside infrastructure. DSRC enables cooperative cruise control—cruising as part of a pack on the freeway—as well as collision avoidance, electronic road pricing and toll collection, electronic parking payment, and even braking for a red light that you may not have noticed. Beyond paying for tolls and parking DSRC could turn your car into a 4-wheeled wallet, enabling you to drive through your favorite fast-food or coffee outlet without having to dig out your credit card.

 

In order to provide all the functionality in your car of your smart phone—including navigation, communication, multimedia, gaming, and location-based services (“Where’s the nearest Italian restaurant?”)—the average new car may have as much as a mile of wiring inside and contain over a hundred separate electronic control units (ECUs) that communicate over a variety of networks and buses. Add to that all the cool functionality that DSRC can enable and the system gets exceedingly complex.

 

The very complexity of in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems raises serious security issues, since you’re connecting systems with consumer-grade security with mission-critical systems that control the operation of the vehicle.

 

Getting on the bus
One weak point is the CAN bus (Figure 1), over which the various ECUs communicate. While devices on the bus may be secure, the bus is not—which means the system as a whole is not. CAN is a message-based protocol with no built-in security features.

figure-1.jpg

Figure 1: The CAN bus ties together most automotive electronic control units (ECUs).

 

A couple of years ago the Center for Automotive Embedded Systems Security (CAESS) demonstrated the fragility of the underlying system structure. They connected a packet sniffer to the On-Board Diagnostics II (OBD-II) port to analyze CAN bus traffic. Using a wireless link they were then able to use that information to start and stop the car, race the engine, lock individual brakes, unlock the doors, and pretty much control the entire car.

 

Taking their hacking to the next level the CAESS team was then able to take over control of a vehicle remotely through its telematics system. They demonstrated that it’s possible to hack a car with malware inserted into an MP3 player or transmitted over a Wi-Fi connection. Devices relying on an 802.11p wireless connection may be particularly vulnerable.

 

Virtual IVI
While standards bodies are working on protocol vulnerability, auto makers are moving to reduce complexity by having a single ECU handle multiple functions. In these mixed-criticality systems real-time, safety-critical components must coexist with consumer infotainment applications. Developers can meet this goal with Intel® Atom™ processor-based platforms featuring Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) and the INTEGRITY Multivisor from Green Hills Software.


“When you’re mixing consumer-grade applications and you want security, you’re always going to have maliciousness or just software that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to,” explains Robert Redfield, Green Hills’ Director of Business Development . “That’s why you have to start at the very lowest level of software. If you’re going to have virtualization, it has to be at the microkernel level.”

figure-2.jpg

Figure 2: INTEGRITY Multivisor securely partitions off guest operating systems from mission-critical applications.

 

INTEGRITY Multivisor is both a secure Type-1 hypervisor and an RTOS. At the heart of INTEGRITY Multivisor is a certified microkernel that provides trusted partitioning of guest operating systems, applications, and peripheral driver software (Figure 2). Multivisor supplies only a minimal set of critical services, such as process management, exception handling, and interprocess communications. Multivisor is the only code that runs in supervisor mode, while the overlying operating systems and applications run in user mode, accessing only those resources deemed appropriate by the system engineer. For example, Multivisor will prevent a guest operating system from accessing physical memory beyond what was originally allocated to the guest’s virtual machine. This prevents a stack overflow, which malware can use to take over control of a system.

 

To address the security issues mentioned earlier, “You would put the drivers for the CAN bus and the Wi-Fi and the cellular radio in the mission-critical part of the operating system,” continued Redfield, “where they’re under the control of Multivisor. Multivisor is built on the most highly certified real-time operating system on the planet, that is INTEGRITY. So if you put one of those communication drivers in its own partition, if something goes wrong it’s contained.”

 

Complete IVI platform
Mission-critical applications need to operate in near real time, which is made possible by Intel’s AtomTM processor. Intel AtomTM N2000 and D2000 processors (codename Cedar Trail) provide hardware-accelerated virtualization. Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) speeds up the transfer of control between the hypervisor and the guest operating systems; it assists in trapping and executing certain instructions for the guest operating system, thereby accelerating performance. Intel VT is optimized for maximum virtualization performance, and its on-chip GPU accelerates 3D graphics to one or more screens while making minimal demands on the CPU.

 

The combination of INTEGRITY Multivisor and an Intel Atom processor provides a secure IVI platform that can run multiple guest operating systems and protected real-time applications simultaneously, using secure partitions to ensure real-time responsiveness and fault tolerance (Figure 3).

figure-3.jpg

Figure 3: The combination of INTEGRITY Multivisor and an Intel Atom processor provides a secure IVI platform.

 

LEARN MORE

Solutions in this blog:

Related topics:

 

Green Hills Software is an Affiliate Member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance and plays a critical role in developing and delivering robust operating systems with virtualization and advanced development tools and embedded solutions for embedded markets such as automotive, industrial, medical, military/government, and telecommunications.


John Donovan
Roving Reporter (Intel® contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance
Editor/Publisher,
Low-Power Design
Follow me on twitter: @jdonovan43

Smartphone interfaces have changed people’s expectations for how they interact with computers and other devices, and those expectations have extended even to sophisticated medical equipment. According to Darshan Patel, director of Linux product management for Wind River, Android is starting to show up in almost any kind of medical device that includes a display, from bedside monitors to CT scanners to programming devices for pacemakers. Why? Essentially the same reasons that Android is now the dominant operating system on smartphones.

Wind River Android.jpg

Medical staff and patients are used to the look and feel of Android-based applications, and they want the same advantages in their professional devices as they have in their smartphones, tablets, and even in-vehicle infotainment systems.

 

Wind River’s Tim Skutt, senior staff technical marketing engineer, says: “The touch interface has become ubiquitous. If we’re going to push equipment out into the non-specialist realm, we need to put that equipment in a paradigm they’re used to.” Medical devices with Android-based user interfaces (UI) take advantage of people’s comfort with touching, swiping, and flipping through menus and options. This familiarity can ultimately make training and usability quicker, easier, and more efficient.

 

Even though legacy technologies still maintain full functionality, the ease-of-use factor is becoming more important to aid user adoption. For patients, an Android interface on a medical device looks familiar and current, in contrast to traditional interfaces that can feel outdated. This is especially important as medical equipment goes into patients’ homes or is used by other care providers such as physical therapists. With today’s pressures to reduce healthcare costs, patients may be referred to less-costly outpatient care, or may be sent home from the hospital earlier but with devices that allow their care provider to monitor them remotely. In these cases, the patient’s confidence and comfort level with the technology can be an important element in encouraging its regular use.

 

Even beyond the UI, Android offers advantages for developers, such as programming flexibility, robust computing, built-in sensor interfaces, and built-in communications support, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. For developers who previously used Linux or a real-time operating system (RTOS) with a UI on top, Android offers a quick path to market with a fresh new look. Wind River’s director of engineering Rick Anderson explains that even if developers don’t need all of Android’s “bells and whistles” for their medical device today, the fact that those features are available lets manufacturers explore their options to address new market opportunities.

 

Android, security, and virtualization

Security and privacy are key issues for any kind of medical software. There’s a wide spectrum of medical device types, however, from those that are primarily designed to view information or handle records, to those that monitor or control medical processes, such as delivering medication or controlling a ventilator. For the first type of product, security is important for privacy reasons (and to meet new patient-protection laws such as HIPAA); for the second, with human lives at stake, security is a critical element. While Android could still provide an excellent UI for these safety-critical applications, virtualization gives an option to provide a rich, graphical UI, but isolate it from functions that control or monitor safety processes.

 

medical tablet.jpgThe typical approach to virtualization is to have multiple virtual machines running concurrently, using a certified embedded hypervisor to separate them, such as the Wind River Hypervisor that provides rich safety-certification evidence. Another approach, for non-safety-critical applications, is lightweight partitioning. This allows developers to isolate processes that don’t need to run simultaneously. For example, a doctor who uses a tablet for personal and diagnostic purposes could use lightweight partitioning to protect medical records from personal files and applications. Or a mobile device that moves with a caregiver from one patient to another could provide access only to the records for the patient in the current room, then remove access to those records when the device is taken to another room with a different patient.

 

Android on medical devices also brings requirements beyond the smartphone

For all its benefits, developing medical devices with Android—as with any operating system—also brings challenges. Quality assurance, compliance to medical standards, and long-life version support are all critical elements for a medical device, and developers may need to add unique market-specific functionality beyond the operating system (OS).

Anderson explains the number one misconception developers have about Android and medical device development: many believe that because Android is open source, they can grab it and they’re almost done. “Like any other operating system project, Android is a starting point, that’s all,” Anderson says. “The version that Google releases is ever-changing, and it’s not hardened well enough for critical industries like medical.”

 

Wind River offers a range of products and services to make Android more appropriate for medical devices, and more efficient for developers. The Wind River Platform for Android is a “hardened” OS release that has been rigorously tested for specific hardware platforms, and that will be maintained for the long lifetime of certified medical devices. This is a commercially supported OS that incorporates the latest Android open source project software and optimizes it for performance so that developers can immediately innovate to meet their application-specific needs.

 

Wind River also offers a set of market-specific “Solution Accelerators,” including the Solution Accelerator for Android, Medical that helps speed time-to-market, supports product differentiation, and solves challenges that are unique to the medical market. These add-on software components follow the Continua Health Alliance guidelines to help device manufacturers build personalized, interoperable, and fully compliant products. For example, the Continua Health Alliance specifies the use of IEEE 11073 as the standard format for information exchange between personal health devices. The Wind River Solution Accelerator for Android, Medical supports the IEEE 11073 stack for sensor devices that include pulse oximeters, heart rate and blood pressure monitors, thermometers, scales, glucose meters, and a range of activity, fitness, and medication monitors. The Continua Health Alliance also establishes the Bluetooth Health Device Profile (HDP) as the wireless transmission protocol between devices, which is integrated into the Wind River Solution Accelerator for Android, Medical to provide interoperability between Android devices and medical sensors.

