Networking feeds and speeds have been dramatically increasing. The previously ubiquitous 100 Megabit Ethernet has been replaced by Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and many GbE connections are being replaced by 10 GbE. To keep network traffic flowing networking systems need high performance processors that can handle exception packet processing, network management and other functions that are not supported by dedicated hardware in the system.

 

In this blog I am going to explore the benefits of using 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processors in communications platforms. These processors provide significantly more processing power per watt than previous generations and some integrate high performance graphics processors (GPUs) that can be used to accelerate key functions such as media processing. For this blog I am using examples from Advantech and Kontron, both Premier members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance and JumpGen Systems, a General member of the Alliance. The 250-plus members of the Alliance collaborate closely with Intel to create hardware, software, tools, and services to help speed embedded systems to market.

 

4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processors for Communications

 

4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processors are built using the latest Intel microarchitecture (codename Haswell). The new microarchitecture includes new instructions for faster encryption and new hardware-based media accelerators. The combination of the 22nm manufacturing process and intelligent power management, with Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0, significantly increases the average processor performance per watt, making these processors ideal for networking platforms where power is a significant consideration.

 

4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processors integrate Intel® Iris™ or Intel® HD Graphics. The Intel® Iris™ and Intel® HD Graphics GPUs provide support for DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.0, OpenCL 1.2. OpenCL allows easy porting of processor intensive functions to the GPU offloading the CPU cores and other system processors. The Intel® Media SDK accelerates systems development and supports several key functions including MPEG2 encode acceleration, interlaced encoding for both MPEG2 and H.264 and XEN GPU virtualization.

 

Advanced Mezzanine Cards (AMC)

 

Advanced Mezzanine Cards (AMC) are flexible modules that can be used with a wide range of communications platforms including AdvancedTCA, MicroTCA and proprietary systems. There are several types of AMC module including processor AMCs, I/O AMCs and storage AMCs. Systems can provide scalable processing capacity by using one or more processor AMC(s).

 

The Kontron AM4022 Processor AMC is shown in Figure 1. The latest version integrates an Intel® Core™ i7-4860EQ Processor with four cores and Intel® Iris™ Pro graphics 5200 (GT3e). The 2.4GHz i7-4860EQ has a 3.6GHz turbo mode, 6M cache and 47W Max TDP. The AM4022 has dual GE interfaces on the front panel and GE and PCI Express interfaces to the system.

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Figure 1. Kontron AM4022 Processor AMC.

 

The JumpGen PRM130 Processor AMC shown in Figure 2 integrates a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel® Core™ Processor i5-4402E with 3MB cache and Intel® HD Graphics 4600 A higher power version with 2.4GHz quad-core Intel® Core™ Processor i7-4700EQ is also available. The module has dual GE interfaces on the front panel and 10GbE or PCI Express interfaces to the system.

 

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Figure 2. JumpGen PRM130 Processor AMC.

 

Accelerating Rackmount Appliances

 

The Advantech FWA-3231 shown in Figure 3 is a 1U rackmount Network Appliance that supports a wide-range of 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors including 2-core Intel® Core™ i3 and 4-core Intel® Core™ i5 or Intel® Core™ i7 processors. The platform supports up to 32GB memory and two 2.5” disk drives. The system has very flexible interfaces with PCI Express Gen 3 and PCI Express Gen 2 expansion slots and support for four network mezzanine cards (NMC). Each NMC slot can support several network interface combinations including 8-port Gigabit Ethernet and dual port 10GbE.

 

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Figure 3. Advantech FWA-3230 Network Appliance.

 

Kontron has several platforms with support for 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processors . The Kontron OM6063 shown in Figure 4 is a 1U 19" 6-slot MicroTCA system. The platform will accommodate up to six mid-size AMC modules such as the Kontron AM4022 and integrates 10GbE, PCI Express and Serial RapidIO (sRIO) switching.

 

The Kontron OM6063 can be used for many different applications including video transcoding. When configured with six AMC modules using 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4860EQ Processors the system will support up to 48 live transcoded 1080p videos.


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Figure 4. Kontron OM6063 MicroTCA System.

 

The Kontron SYMKLOUD shown in Figure 5 is a 2U rackmount platform. Each system will support up to 18 Intel® Core™ i7-Processors 4860EQ each with up to 8GB memory. The system integrates two hot swap 10GbE switches and load balancing subsystem. When used for video transcoding a single Kontron SYMKLOUD system will support over two hundred MPEG2 to H.264 transcoding streams. A stack of eight SYMKLOUD systems will support over 1700 MPEG2 to H.264 transcoding streams.

 

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Figure 5. Kontron SYMKLOUD Media Cloud Platform.

 

The AMC modules and rackmount platforms covered in this blog are all available with 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors that accelerate exception packet processing, network management and other functions in communications systems and therefore increase the throughput of the system. By using the integrated GPU these solutions can also dramatically increase the performance of processor intensive functions such as video transcoding.

 

Learn More

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Solutions in this blog:

 

Related topics:

 

Advantech and Kontron are Premier members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance. JumpGen Systems is a General member of the Alliance.

 

Simon Stanley

Roving Reporter (Intel® Contractor), Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance

Principal Consultant, Earlswood Marketing

Follow me on Twitter: @simon_stanley