Network appliances are key systems for small and medium sized enterprises. The Intel® Atom™ processor C2000 product family (formerly code named Rangeley) are enabling a new generation of entry level network appliances that deliver significantly higher performance using fewer components. The solution integrates several features that have previously only been available in systems using multicore Intel® Xeon® processors.


In this blog I am going to explore the benefits that the Intel Atom processor C2000 product family brings to network appliances and other communications systems. For this blog I am using implementation examples from Premier members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance Advantech and Portwell. If you are at IDF 2013 this week, be sure to stop by their booths to see these products for yourself, as well as many other intelligent systems from the 250-plus members of the Alliance.


Intel® Atom™ Processor C2000 family


The Intel Atom processor C2000 product family is a range of highly integrated multicore, pin-compatible system-on-chip devices. A block diagram is shown in Figure 1. The devices integrate up to eight low-power Intel Silvermont microarchitecture cores, dual DDR3-1600 memory interfaces, sixteen PCI Express Gen 2.0 lanes, four Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, storage and general-purpose interfaces, and, optionally, Intel® QuickAssist Technology.

Intel Atom processor C2000 family.jpg

Figure 1. Intel® Atom™ processor C2000 family


The Intel® QuickAssist Technology accelerates encryption and decryption using integrated hardware engines. Intel Atom processor C2000 product family is also supported by the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel® DPDK). The Intel DPDK is a set of source code programming libraries that accelerate basic data plane functions for Intel® processors. By using Intel DPDK system developers can reduce time to market and quickly implement packet processing functions.


Intel Atom processor C2000 product family-based devices are available with two, four or eight cores and with or without Intel QuickAssist Technology. The devices utilize Intel’s 22 nm process technology with 3-D Tri-Gate transistors. Thermal design power is 7W up to 20W with eight 2.4GHz cores making this a very energy-efficient solution.


The Intel Atom processor C2000 product family is a unique solution that is already gaining significant traction with system developers. The integration of high speed interfaces and Intel QuickAssist Technology makes these devices ideal for a huge range of dense communications applications and intelligent systems.


Network Appliances


Network appliances provide cost effective solutions for network security and related functions for small and medium sized businesses. Network appliances are usually stand-alone boxes or 1U rackmount chassis. Key functions for network appliances include packet inspection and forwarding, encryption and decryption, and control plane processing. The latest network appliances also integrate LAN bypass. LAN bypass is used to connect a wide area network (WAN) directly to the local area network (LAN) in the event of a major system failure limiting the business.

FWA-2320 and Block Diagram.jpg

Figure 2. Advantech FWA-2320 Network Appliance.


The Advantech FWA-2320 Network Appliance is a 1U system supporting dual and quad core Intel Atom processor C2000 product family. As shown in Figure 2 the number of devices required is kept to a minimum due to the highly integrated processor device. The system supports four Ethernet interfaces that can be configured as dual WAN and LAN ports with LAN bypass. The Advantech FWA-2320 Network Appliance design can be configured to meet specific system requirements with support for any Intel Atom processors C2000 for Communications Infrastructure.


CAR-2050 Smaller.jpg

Figure 3. Portwell CAR-2050 Network Appliance.


The Caswell CAR-2050 Network Appliance available through Portwell integrates an eight core Intel Atom processor C2000 product family with Intel QuickAssist Technology. The 1U rackmount system has dual swappable network interface units and up to four HDDs. The CAR-2050 Network Appliance is designed for use in security applications such as firewall, virtual private networks (VPN), intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS) and unified threat management (UTM). The system can also be used in a wider range of applications including routers, gateways, server load balancing and industrial automation.


Highly Integrated Communications Systems


The Intel Atom processor C2000 family for Communications Infrastructure opens up new opportunities for highly integrated communications systems. Figure 4 shows a ruggedized appliance proof of concept for security applications from Advantech. The system uses the same motherboard as the Advantech FWA-2320 Network Appliance and the power efficient Intel Atom processor C2000 enables a fanless design. This approach is driving more cost effective solutions for security and other networking applications in a wide range of environments.


0820 Small.jpgFigure 4. Advantech ARK10T Ruggedized Appliance for Security Applications.


The Intel Atom processor C2000 product family is driving a new generation of  network appliances and other communications systems for small and medium-sized businesses. The integration of up to 8 processor cores, hardware acceleration for security and high-speed network I/O delivers new levels of performance within existing power and chassis constraints. The Intel Atom processor C2000 product family is also being used in a wide range of communications applications beyond network appliances and this will be the subject of a future blog.


Learn More

Contact Featured Alliance Members:

Solutions in this blog:


Related topics:


Advantech and Portwell are Premier members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.


Simon Stanley

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

Principal Consultant, Earlswood Marketing

Follow me on Twitter: @simon_stanley