 

Finally, the Wind River Professional Services Medical Practice provides a full range of services for customers to help them develop compliant, safe, and secure connected medical devices and systems. Anderson explains that medical customers need their technical problems solved, just like customers in any other segment. But because medical software has to meet stringent quality and security requirements, Wind River can add value with its established processes and tools, and long years of experience working with certification bodies such as the FDA.

 

Android offers opportunities for innovation

These products and services address the second misconception that developers have: that Android doesn’t have a place in medical devices. Even a year ago, that might have had some validity, but not anymore. Anderson says, “The reality is, if you do the right things with Android: raise the quality level, take out what’s not needed, and add security and isolation, you have a very robust platform for medical devices.” Anderson adds one final thought about Android misconceptions in medical: the belief that if a developer puts Android on a medical device that it has to look like phone or tablet. The reality is that Android is already present in many devices, such as automotive dashboards and wristwatches, that don’t look like a tablet or smartphone. With Android’s customization capabilities, medical device developers can take their creativity and innovation to a whole new level.

 

LEARN MORE>>            

Solutions in this blog:

Related topics:

 

Wind River is an Associate member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.

 

Cheryl Coupé

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Freelance technology writer and editor

In recent years the number of vehicles occupying roadways in major cities has rapidly intensified. The result is increased commuter travel time, reduced traffic safety and higher traffic-related pollutant emissions. With limited land space making new roads very costly, the use of traffic management techniques is the only practical option for relieving this congestion.

 

Enabling communities to proactively respond to traffic related events, Digital Security and Surveillance (DSS) intelligent traffic control (ITC) systems use Intel® Core™ and Atom ™ processor-based devices to perform real time analysis of traffic conditions, determine vehicle and driver behavior and autonomously manage traffic flow.

 

What’s more, these systems can be used by municipalities worldwide not only to battle city congestion and pollution but, by controlling evacuation in an orderly manner, as a powerful tool during disaster management situations (floods, storms, wild fires, etc.). ITC can help authorities know how to distribute law enforcement resources, preempt traffic lights’ normal operation and allow safe passage of emergency vehicles at an intersection. During disasters ITC systems also can temporary permit road shoulder use, regulate ramp metering and provide motorists with timely warnings.

 

Legacy traffic control systems rely on inductive-loop traffic detectors, installed on the surface of a road to detect vehicles passing or arriving at a certain point, for instance an intersection or motorway entrance. When a vehicle passes over the loop or is stopped within the loop, the vehicle induces eddy currents in the wire loops, which decrease their inductance. The decreased inductance actuates an electronics unit output which sends a pulse to the traffic signal controller signifying the passage or presence of a vehicle

 

One of the main shortcomings of these under-pavement traffic loop detectors is that they are expensive to install and maintain.  Moreover, they cannot be replaced or fixed without disturbing traffic.

 

For all of these reasons video-based traffic flow analysis is getting more attention. Video sensor systems utilize sophisticated algorithms to detect traffic incidents, measure traffic flow and track vehicles across multiple lanes. These traffic control strategies interconnect closed-circuit television, video analytics, video recorders to store content for reference later on and network data communicators to pass this information on to remote, mobile or central traffic control management teams (see Fig. 1 below)

 

Figure 1.png

 

Figure 1 A typical video-based DSS surveillance system

 

Multi-functional devices such as the Axiomtek rBOX104 Embedded Field Controller provide the traffic control system with the required traffic data and at the same time transmits video images of the junction or motorway section under surveillance to a processing center. The DIN-rack, fanless embedded computer supports low power Intel® Atom™ processors Z510PT (1.1 GHz) or Z520PT (1.33 GHz).  With an extended temperature range of -40°C to 70°C it can be used in extremely hot or cold environments. Multiple built-in serial ports, high-speed LANs and USB 2.0 ports enable fast and efficient data computation, communication and acquisition. Supporting Power-over-Ethernet on ports 1 to 4 makes it ideally suited for outdoor applications that employ PoE IP cameras.

 

A Network Video Recorder (NVR) Interfaces with these IP cameras. Its primary focus is on video decoding and display and local video storage. An NVR will likely require more LAN ports with more robust throughput capabilities than a stand-alone digital video recorder (DVR) because of the incoming IP packets that carry encoded video information from the connected IP cameras.

 

With Nexcom’s NViS 2280 mobile megapixel surveillance becomes reality. The NVR (Fig. 2, below) is powered by the Intel® Atom™ Dual Core D2700 2.13 GHz processor, which combines high performance with low power consumption. The unit can control  up to 16 IP cameras with HD resolution and. is further equipped with Dual Display function via VGA and DVI-D,  2x Hot Swap HDDs for up to 1.5TB and an accelerometer. Moreover, an eSATA interface allows connection of an additional external hard disk. Unlike video capture card solutions, Nexcom’s NViS hybrid solutions bring video decoder functionality onboard and can render images without additional hardware.

 

The NViS is also-suitable for deployment in vehicles, because it is outfitted with comprehensive wireless communication features such as 3.5G, WiFi as well as GPS modules. Using the GPS function one can link video records with location coordinates. Moreover, the device is designed for power input between 9V and 36VDC.

 

630d7731-ec52-432e-ab4e-e9c82b5de1f2.jpg

 

Figure 2 The Nexcom NViS NVR can be used from a mobile or a fixed base

 

 

The Trenton Systems TVC4502 bundled video wall controller provides a hardware and software solution for advanced video display walls in a traffic control situation room. The core of the TVC4502 fanless video display controller is a Trenton motherboard with an Intel ® Xeon®   C5500 Series processor and multiple I/O and network interfaces. This device comes ready to deploy right out of the box, featuring up to four 1080p high-definition inputs delivered across four 1080p high-definition outputs. Two front access drive bays support up to two 2.5” removable and hot-swappable storage drives. The system’s front panel also includes a slim-line optical media bay, two USB ports, diagnostic LEDs, power and system reset switches.  The accompanying software bundle is built on the Microsoft® Windows 7 operating system and enables local or network video wall control, scheduling, video source switching and compositing, bezel management and edge overlap with edge blending projectors.

 

As demands on DSS traffic systems become more complex, equipment manufacturers and hardware integrators need to deliver increasing sophisticated video solutions that will handle traffic forecasting as well as real-time monitoring. For these systems, the workloads handled by the CPU and GPU are substantial. They must control video encoding, video decoding, video scaling and display, hard disk video storage, video packetization for streaming, as well as running the software video management GUI as the interface for live video viewing. And all of this must be done in a manner that does not sacrifice the accuracy of extracted traffic flow data.

 

The 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor family alleviates many of these issues with much more powerful integrated graphics; 3D graphics performance is up to 60% higher than that of the prior generation. What is more, the 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor also is up to 15% faster than its predecessor, enabling faster, more sophisticated image and video analysis. Many of the visual surveillance algorithms currently in use can benefit from the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX), which provide 256-bit floating point processing. Video streaming and storage is enhanced by Intel® Quick Sync Video 2.0, which performs encoding and decoding in hardware for effortless integration of full 1080p HD video and high-resolution cameras. Among other benefits, Intel Quick Sync Video 2.0 performs video transcoding at twice the speed of the previous generation, and greatly reduces processor loading during transcoding..

 

LEARN MORE

 

Solutions in this blog

 

Nexcom NViS 2280

 

Trenton Systems TVC4502

 

Axiomtek

 

Axiomtek, Nexcom, Trenton Systems and  Microsoft are Associate members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.

 

Related topics:

•          Digital Security & Surveillance  - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

 

             Sensing and Analytics - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more) 

 

Murray Slovick

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

In the ruthless quest to squash the use of buzzword-based marketing speak in business communications, phrases such as world-class, best practices and paradigm shift are rarely seen any more – which is actually a step in the right direction given how abused these phrases were just a few years ago. However, there are times when these phrases capture exactly the right idea and should be used to describe a new trend or idea.

 

This is one of those times. Within the context of current technology trends and transitions occurring within the telecommunications and enterprise networking worlds today, I want to bring paradigm shift out of the buzzword dog house and use it to frame today’s ideas on Network Convergence.

 

In basic terms, a paradigm shift is a change from one way of thinking to another.  To really abuse the marketing-speak buzzwords, in high-tech a paradigm shift is a technology-driven shift from one set of best practices to another set to achieve world-class performance. (I apologize!). The reason I like the phrase is that it implies that this shift is revolutionary, not evolutionary.  When there is a paradigm shift in high-tech, new essential technologies emerge, business models are changed, old skills have to be updated, familiar players have to re-invent themselves and new players emerge.  We’re talking big-time change in a 5 to 10 year period of time.

 

So what’s happening to the Network Convergence idea?  It’s been around for decades.

 

Back in the 90’s, Network Convergence in the telecom world referred to the consolidation of the separate voice, video and data communications networks into a single network used to deliver all forms of communications services. Today, we simply refer to this era as the ‘transition to IP-based communications’ or something like that. Instead of working really hard to build bridges between the different networks, we finally decided we had to replace them all with a single network.

 

At the same time, in the enterprise networking world, Network Convergence had a similar impetus.  To simplify their networks in order to lower their costs and improve manageability, companies started to replace the myriad of vendor-specific networking technology, such as IBM’s SNA, Novell’s IPX/SPX, Apple’s AppleTalk, Digital’s DECnet and Microsoft’s NetBEUI to name a few, with the Unix-based TCP/IP protocol, the transport mechanism of the Internet.

 

Today, while the internet is ubiquitous, the networking world we live and work in is characterized by two ‘best-practices’ that helped us through this 1st era of Network Convergence.  First, the carrier-grade telecom networking world is still vastly different from the enterprise or IT networking worlds and far too frequently one camp wants nothing to do with the other. And second, the networking infrastructure of both worlds is still hardware-driven based on proprietary technology.

 

These last two holdovers from the past are starting to outlive their usefulness.  Simply put, the CAPEX and OPEX costs associated with building and maintaining today’s highly secure mobile and cloud computing network infrastructure are staggering.

 

Today, the paradigm shift that is Network Convergence (2nd Era) has 3 key pieces:

  1. To lower CAPEX and OPEX costs, the transition from proprietary hardware to commodity multi-core platforms is essential.  In fact, this transition is already highly visible with much of the LTE infrastructure in the mobile world and cloud computing infrastructure being based on standard server platforms. The new Intel® Platform for Communications Infrastructure is a great example of how the latest multicore processor technology is being optimized for both application and communication processing.
  2. The ‘hardware-driven’ network will transition to a software-based network. Still in the early stages of study and pilot implementations, the ideas, protocols and products behind Software Defined Networking are just starting to emerge. Increased flexibility and improvement in resource utilization are the drivers here. And with a significant group of network operators, equipment vendors and network technology providers behind the effort, SDN will only gain momentum.
  3. The telecom network world and the enterprise (or Data Center) network world will become one-and-the-same.  Why? Again, very simply stated, they are both are moving to highly virtualized software-based networks built on standard server model.  The differences between the implementation approaches are vanishing.  One interesting question is ‘will the organizational (some would say political) differences vanish too?’

 

Network Convergence paradigm shift – absolutely, a revised definition of the concept. Revolutionary – absolutely, big-time changes that will be endorsed (and resisted) on many fronts. Essential to continue to create increasingly capable (and essential), cost-effective networks – absolutely.

 

Eric Carmès, CEO of 6WIND has shared some of his thoughts on the network convergence paradigm shift in an interview for SDNCentral. Check it out.

With more than 50 billion connected devices predicted by 2020, an interconnected world of intelligent systems is becoming a reality. As these devices become more pervasive, they must be properly connected, managed, and secured. Putting together the right combination of software to make these devices function properly is a major undertaking.

 

Software development platforms are an excellent way to accelerate the software design process. A well supported software development platforms brings all of the key elements needed by the software team to design, develop, test, and deploy an intelligent device. Wind River® has been developing software platforms for specific applications for many years. Recently they saw the need for a new platform that specifically addresses the needs of intelligent devices that are interconnected machine-to-machine (M2M).

 

Wind River Intelligent Device Platform is designed to enable M2M development by providing proven software and expertise to fuel rapid innovation and deployment of secure and reliable intelligent devices.  This latest offering adds the security, connectivity, and manageability required for machine-to-machine device development, and is compatible with the new Intel® Intelligent Systems Framework, a set of interoperable solutions designed to address connecting, managing, and securing devices.  It provides pre-integrated off-the-shelf components that can significantly reduce a manufacturer's development time. This new platform delivers on three essential concerns:


  • Connected: Simplifies device connectivity for wireless and wired networks, speeding time-to-market and reducing expense for device manufacturers.
  • Managed: Delivers pre-integrated and supported management software from best-in-class independent software vendors (ISVs), making it much easier to manage remote connected devices.
  • Secure: Provides powerful and customizable security capabilities for protecting devices and their data.

 

Wind River Intelligent Device Platform builds on the company’s existing M2M technologies included in its Embedded Development Kit for M2M Smart Services, a plug-and-play hardware and operating system/middleware platform that is truly "application ready." To complement its M2M capabilities, Wind River has a strategic set of M2M partners that includes independent software vendors, value-added resellers, board vendors, and distributors.


Wind River Intelligent Device Platform is a complete software development environment for M2M applications, based on Wind River's Linux 4.3, the company’s industry-leading commercial embedded Linux operating system, which is standards-compliant and fully tested. It contains security features designed for M2M development, smart and connected capabilities that enable rich network options, and validated and flexible device management software. The core of the platform is a layer that contains configuration and build information for integrating other M2M components to generate an optimized, functional run-time image.

 

 

Inside the Intelligent Device Platform

Wind River has brought together many key software elements and ecosystem members to form the building blocks of the Intelligent Device Platform. Wind River Intelligent Device Platform features the following:

  • Wind River Linux 4.3 operating system
    • Linux has become ubiquitous with its widespread use in devices of all types. This commercial embedded Linux operating system, is standards-compliant and fully tested. It contains security features designed for M2M development, smart and connected capabilities that enable rich network options, and validated and flexible device management software. Linux developers are very comfortable using this as the operating system in many types of intelligent devices.
  • Validated and supported middleware stack, including virtual machine, OMA DM, OSGi, TR-069, and home automation
    • OMA DM is a device management protocol specified by Open Mobile Alliance. TR-069 is a specification for remote management of deployed devices that are typically used in wired customer premises equipment (CPE)*.
    • The OSGi Alliance is a worldwide consortium of technology innovators that advances a proven and mature process to create open specifications that enable the modular assembly of software built with Java technology. Modularity reduces software complexity; OSGi is the best model to modularize Java.
    • The TR-069 agent included in Wind River Intelligent Device Platform is OneAgent from Works Systems. This agent runs on a deployed device and provides a management channel for a centralized management console
  • Wide range of connectivity options, including 3G, Bluetooth, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and Z-Wave across PAN, LAN and WAN networks
    • The wide range of connectivity options enables device developers to design devices that can connect to any of the most popular networks.
    • Exegin's native ZigBee stack is a complete robust implementation that provides flexibility to integrate with various radio options and meet all ZigBee 802.15.4 specifications.
  • Secure Remote Management, featuring customizable trusted boot, grsecurity for resource control, TPM secure key migration and integrity measurement
    • Security has become the top concern for developers as devices become connected. Protecting them from external influences will be key to market of acceptance of intelligent devices.
  • Wind River development tools including Wind River Workbench, based on the Eclipse framework, and Wind River build system for software integration
    • These proven tools are familiar to many embedded software developers. They provide a familiar world-class development environment.
  • Web-based configuration management for device provision, setup, and management
    • Since the devices are already connected, web-based configuration management opens up a whole new world of services that can be installed and managed after deployment of the device.

 

Markets & Devices

 

Smart Energy

Wind_River_Intelligent_Device_Platform.jpg

Throughout the energy value chain, smart energy technology provides centralized monitoring of millions of devices to track peak usage patterns and energy disruptions, improving efficiency, reliability, and quality across the network. For example, Wind River Intelligent Device Platform software can provide intelligence to smart meters so that real-time voltage monitoring and control is possible using existing telecom service providers' infrastructure. As the Smart Grid develops, there are many possibilities for intelligent devices throughout the grid.

 

Medical

Through emerging applications such as patient monitoring and in-home patient care for seniors and patients with chronic conditions, mobile health technology can enable physicians and family members to cost-effectively improve care, respond to emergencies, and more accurately monitor and treat illnesses. Interconnected mobile devices for health management and care are quickly becoming a key component of the medical industry.

 

Transportation

From railways to personal automobiles, intelligent systems technology is enhancing traditional ways to monitor cargo, increase fuel efficiency, route around traffic or construction, and improve safety. Digi International is using Intelligent Device Platform to build a new family of cloud-connected wireless M2M solutions, including a fleet management system. New initiatives within the railroad industry to improve safety and efficiency are going to be heavily dependent on interconnected and intelligent devices.

 

Building and Home Management

Management and automation for smart buildings are being enhanced by intelligent systems technology in multiple areas such as security, energy efficiency, predictive maintenance, and asset management. Wind River customer Sumitomo is using Intelligent Device Platform to deliver a smart-home automation gateway for leading global telecom service providers. The addition of WiFi and ZigBee to all types of home devices, from lighting, environment control, monitoring, to entertainment are making these devices dependent on communication between devices.

 

Summary

The Wind River Intelligent Device Platform promises to raise the capability and quality of device software to levels not possible in a timely and cost effective way for most software developers. The features of the platform will allow software teams to focus on value add software that can sit on the platform, leveraging the work of experts that will ensure that your devices are properly connected, managed, and secured.

 

Learn More
Solutions in this blog:

 

Related Topics

 

Wind River is an Associate member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.
Contact Wind River >>


Jerry Gipper

OpenSystems Media®, by special arrangement with Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Editorial Director, OpenSystems Media, VITA Technologies

The combination of intelligent appliances, from light switches to trucks, and the prospect of pervasive connectivity is creating a network of things, the “Internet of Things”, that will share the telecom and cloud infrastructure with user devices that have very different requirements. The market opportunity for networks that support machine to machine communications is expected to be at least as large as that for user to user communication. The challenge for the Telecom and Cloud infrastructure industries is to enable services that can both meet the exacting requirements of different industries such as energy, health and automotive, and handle the vast volume of data, “Big Data”, that will be generated, and consumed, by the huge number of machines connected to the Internet.

 

In this blog I am going to explore the impact of the Internet of Things and Big Data on the telecom and cloud infrastructure industries and some of the steps being taken to deliver the required services. For this blog I have asked Sven Freudenfeld, Telecom Business Development Manager at Kontron and Mike Langlois, Vice President, General Manager Networking Strategy at Wind River for their views on this topic. Kontron is a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. Wind River Systems is an Associate member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. The 200-plus members of the Alliance collaborate closely with Intel® to create hardware, software, tools, and services to help speed intelligent systems  to market.

 

How will the emergence of the Internet of Things and Big Data impact the telecom and cloud infrastructure industries?

 

Mike Langlois: Intelligent & secure mass connectivity is the short answer – this is the bigger story around the internet of things and the creation of big data. Billions more devices and machines will connect to a network in the next decade.  And, these connected elements will be big generators of data and in turn the consumers of big data (intelligent information).

 

When regulated industries such as energy, health, automotive and others start connected their devices/machines to the global communication networks, they will place much more requirements on the network above and beyond unregulated smart phones, tablets and PCs.

 

Sven Freudenfeld: The “Internet of Things” or IoT, continues to emerge as an enigma to the telecom and cloud infrastructure industries. In the realm of IoT, the industry expects to see a semantic web that delivers content user-to-user, machine-to- machine (M2M), machine-to-user and user-to-machine in new ways never thought of before. The expansion of this technology into the new frontier of unattended “embedded” devices will drive overall Internet traffic to triple, and mobile Internet traffic to grow 11-fold. The exceptional spectrum of the data generated by M2M communication will be on grander scale, leading to the buzz behind what the industry has appropriately deemed the “Gigantic Data” problem.

 

However, even with the increase of data throughout the network, the profile of data packets passing through the network will be in different sizes than the traditional mobile device connected to the network and therefore a distributed computing approach in the cloud can mean a more efficient way to manage the cloud infrastructure. The new structure of IoT introduces Web 3.0 with a simplified and structured interaction for M2M communication without any human interaction.

 

Where do you see the greatest challenges for these industries?

 

Mike Langlois: There are two huge challenges: 1) maximizing traffic capacity, performance, and quality of service of existing networks, and 2) monetization of the network services. Within these two challenges are the other issues of security, reliability, and cost savings.

 

Sven Freudenfeld: Security and manageability are critical factures to be able to create a secure environment to deploy an M2M solution. From power plant to medical device to moving objects and machinery, the use of communication between two machines without human interaction will continue to expand and diversify in the future and could become a weak point for security threats.

 

How are you using Intel technology to solve these challenges?

 

Sven Freudenfeld: Current and predicted market conditions are driving vendors to innovate new design approaches to cloud computing platforms. Kontron is one example with the introduction of its SYMKLOUD series of cloud platforms. It took an entirely new approach to hardware design by integrating switching and load balancing with a modular and distributed framework of Intel® processors.

SYMKLOUD-REFL_900PX.png

Figure 1. SYMKLOUD MS2900 Fully Integrated Cloud Computing Platform.

 

Partnering with Intel, Kontron leverages the very low power, high performance Intel® Xeon® E3-1200 Processor Series to easily scale and share the workloads of web, M2M and mobile applications deployed in cloud infrastructure. Moreover, these Intel processors have also enabled Kontron to design a more comprehensive power management suite that will permit a more dynamic powering up and down when workloads change.

 

Mike Langlois: Wind River has integrated and fine-tuned our entire software platform and development tools portfolio to take full advantage of the advanced capabilities of Intel processors.  Wind River Intelligent Network Platform includes Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel ® DPDK).  It is the only software platform that offers this unique processing technology integrated as part of its solution.    The platform takes full advantage of DPDK and the built-in hardware capabilities to enable a consolidated management and data plane software environment that delivers high performance layer 3 packet processing and deep packet inspection functionality.

Wind River INP.png

Figure 2. Wind River Intelligent Network Platform.

 

Wind River Simics, a full system simulator, is a development tool that has been fully optimized for the Intel Architecture and Xeon processors.  Design teams who want to get a time to market advantage can use Simics to accelerate all phases of the development life cycle. This allows design teams to prototype both hardware and software before huge investments before physical Intel hardware is available

 

What do you see as the next steps for the telecom and cloud infrastructure industries?


Sven Freudenfeld: Planning to face these new challenges head-on and understanding how they will impact the business of cloud service providers and hosted services will require a shift from legacy, purely processor driven hardware to more scalable and highly versatile cloud-enabled Web 3.0 infrastructure equipment.  As the requirements are changing with the advent of next generation data centers, network equipment providers and cloud service providers should seek out new hardware and software solutions that are fully integrated and application ready, provide improved power and cluster management, and more cost-effectively deliver High-Availability (5 nines) capabilities.

 

What will evolve in telecom and cloud infrastructure will be the development of compute density with better power efficiency and different methods for data transport. Along with this will be the platform cost for next generation platforms.  The future may also hold a path to use pure PCI-express as the transport method within the platforms as this will help serve to lower the cost.  As previously discussed, cloud infrastructure equipment must be truly scalable. Processing technology will continue to advance and an upgrade path will most likely take place more frequently as demand of cloud services increases.

 

Mike Langlois: Software and virtualization will play a greater role in defining and enabling network services. SDN is at its beginning.  As  more of the ecosystem participates it will start to take shape and we’ll see a new generation of network architectures.  Through SDN, the industry will begin to take full advantage of the Carrier Cloud and the new applications that have yet to be defined.

 

Preparing for the SDN and the Carrier Cloud means greater collaboration with the ecosystem that provides the underlying high-performance intelligent network platforms.  The industry needs to take full advantage of software to deliver greater value, find new sources of revenue, and keep your service competitive.  And, leverage the expertise of the technical teams at companies like Wind River and Intel to fully utilize the capabilities their integrated hardware and software platforms.

 

Solutions in this blog:

 

Related topics:

 

Kontron is a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. Contact Kontron >

Wind River is an Associate member of the Alliance. Contact Wind River >

 

Simon Stanley

Roving Reporter (Intel® Contractor), Intel® Embedded Alliance

Principal Consultant, Earlswood Marketing

Follow me on Twitter: @simon_stanley

Within both public and private cloud data centers, the number of Virtual Machines per server blade is increasing rapidly, leveraging on-going improvements in the performance of the x86 processors used on those blades. Today, a typical server blade in a service provider data center hosts at least 50 VMs, with that number expected to grow to hundreds within a few years.

 

Because of this growth in the number of VMs running on each server blade, the data center network needs to expand beyond its current limit at the Top-of-Rack, to a model where a virtual switch on each server blade is used to distribute the increasing volume of network traffic to virtualized applications. This function is typically implemented using the open-source Open vSwitch (OVS) or an equivalent proprietary virtual switch.

 

For multi-tenant data centers, high-bandwidth VM-to-VM communication (VM2VM) is mandatory. To isolate and secure VM2VM, however, requires extensive routing, firewalling and load balancing services that extend beyond the basic Layer 2 features provided by a typical virtual switch. Also, multi-tenant architectures require traffic engineering (ACL, tunneling, QoS etc.) to be performed at the server edge in order to provide users with individual, differentiated services.

 

Advanced security policies are necessary to secure both physical and virtual traffic. Within a cloud, these ensure that only certain VMs can access the applications and data owned by other VMs. Between clouds, policies are enforced to ensure that data and traffic for one cloud is not visible to another.

 

Adding to the overall security- and networking-related workload that must now be supported on server blades is the increasing trend towards the use of overlay network technologies which avoid the 4,094 tunnels limitation of traditional VLANs. Data centers are now adopting VXLAN and NVGRE protocols, with 16-bit IDs that allow for 16 million tunnels.

 

From the point of view of the data center operator, it is critical that the solutions they select to achieve the virtual switch enhancements described above are fully-compatible with emerging options for data center orchestration such as OpenStack and for Layer-2/-3 management such as OpenFlow. In addition, Carrier Grade reliability is mandatory for enterprise-class data centers.

 

At 6WIND, we recognized these security-driven virtual switch challenges and enhanced the 6WINDGate™ software, already widely deployed in network appliances, to deliver performance improvements and advanced networking features for virtual switches (details here). We’ll be discussing our solutions in our booth number 854 at RSA Conference, hope to see you there!

A few years ago, Intel released its Data Plane Development Kit (Intel® DPDK) software. The DPDK library is provided to OEMs under a BSD licensing model, enabling the design of high performance networking software based on either pipelined or run-to-completion architectures. It runs in Linux userspace, providing optimizations for Intel® architecture platforms such as data plane libraries, optimized NIC drivers (queue and buffer management, packet flow, classification, poll-mode NIC drivers along with a simple API Interface and standard tool chain) and run-time environment (low overhead, run-to-completion model optimized for fastest possible data plane performance).

 

DPDK is a key environment for enabling the use of Intel architecture platforms in data plane applications. DPDK, however, is a complex technology and in-depth networking software expertise is required to use it efficiently. Since 2007, 6WIND has been working with Intel to optimize its 6WINDGate™ networking software suite for Intel embedded processors and to provide the most advanced and comprehensive suite of pre-integrated data plane and control plane protocols on top of DPDK, including high availability capabilities.

 

As a member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance, 6WIND provides support either for the stand-alone Intel DPDK or for DPDK integrated with 6WINDGate. Therefore, customers can benefit not only from 6WIND’s full support of DPDK but, more importantly, from the in-depth system expertise 6WIND developed through designing high performance networking software.

 

You can download the Intel – 6WIND white paper “Optimized Data Plane Processing Solutions using the Intel® DPDK” from our Web site for more information about 6WINDGate for Intel architectures.

 

In addition to functions and NIC drivers provided with the standard DPDK distribution, 6WIND also provides valuable add-ons to DPDK for increased system functionality and performance. These include:

  • Support for non-Intel NICs such as the Mellanox ConnectX®-3 EN series,
  • Crypto support via both Intel® Multi-Buffer Crypto software and Cave Creek hardware,
  • DPDK drivers for external crypto engines such as Cavium’s Nitrox®,
  • Drivers for enabling DPDK in virtualized environments such as VMware VMWNET3 and KVM-XEN VIRTIO.

 

Providing these add-ons is very important because network software developers are accustomed to having all the required drivers available in a Linux environment and they expect to use them in the DPDK environment as well. It’s likely one of the most important limitations that I hear about from engineering teams using DPDK.

 

6WIND provides these add-ons as part of the private DPDK branch maintained by 6WIND and fully synchronized with Intel's on-going releases of the baseline library.

 

We encourage you to check our roadmap for future add-ons and we would be very pleased to learn about your DPDK requirements so that we can better adapt our plans to meet them.

In retail, so much depends on today’s modern version of the cash register. Point of sale (POS) systems are the data entry point for making sales and tracking sales, inventory, and, for many merchants, customer relationships. If the POS system goes down, a retailer can’t do business. If a POS system is compromised, even worse things can happen. Which is why I’m writing about POS security a second time this year. This time my focus is on protecting against a particularly prevalent threat: keylogging and screen scraping.

 

Keyloggers and screen scrapers are two common methods to steal usernames, passwords, and identification and authentication entered by users. A keylogger is software that monitors keystrokes, logging them to a file and sending them off to remote attackers. A screen scraper is an application that collects character-based data from the display output of another program, such as transactional software.

 

In “Pssst … Have You Truly Secured Your POS?,” I covered how 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors provide a variety of advanced security technologies to protect transactions at the POS level. I also showed examples of boards from members of the Intel® Intelligent System Alliance that a designer could use to create such POS systems. These same processors and technologies will also play a role here—as well as a solution from McAfee.

 

Over the past 20 years, POS systems have evolved to collect and use greater amounts of data. Today’s POS systems are often networked computers designed to process sales, check inventory, manage customer loyalty programs, deliver information to employees, and even provide training. Attached to these systems are peripherals such as card readers and pin pads, money drawers, barcode scanners, and sometimes scales for weighing produce.

 

One piece of interesting reading is the latest Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. This annual data breach information study is conducted by the Verizon RISK Team, with participation from the U.S. Secret Service and international national cyber security agencies in Australia, Holland, Ireland, and Britain. The study analyzes data breaches to see how they happen, who causes them, why they do it, and how the breaches could be prevented in the future.

 

For the past two years the retail industry has ranked only second behind hotel and food services in the study as the business most plagued with data breaches. One thing both these industries hold in common is that they use POS system. This makes them prime targets for criminals who exploit POS systems with weak security. Retailers are easy targets with lucrative credit card data. A favorite target is small to medium businesses, particularly franchise owners who lack the IT resources and expertise to mount proper security.

 

An example I gave in my last post on this topic was a breach of 100 Subway sandwich shops by two Romanian hackers who remotely installed keyloggers to collect all card data keyed in or swiped at the POS. A more recent example is the September 2012 credit card data security breach of the pin pads at 63 Barnes & Noble stores in eight U.S. states. Last year Michaels, the arts and crafts chain reported nearly 100 payment card terminals at stores in 20 states had been tampered with by criminals looking to steal debit and credit card data.

 

According to the 2012 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report:

  • When malware was used to exfiltrate data, 98 percent of the time it was paired with keylogging functionality.
  • 91 percent of the studied 276 breaches leveraging stolen credentials also had keyloggers installed.
  • Keylogging, form grabbers (a method for capturing web form data) and spyware rank number one in the top ten threat action types by number of breaches.

 

How to Protect Against Keyloggers and Screen Scrapers

Obviously, keylogging and screen scrapers are two problems POS customers would love POS designers to solve. The million-dollar question (it could be worth that much to some retailers) is how do you maximize malware protection against these increasingly sophisticated attacks?

 

Intel takes a comprehensive approach by building tamper-resistant hardware features into 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor-based devices. These features are further strengthened by adding advanced software protection features from McAfee. This multi-layered approach to security helps prevent malware infections, automates threat protection, protects data from malware, and speeds remediation.

 

The primary elements in this solution for helping protect again keyloggers and screen scrapers are:

  • Intel® OS Guard. This silicon-based feature inside 3rd generation Intel Core processors provides an important layer of defense against malware. It keeps malicious code from getting outside application memory, preventing it from injecting itself into operating system space or data memory.
  • Intel® Secure Key. Many organizations use encryption to protect data; however, the random numbers used by key encryption algorithms are typically stored in system memory, visible to malware, which can steal those keys and use them to decrypt data before transmitting it back to hackers. Intel Secure Key generates a clean source of random number keys in hardware out of view of malware  to help ensure that encrypted data remains encrypted and indecipherable to hackers.
  • Intel® Identity Protection Technology (Intel® IPT) with Protected Transaction Display. This solution adds another critical layer of hardware-based defense by helping to prevent keystroker logger and screen scraper code from stealing passwords and other credentials when accessing public-key infrastructure (PKI) or one-time password (OTP) services. Intel IPT works by letting users enter credentials on a scrambled pin pad generated by integrated graphics within the processor. Because the pin pad is not exposed to the operating system, it prevents malware from scraping the display or logging keys while authenticating the user.
  • McAfee Deep Defender. Optimized to work with 3rd generation Intel Core processors, this product provides additional stealth malware prevention, and also detection, quarantine, and remediation. It does this by tapping into McAfee DeepSAFE software. Jointly developed by McAfee and Intel, this software utilizes Intel® Virtualization Technology (included with 3rd generation Intel Core processors) to execute between the silicon and OS. This enables McAfee Deep Defender to help identify and stop in real time stealthy kernel mode rootkit attacks which often conceal and launch keylogging applications. Unlike static scans and user-mode protections, McAfee Deep Defender monitors memory operations in real time, stopping unknown, zero-day infections before they have a chance to do damage. If the rootkit has been concealing secondary malware, that malware will be revealed for cleanup by user-level protections like McAfee VirusScan Enterprise.

 

DeepSafe.JPG

Figure 1. McAfee DeepSAFE technology provides low-level monitoring to enable rootkit detection and removal. It should be used with anti-virus (AV) software and host-based intrusion prevention systems (HIPS), products also available from McAfee.


Building in Protection Is Easy When You Start with the Right Board

If you’re designing a POS system, the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance offers a wide range of boards based on 3rd generation Intel Core processors that team up well with McAfee Deep Defender. A good example comes from MSC Vertriebs GmbH. They make the MSC C6B-7S COM Express* Type 6 module which offers several key features that make it an excellent option for a wide range of POS from mid-to-high level (see Figure 2). First, it can run three independent HD displays with up to 2560x1600 resolution via HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces. This maximizes the amount of options and information that can be displayed at any given time, including driving a display solely for advertising. Second, seamless video streaming on multiple displays in H.264, VC-1, and MPEG2 formats enables integrating surveillance into POS systems or using HD video for infotainment. Third, hardware-based security compliant to the requirements of TCG (Trusted Computing Group) further enhances the security capabilities of this module.

 

COMExpress_C6B-7S.png

Figure 2. MSC C6B-7S COM Express* Type 6 module.

 

A big advantage of COM Express modules like this one is that they enable designers to partition host processors from proprietary baseboards, thereby minimizing current and future design risks during the initial phase of development. Separating the CPU-upgradable module from system specific I/O carrier boards safeguards development investments and lowers total cost of ownership. In addition, companies like MSC Vertriebs GmbH can provide services to clients on the carrier board design and development and BIOS customization.

 

What are thoughts about designing systems to help protect against keylogging and screen scraping? I’d be interested in hearing experiences your retail customers have had.


LEARN MORE >>

Solutions in this blog:


Related Topics


McAfee is an Associate member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. MSC Vertriebs GmbH is an Affiliate member of the Alliance.


Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine

In 2012, service providers worldwide continued their aggressive rollout of LTE networks, with 105 operators in 48 countries having launched LTE commercially by the end of October. In total, over 350 network operators have invested or soon will invest in LTE. Overall, LTE is on a faster growth trajectory than any other mobile technology, projected to reach a billion connections in just over seven years (in 2017), whereas GSM took GSM twelve years to reach that milestone.

Driven by the number of subscribers and the exponential increase in video traffic, overall mobile data traffic is projected to grow 500x between 2010 and 2019, so the 25x performance increase provided by LTE compared to 3G is critical to meeting end users’ expectations.

In parallel with the growth in network deployments, however, cut-throat price competition among carriers has resulted in steadily declining ARPU (Average Revenue per User), despite on-going advances in the features and services being delivered to subscribers. This places extreme pressure on service providers both to improve the cost-performance of their networks and also to maximize their resource utilization.

Core network virtualization, which leverages concepts proven in cloud computing, has emerged as a key approach to maximizing network resource utilization and thereby minimizing network OPEX.

Virtualized Core.png

In a virtualized core network, functions that were traditionally implemented in dedicated, stand-alone equipment are now instantiated as virtualized software running on generic hardware platforms. This enables service providers to achieve greater hardware efficiency and flexibility by dynamically allocating network resources to the most appropriate software applications. Network resources are allocated on-the-fly, according to traffic and service demands and with the capability to adapt easily to new traffic profiles as they arise. This provides high scalability and optimum hardware utilization.

The LiquidCore initiative from Nokia-Siemens Networks is an interesting example of this concept.

Core network virtualization provides important business-level benefits for service providers, including:

  • Reduced CAPEX thanks to the use of standard generic hardware platforms;
  • Reduced OPEX through improved resource utilization;
  • Greater network flexibility to dynamically provide network resources where and when needed;
  • Improved ARPU through the accelerated deployment of high-value features and services;
  • Increased subscriber retention;
  • Improved network monetization.

The recently-announced Network Functions Virtualisation initiative was launched by leading service providers and Telecom Equipment Manufacturers (TEMs), with the goal of establishing industry-wide standards around key aspects of core network virtualization. Strong attendance at the group’s initial working meeting, held in France last week, indicates the high importance placed on this topic by companies at all levels of the supply chain.

But there’s a problem. From the perspective of the hardware platforms used for core network virtualization, industry-standard software hypervisors severely constrain the performance of network I/O in virtualized environments, so that virtualized networking equipment delivers only a fraction of the networking performance achieved by physical equipment. This significantly limits the use of virtualization in network-intensive applications such as LTE infrastructure.

Luckily, there’s a solution. At 6WIND, we recognized this hypervisor performance problem and enhanced the 6WINDGate™ software, already widely deployed in physical LTE networking equipment, to deliver significant performance improvements in virtualized environments as well (details here). The 6WINDGate software has now become a key enabler for the virtualization of mobile network functions. We are working with several innovative TEMs on such programs, thereby enabling service providers to achieve the level of networking performance that is critical for virtualizing mobile core functions at an acceptable cost.

All indications are that core network virtualization will become increasingly deployed in LTE infrastructure, as service providers achieve tangible business benefits leverage the concept to maximize the ROI of their networks.

What’s your opinion on the network virtualization trend in LTE? What are the barriers to adoption of this concept? Are there key features and/or services that will accelerate deployments?

(This article was written by Eric Carmès, 6WIND's Founder and CEO, for the Multicore Packet Processing Forum.)

 

Last July, Nicira’s acquisition by VMware shook (should I say shocked?) the networking industry. It was like a nostalgic retro move back to the good old Internet times. At least now everybody has heard about SDN and OpenFlow, although it’s unlikely that many people except a few visionaries can explain in a few words what SDN and OpenFlow really bring. Network virtualization, simplified network architecture, networking CAPEX and OPEX reduction, Network-as-a Service… all are nice concepts but not so easy to explain and articulate.

 

In 2012, OpenFlow standardization and education activities remained very strong within the Open Networking Foundation while new concepts like NFV (Network Function Virtualization) emerged to complement the OpenFlow architecture. However, SDN deployments are still very limited and at an early stage. Most of these SDN deployments don’t use OpenFlow. Another piece of technology, the virtual switch, was the subject of interesting discussions as it will likely play a pivotal role in SDN architectures.

 

Last year, a large number of SDN “me-too” software start-up companies emerged (should we suspect a Nicira effect?) and it’s quite difficult to understand their unique differentiation in the market. All these companies claim they have developed a smarter SDN architecture, typically including an optimized controller. At the same time, incumbent networking players explain that they fully support the SDN initiative… while reusing their existing protocols and promoting their own implementation of a virtual switch. Others say they have been designing and developing SDN-based architectures for years, arguing that SDN and OpenFlow are just marketing buzz.

 

So, will 2013 be finally the year of SDN? Maybe, but it will require both technical and business clarifications.

 

OpenFlow has been designed to be simple but is its simplicity compatible with complex network services? Will OpenFlow only address the operation and configuration of Layer2-3 hardware and software switches, or will it go beyond that? How will OpenFlow, the virtual switch, and NFV coexist to provide a complete SDN-based set of network services? Are we sure that the end solution will be based on open standards?

 

Beyond architecture design clarifications, emerging technologies always need to have a clear business justification to be widely adopted. How much will an OpenFlow architecture cost, including the switches and the controller, compared to a legacy solution? How much cost needs to be added to provide all the required Layer 4-7 services in a SDN-based data center? What about the OPEX savings? The industry is obviously still waiting for compelling business cases.

 

At 6WIND, we strongly believe SDN is going to transform the network industry and I explained why in a previous post. Having SDN architectures based on hardware Layer 2-3 switches, a high performance software-based data plane optimized for a standard server with a virtual switch as well as a distributed control plane represents a compelling approach to an agile, affordable networking architecture for data centers. It provides a solution for:

 

2013 will likely tell us if SDN architectures will be based on open standards like OpenFlow or on proprietary architectures. The answer will be driven by business cases with a clear return on investment. 6WIND will contribute to the definition of these business cases, leveraging its high performance 6WINDGate™ data plane solution.

The more digital signage systems a merchant or other user runs in their operation, the more they become concerned about power costs. While a small business operating two or three digital signs isn’t going to worry too much about power, a large business installing thousands of digital signs throughout their locations, is going to care and make power consumption a key part of a request for proposal (RFP). Paradoxically, these same RFPs generally also demand that media players deliver higher quality graphics and video, remote management capabilities, and the processing power for anonymous viewer analytics—all at a low cost per unit.

 

That’s a lot to ask. In this post, I want to look at how the energy savings from the latest generation of Intel® Core™ processors enables meeting such a request. In particular, I want to focus on using less expensive desktop processors rather than mobile versions, and provide two board examples from IEI Technology Corporation.

 

The Power Story

The 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7-3770 processor with integrated Intel® HD Graphics 4000 is a powerful desktop processor that runs at just 77 watts. This is particularly impressive when compared to a 2nd generation version, the Intel® Core™ i7-2600 processor. That processor runs at 95 watts. What’s the savings here? Nearly 20 percent. A lot of these savings come from Intel’s 22nm process technology used in the 3rd generation Intel Core processors and the revolutionary 3D Tri-Gate transistor technology. These innovations substantially decrease power consumption and die size.

 

Now, if you’re willing to pay the higher price (approximately USD 100 more) for a mobile version of a 3rd generation Intel Core processor such as the Intel® Core™ i7-3615QE processor, you could drop that down to just 45 watts. That’s only the power savings of the processor though. When we’re talking about spending 34 percent more on a processor and the impact it will have on the pricing of a media player, we need to look beyond just the savings in processor watts to see if they might be other reasons for sticking with the less expensive desktop version.

 

Keeping Power Low and Costs Down with Integrated Graphics

One big thing to consider is that all 3rd generation Intel Core processors that include Intel® HD Graphics 4000 virtually eliminate the need for an external graphics card and its power draw on a system. This is a big advantage in reducing overall system power and bill of materials (BOM). In addition to that, digital signage customers will appreciate saving the time and expense of managing thousands of graphics cards and their drivers spread over a large network.

 

Consider too what you get (see Figure 1). This fast graphics core with 16 execution units is up to twice as fast as the previous generation HD Graphics 3000 (12 execution units) in 3D performance and up to 60 percent faster in graphics performance. Plus Intel HD Graphics 4000 supports DirectX* 11 and can run graphics on three monitors simultaneously—a big advantage for digital signage applications.

 

HD4000 diagram.JPG

Figure 1. 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor HD Graphics microarchitecture.

 

There’s a lot of intelligence in HD Graphics 4000. For instance,  Intel® Quick Sync Video provides native support for all mainstream codecs, as well as the ability to handle multiple 1080p streams simultaneously. Another feature, Intel® Clear Video HD Technology, delivers advanced video technologies that remove jitter, create crisper visuals, plus enable adaptive contrast and skin-tone enhancements for vivid, rich colors.

 

Intel® HD Graphics 4000 shares last-level cache between the CPU and graphics. This optimizes load balancing and helps accelerate 3D rendering. What’s more, the graphics core frequency is a variable parameter. Third generation Intel Core processors support Intel HD Graphics Dynamic Frequency, a feature that adjusts the frequency of the integrated graphics core dynamically depending on the CPU utilization, power consumption and heat dissipation at a given moment. Essentially this means that when the graphics require the most processing power they can get a boost, provided the power consumption and heat dissipation at the moment allow it.

 

Plenty of Headroom

As for handling the anonymous video analytics tasks of such applications as Intel® Audience Impression Metrics Suite, the Intel® Core™ i7-3770 processor has plenty of headroom for that. Not only does this processor have four cores that make simple work out of multi-tasking, but it also includes Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology which allows each individual processor core to work on two tasks at the same time. This further improves multitasking and speeds up the workflow. In addition, for greater adaptability Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 delivers bursts of processor speed automatically when a workload demands additional performance.

 

Reducing Management and Power Costs with Out-of Band Manageability

Out-of-band manageability features also make the 3rd generation Intel core processors particularly appealing for signage applications. When their Intel® vPro™ technology features are activated, Intel Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) enables remote management and maintenance capabilities that allow IT professionals to query, fix and protect networked media players even when they’re powered off, not responding, or have software issues. What’s more, this technology helps perform remote asset tracking and checks the presence of management agents virtually anytime.

 

Intel AMT also provides the means to remotely turn devices on/off to reduce energy consumption during non-peak operating times. This means store management doesn’t have to rely on store employees to do it and energy can be saved by keeping signage off when people aren’t present. Plus, if a merchant wants to use anonymous video analytics to put players to sleep when people aren’t present and to restart when they are, Intel® Rapid Start Technology enables systems based on 3rd generation Intel core processors to resume quickly so customers aren’t missed.

 

Two IEI Boards That Deliver These Advantages

Good examples of ATX and microATX boards that can provide all the advantages of 3rd generation Intel Core processors are available from Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance members like IEI. Both their IMBA-Q770 (ATX) and IMB-Q770 (microATX) boards (see Figure 2) support the 22nm LGA1155 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor family and Intel® Q77 Express Chipset. Integrated dual HDMI and DVI-I on the Intel® Q77 Express Chipset and Intel® HD 4000 Graphics with DX11 support allow these advanced motherboards to deliver enhanced graphics performance and support three independent displays with an additional VGA connector.

 

IMB-Q770.jpg

Figure 2. IEI IMB-Q770 microATX board.


Both the IMBA-Q770 and the IMB-Q770 feature USB 3.0, PCI Express generation 3.0, a SATA 6Gb/s port, and dual-channel DDR3 1600/1333 MHz with maximum support up to 32 GB. The Intel® Q77 Express chipset supports state-of-the-art Intel® AMT 8.0, enabling IT managers to remotely diagnose and repair problems, making these platforms ideal for high-resolution digital signage applications seeking advanced manageability. They can even include IEI’s iEZman application which provides an out-of-band KVM function which allows full control of keyboard, mouse and video output viewing on a remote system through hardware-based Intel® AMT. Video output on a remote system is always visible even when there is a blue screen or missing disk.

 

With iEZman, a remote support person can remotely control and perform administrative tasks through a graphical user interface (GUI) in Windows. All functions can be managed through this single interface after password verification. iEZman also makes remote power management extra easy by enabling remote system on, off, and reset through this GUI, as well as scheduling specific times for systems to wake from a sleep state or shut down.

 

Conclusion

Digital signage system designers can effectively reduce both power consumption and system cost low by choosing boards based on desktop Intel® Core™ processors.

 

retail[2].pngTo learn more about bringing intelligence to digital displays and other retail devices, see Digital Signage - Top Picks

 

efficiency[1].pngTo see other community content on energy efficiency, see Energy Efficiency – Top Picks.

 

IEI Technology Corporation is an Associate member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.

 

Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine

Next to winning, nothing encourages people at a casino to stick with a game longer than a highly immersive, multimedia-rich gaming experience. But for casino owners, the requirements of a gaming platform are much more. They want a machine that can’t be remotely compromised or otherwise tampered with. They want ways to minimize downtime and IT visits. Fortunately for platform designers, it’s now easy to provide the desired performance, security and manageability simply by standardizing gaming platforms on the 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor product family. In this post, I’m going to explain why, as well as provide an example of a board from Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance member Portwell on which to design a game platform.

 

The Ultimate Game in Visual and Audio Performance

Today’s casino goers have much greater expectations for gaming experiences. They’ve grown up with computer games. They know the advanced imaging and animation capabilities computers are capable of. Consequently, automated card, roulette, slot, and other gambling games need to provide similar high-definition 3D animation and video, as well as high quality audio, to captivate and satisfy these customers. Nor is one monitor enough. Another is required for tracking player-game information, such as points earned, player preferences, and casino services such as food and drink orders. Such conveniences are great when a player doesn’t want to leave a “lucky” machine during a hot streak. From the casino perspective, having even a third monitor offers a great way to advertise casino events to both the player and passersby.

 

All this is a lot to ask, particularly when electronic gaming system designers must compete on price for lucrative deals that could encompass hundreds of systems.

 

Fortunately for gaming platform designers, 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors can drive down bill of materials (BOM) cost to make their solutions more competitive. In addition to providing processing power to spare for applications, these processors include superlative integrated graphics that make expensive add-in graphics cards and subsystems unnecessary. This lowers system cost and form factor. What’s more, since discrete graphics components no longer need to be powered, it also reduces energy consumption. Selling to large casinos, this can be a great sales point.

 

Just how good are these integrated graphics? Intel® HD Graphics 4000, Intel’s upgraded graphics engine, offers an up to 2X boost in 3D performance and up to 60 percent faster graphics performance over the previous generation processor. Built-in support for three displays includes comprehensive video port options—including LVDS, VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort. Intel® Quick Sync Video provides native support for all mainstream codecs, as well as the ability to handle multiple 1080p streams simultaneously. And Intel® Clear Video HD Technology delivers advanced video technologies that remove jitter, create crisper visuals, plus enable adaptive contrast and skin-tone enhancements for vivid, rich colors. DirectX* 11, OpenGL* 3.1, and OpenCL* 1.1 are all supported.

 

Integrated Intel® High Definition Audio (Intel® HD Audio) also helps reduce BOM and provide excellent sound performance. Capable of playing back more channels at higher quality than previous integrated audio formats, Intel HD Audio delivers outstanding multi-channel audio experiences using newer audio and video encoding/decoding algorithms to enable a higher-quality listening experience. Intel HD Audio hardware is capable of delivering the support and sound quality for up to eight channels at 192 kHz/32-bit quality and is architected to prevent the occasional glitches or pops that other audio solutions can have by providing dedicated system bandwidth for critical audio functions.

Taking the Gamble Out of Security

Now let’s talk about security. Gaming IT departments need to maintain the integrity and security of sensitive customer information stored on their electronic gaming devices. Equally important, IT staff must prevent any form of tampering that could result in large revenue losses, as well as electronic sabotage via malware by disgruntled customers or employees.

 

Embedded security technologies in the 3rd generation Intel Core processor family enable a level of protection unavailable to embedded systems until now. These processors incorporate Intel® vPro™ technology, a suite of hardware-based security and management capabilities that operate below the operating system (OS), installed agents and applications, to provide a deeper level of threat management; access authentication; data protection; and monitoring, remediation, and reporting.

 

These security capabilities include:

 

Intel TXT merits extra description. When gaming platforms with Intel TXT are powered on, the configuration in which they are launched is measured and can be verified from a remote management console, ensuring that there has been no tampering of platform subsystems. In the event of an issue, “poison pill” capabilities in Intel vPro technology can be used either to remotely or automatically disable a system based on a policy. Game over for the malware.

 

Intel® VT is also a player here. Typically gaming devices run different software applications on a single platform. These applications include multiple networking games, random number generation, data analysis, player tracking and user interfaces. Intel® VT enables one machine to run multiple independent OSs concurrently and isolates these applications to be stored and executed individually. Not only does this help reduce virtualization overhead and software complexity, but it also, through this high degree of separation, increases system security.

 

For a multi-layered protection, add McAfee Deep Defender. Optimized to work with Intel Core processors, this product provides advanced stealth malware prevention, and also detection, quarantine, and remediation. It does this by tapping into McAfee DeepSAFE software. Jointly developed by McAfee and Intel, this software utilities Intel® VT to execute between the silicon and OS. This enables McAfee Deep Defender to help identify and stop in real time stealthy kernel mode rootkit attacks. Unlike static scans and user-mode protections, McAfee Deep Defender monitors memory operations, stopping unknown, zero-day infections before they have a chance to do damage. If the rootkit has been concealing secondary malware, that malware will be revealed for cleanup by user-level protections like McAfee VirusScan Enterprise.

 

A Winning Hand in Manageability

IT support costs are a major concern for casinos that may have hundreds of gaming platforms on a floor and when any one of them is done, that’s one less machine to earn money on. That’s where Intel® AMT comes into play. It provides remote out-of-band manageability capabilities, allowing staff to remotely access a device even if it is powered down or has a failure at the OS or BIOS level. Using Intel AMT, staff can remotely repair and update the BIOS, OS, or system software through the network. This means casino operators can manage several properties from one location. By reducing onsite technician visits to the floors, it helps reduce maintenance costs for casino owners while shortening the repair time for machines to get back in operation and generating revenue.

 

Another feature to touch on here is Intel® Smart Connect Technology. Introduced in the 3rd generation Intel Core processor family, this feature enables devices to download the latest software updates, such as game or security updates, even while sleeping. This enables immediate installation once the machine resumes a wake state.

 

Playing to Win Starts with the Right Board

If you’re designing a gaming platform, look to the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance for a wide range of boards based on 3rd generation Intel Core processors. A good example comes from Portwell. The Portwell WADE-8013 is a Mini-ITX board that uses 3rd generation Intel Core processors and the Intel® Q77 Express chipset to deliver many of the advanced features discussed here for gaming (Figure 1).

 

2_WADE-8013_American-Portwell.jpg

Figure 1. Portwell WADE-8013 Mini-ITX board.

 

The WADE-8013 has an extensive feature set, including the latest USB 3.0 high speed transmission technology which supports 10 USB ports (four USB 3.0 ports on rear IO and six USB 2.0 pin headers on board). The board provides two long DIMM memory slots for DDR3 SDRAM up to 16GB, and connections for three display types: VGA, HDMI and DVI-D. In addition, the WADE-8013 is equipped with dual Gigabit Ethernet connectors, four SATA ports, six COM ports, the latest PCIe 3.0 (one PCI Express x16 slot), and one Mini-PCIe slot supporting the mSATA interface.

 

The board supports Intel AMT and, according to Portwell, several gaming customers are already testing the platform for their designs.

 

What are thoughts about designing gaming platforms around 3rd generation Intel Core processors? I’d like to hear your comments. 

 

security[1].pngFor more on securing intelligent gaming systems, see intel.com/p/en_US/embedded/innovation/security. I’d also recommend this white paper on securing business PCs. It’s very applicable to securing a network of gaming systems.


Portwell is a premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. McAfee is an Associate member of the Alliance.


Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine

As industrial manufacturers increase the use of computer-controlled production line machinery and equipment to improve product quality and lower costs, the need for continuous process observation becomes vital. Intelligent system monitoring technology can be used in these critical industrial applications to detect abnormal conditions and allow users to take immediate action to eliminate waste and reduce downtime. These built-in, self-diagnostic systems are used in factory settings to avoid the waste and long periods of downtime required with a production line shutdown and restart. This blog will take a look at an example of an intelligent monitoring application from Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance member Advantech along with available hardware and software to simplify your next industrial design project.

 

The Advantech technical support website lists a number of applications where products based on Intel technology provide intelligent monitoring functions as a part of the manufacturing process. For example, the Solar Cell Test case study describes a subset of the automatic test and measurement equipment needed in a solar panel production facility (See figure 1). Through the use of pick-and-place motion control technology, solar cells are placed on a conveyer belt and then accurately monitored with discrete sensors and machine vision as they pass through each stage of the inspection procedure. The Advantech UNO-3084 dual-core embedded controller and integrated with a PCI-1202U AMONet communications card delivers commands for real-time motion control and status monitoring. AMONet is a hybrid RS-485-based fieldbus delivering high speed, deterministic communications with a 20 Mbps transfer rate. The controller can scan 1024 digital I/O channels within 1.04ms and manage up to 256 axes for motion control.

 

Solar Cell Case Study.jpg

 

The embedded controller used in this case study is just one example of Advantech’s wide selection of industrial computers based on Intel architecture. For example, the ARK-2105L high performance embedded computer designed around the 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ architecture is one of the most recent additions  (See figure 2). This new system is equipped with the Intel® Core™ i3/i7-3517UE processor and QM77 Express chipset plus multiple I/O ports for communicating with intelligent monitoring peripherals.  The ARK-2105L includes a number of features for rugged embedded applications including input power ranges from 12V to 24V, temperature ranges from -20° C to 60° C, structural strengthening, and easy expansion capabilities. The processor also includes a number of performance features that target industrial applications that require high-speed, high-definition image analysis and multiple video displays. The built-in Intel® HD Graphics technology provides up to 16 execution units with DirectX 11 and OpenGL 3.1 support.

 

ARK-2150L.jpg

 

Also supporting intelligent monitoring functions, Advantech recently announced SUSIAccess V2.0, a remote device management software application compatible with all their embedded platforms (See figure 3). SUSIAccess allows system designers to centralize monitoring and managing of remote embedded devices in real-time by automatically collecting device data and providing logs for remote management. The application monitors essential device status information including temperature, voltage, fan speed, signal strength, and remaining battery power. When errors occur, SUSIAccess notifies the administrator via warning popups and e-mail alerts. If there is a major system crash, the system automatically reboots in order to run diagnostics and deploy system recovery procedures. SUSIAccess is preloaded on all Advantech platforms and contains an on-demand software platform in the cloud, providing new applications and software updates.

 

susiaccess.jpg

 

In addition to the intelligent monitoring features described above, software developers addressing industrial automation applications can take advantage of Intel® vPro Technology to access, control, and reconfigure a remote embedded system. vPro includes Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) with certificate-based security for remote access regardless of the operational status of the system. This technology provides industrial automation support teams an economical method to monitor, manage, and control a large number of production platforms from a central location. If you are ready to start an industrial automation project requiring intelligent monitoring please share your questions and comments with fellow followers of the Intel® Embedded Community.  You can keep up with the latest technical articles and product announcements at the Embedded Computing Design archives on remote management.

 

industrial.pngTo learn more about the design of industrial automation systems, see “Top Picks – Industrial

 

manageability.jpgTo view other community content on Manageability, see "Manageability - Top Picks” 

 

Warren Webb
OpenSystems Media®, by special arrangement with the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

 

Advantech is a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.

 

Attention to the size, weight and power consumption (SWaP) of an embedded platform in military and aerospace applications becomes increasingly critical as devices become more mobile and integrated into other electrical and mechanical subsystems.  The principals for optimizing the SWaP ratio apply across all levels of technology from chips to boards to systems. Added to this is the additional focus on cooling and cost, commonly referred to as SWaP-C2. Here we are going to take a look at the top considerations for SWaP-C2 that can have the most impact on your next design. Included are current examples of how Intel technology can help with your SWaP-C2 conundrum.

 

Processor and chipset selection

Top on almost every embedded platform designer’s list is the choice of processor and any related chipsets. Here Intel has the mid to high performance processor choices covered. Start with the best performance to watt ratio with the Intel® Atom™ processors and chipsets, move up to the Intel® Core™ processors and chipsets when performance is a bit higher in priority. Atom processors are available starting at under 5 watts for maximum power efficiency. Intel®; Core™ processors start as low as 21 watts and go up from there. Key to the Intel® Core™ processors is the thermal management capability that lets you optimize the processor performance but gives you access to higher performance when needed. Check out the two posts, Roving Reporter: Cooling in an unconventional way and Roving Reporter:  BIOS suppliers respond to manipulating the BIOS to affect cooling.

 

Cost-effective SWaP management is best achieved by using commercially available components whenever possible to keep the cost part of SWaP-C2 in balance. Exotic components that are custom built can blow any budget out of the water. This also means that you don’t have the use the cheapest, lowest priced processors or chipsets, boards, or systems; you can select from enterprise grade parts, with wider operating environments, and still be more cost effective than designing with specialized components.

 

Processor core management and Hypervisors

With the widespread use of multicore processors come many SWaP-C2 advantages. One is the fact that you can run multiple operating environments on a single multicore processor, assigning dedicated cores to specific tasks, and eliminating the need for application specific processors. In essence, a single multi-core processor eliminates several stand alone chips from the past. How does this all come together? It requires software that is capable of managing multiple operating modes, a la, the hypervisor. Intel’s Wind River has this covered with their Hypervisor.

 

Wind River Hypervisor is an embedded hypervisor that brings a new level of flexibility to the development of embedded devices. It opens up new opportunities for cost savings through hardware consolidation; it allows developers to leverage multiple operating systems in a single device so they can expand and enhance device functionality; it facilitates the adoption of multi-core processors by increasing reliability and reducing risk; and it provides the new software configuration options required to architect next-generation embedded devices.

 

Learn more about using hypervisors to improve your SWaP-C2 ratio by reading Roving Reporter: Paravirtualization improves hypervisor performance.

 

Power Management

Power management is addressed in the processor with Enhanced Intel SpeedStep®; Technology and Thermal Monitoring Technologies. Managing the processor speed has a great impact on the power budget of a system. Enhancements in 3rd Generation Intel®; Core™ processors makes power management even easier. Effective power management can eliminate the need for expensive, large, and heavy cooling systems. Designing a system that provides the proper amount of operating margin without blowing the SWaP or cost budget is important.

 

GPGPU - General Purpose Graphics Processor Unit

Adding additional functionality to processor packages is a favorite way to improve the SWaP-C2 ratio. Systems-on-a-chip (SOCs) have been doing this for years. One of the most power intensive processor blocks is the graphics processor (GP). Once you have added a GP to the die, you can then use that to aid in general purpose computational processing tasks. The ability to add this key functionality to today’s die packages is a major breakthrough in reducing the SWaP ratio, totally eliminating the need to expensive, space consuming graphics co-processors or boards. The fact that you can even use the processing capability of the GPU for other aspects of the application at no additional hardware costs is a huge savings in all areas of SWaP.

 

The latest 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ processors come equipped with the Intel® HD Graphics 4000/2500. This enables leading edge graphics capability all within a single chip solution. While designed primarily for the gaming industry, many military applications have the same requirements for high levels of graphics performance. Intel HD Graphics offers powerful features that enable a highly responsive and stunning 3D visual experience:

  • Advanced technologies that deliver higher performance and better energy efficiency.
  • Faster 3D rendering and more complex shading create incredibly responsive and realistic 3D graphics.
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000 delivers immersive mainstream capabilities with entry-level discrete graphics card performance—without an additional graphics card or chip.
  • Intel HD Graphics 2500 delivers casual capabilities without an additional graphics card or chip.


Solid State Disk drives

The ability to capture data accurately and efficiently is becoming as important as the advancement in the weaponry in the Mil-Aero market. To achieve increased functionality, performance and extended mission life in electronic systems, SWaP must be managed and reduced across applications. Developers are looking for embedded storage solutions that are smaller, lighter, and less expensive that can meet SWaP standards. Solid State Disks or SSDs are becoming very cost effective, leading the charge to reduce size and weight while remaining cost effective and improving system performance.

 

Premio has solved this challenge by offering developers a small Echostreams 1U 18" short-depth and light-weight storage system that supports an embedded Unified Storage Controller with onboard Intel i350 (GbE)/X540 (10GbE) Ethernet Controller, or an 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ processor-based ATX motherboard, ideal for low-power and high-performance digital data/content recording applications used on aircraft, submarines, and even in vehicles. And while similar solutions on the market are much longer and can only accommodate ten SSD drives, the 2.5” high Intel SSD 520 drives made it possible to support sixteen SSD bays with an AC/DC or DC/DC power supply, all in one compact package.

Premio Image.JPG

 

Premio 1U 16bay FlacheSAN1S

 

“Our biggest challenge when it comes to SWaP is in understanding exactly what a customer really needs,” commented Gene Lee. “Many customer won’t tell us the details of how a system will operate, so they often do not ask for the right solution.” Customers often have a hard time distinguishing between hard and soft requirements which leads them to frequently pick products that are either too expensive to build or compromises on key capabilities that comes back to haunt them later.

 

Small Form Factors

Size is relevant to the application. What may be considered small enough for one application may be way too large for another. When it comes to selecting a module, board, or system form factor, there is no shortage of choices; many of them are specifically targeted at small form factors. While the size is relevant to the application, there are many choices.

 

Intel works with the embedded community to support the development of a host of small form factors utilizing Intel processors from Atom to 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ processors. These platforms target intelligent systems across all markets. Single board computers and systems based on these small form factors greatly improve the SWaP-C2 ratio especially when total product life costs are taken into consideration.

 

“The combination of ruggedness, reliability and performance in Radisys’ COM Express modules enables our customers to implement an entire system or network that can be picked up and moved to meet changing battlefield situations,” said Jennifer Zickel, COM Express product line manager, Radisys. Radisys’ CEQM77, with third-generation Intel Core i7 processing, enables video applications in the defense, medical and enterprise markets to be brought into smaller more efficient space designs.

 

Many members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance offer board and system level products of all types and configurations to address your preferred SWaP-C2 priorities.

 

Connectors

This may be one of the few technology areas impacting SWaP where Intel does not have a catalog offering though they may be closer than they think. As systems get smaller, there is a need smaller and more higher performing connectors. Active cables are one way to increase the performance so it is not a far stretch to the day when Intel processors will be embedded at one or both ends of cables to make them active.

 

But while Intel may not actually produce connectors, they do influence the protocols that require connectors. USB is perhaps the most ubiquitous connection in play today. Used in devices of all types, size and performance are key to its continued acceptance in all markets. Intel launched the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) in 1995 and the rest is history. Size and performance are the two top priorities for the USB standard as mobile devices of all types implement USB as the primary physical interconnection to other devices. Today, SuperSpeed USB 3.0 provides the highest standard in USB performance—up to 10 times faster than High-Speed USB 2.0, with a design data rate of five Gbps. In addition, SuperSpeed USB dramatically reduces the power necessary to transfer large amounts of data. Portable devices such as handhelds, cell phones, and digital cameras that connect to PCs as USB peripherals benefit from having additional capabilities to connect to other USB devices directly using USB On-The-Go (OTG) technology.

 

Thunderbolt™ is a new technology that is having great impact on SWaP. Transforming device interconnectivity, Thunderbolt™ technology is a dual protocol I/O innovation that dramatically increases transfer performance with bi-directional 10Gbps speed and offers daisy chaining to multiple devices, providing flexibility and simplicity for innovative system designs.

 

Out of all of this is a drive to continuously improve protocols and connector technology to be smaller and higher in capability and performance provided support for data, video, audio, and power connectivity.

 

Chassis cooling technology

Fully understanding the operating environment is very critical when it comes to chassis cooling. For instance, an embedded subsystem designed to operating without fan, will require some kind of airflow over the chassis. Otherwise the system will slow cook the system around it – leading to eventual failure. Even a very low power system without the right airflow will impart long-term damage.

 

Used widely in server platforms, the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) specification continues to improve server management and help reduce costs. IPMI is implemented by many intelligent systems, playing a key role in SWaP-C2 by providing a tool for chassis management and cooling.

 

efficiency.png

For more on energy efficiency, see Roving Reporter: Improved Energy Efficiency Can Eliminate Active Cooling Devices, Reduce Power Consumption, and Save Board Space

 

References

Energy Efficiency - Top Picks

Military, Aerospace, Government - Top Picks

 

Radisys is a Premier member and Premio Inc. is an Affiliate member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.

 

Jerry Gipper

OpenSystems Media®, by special arrangement with Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Editorial Director,OpenSystems Media, VITA Technologies

Filter Blog

By author:
By date:
By tag: