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Component makers adapt to connected world.

The data and compute cloud is expanding rapidly across a variety of application spaces. For, example, capital markets are set to increase investment in cloud services, continuing the trend of technology adoption in that industry, according to Ovum. New research from the global analyst firm indicates that improvements in cloud security and a wider variety of applications are spurring on further growth.(1)

Broadcom cited exponential growth in worldwide network traffic from connected devices and cloud services when announcing in October an architecture for its new generation of multicore processors featuring a 64-bit ARM core. The network traffic growth, the company said, is creating a need for service providers to migrate to agile and flexible cloud-based networks that support dynamically changing services and workloads.

To support this next wave of virtualization, Broadcom will deliver anew class of processors optimized to drive high computational performance for control and data plane processing and high throughput for networking functions like security and packet processing. Using its ARMv8-A architectural license. Broadcom is developing a new CPU core with server-class performance for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), with virtuali7ed accelerators for networking, communications, big data, storage, and security applications.

Broadcom also announced a partnership with ARM to. define and develop an open, standards-based NFV software environment for the ARM ecosystem.

"Given ever-increasing network bandwidth and new services, network managers are looking to virtual 17e network functions to improve scalability and efficiency across the entire network.," said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group, in a press release. "Broadcom' s new quad-issue, quad-threaded, out-of-order processor design takes the ARM architecture to a new level of performance, raising the bar for other multicore processor vendors. Because of its architectural innovations and 16-nm process, we expect the design to deliver outstanding performance on both single-threaded and multithreaded workloads."

Wi-Fi Client Module

Microchip Technology, a provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog, and flash-IP solutions, alSo cited the cloud when reporting results for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2013. Record net sales were $492.7 million, up 6.5% sequentially and up 28.5% from net sales in the year-ago quarter. The press release announcing the financial results noted, "The company also created a cloud-based deVelopment platform, including the Wi-Fi Client Module Development Kit ... which now is available on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace. It allows embedded engineers to easily connect their designs to the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service, bridging the cloud and embedded worlds to further enable the Internet of Things."

Microchip's cloud development platform enables embedded engineers to quickly learn cloud-based communications. The platform provides designers with the ability to easily create a working demo that connects an embedded application with the Amazon EC2 service, which supports scalable, pay-as-you-go compute capacity in the cloud.

At the heart of the cloud platform is Microchip's Wi-Fi Client Module Development Kit, which includes a Microchip RN] 71 Wi-Fi module and a PIC24 application microcontroller. The kit is designed to communicate via a local Wi-Fi network with an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), enabling a user to quickly connect a Microchip MCU embedded in the module to a cloud server. The process lets users learn how to commission embedded products to local Wi-Fi networks, set up an Amazon AMI, and create databases on the AMI instance.

Amazon describes an AMI as an encrypted machine image of a specific computer running a base operating system, configured in a specific way; it also can contain a set of applications and services for accomplishing a specific purpose. An AMI includes the information necessary to start up and nua the software on the image. Instances of an AMI run on the AWS computing environment The Wi-Fi Client Module Development Kit costs $99. The AMI is offered at no charge.

"I view this as a huge step forward for corporations that produce embedded products, to quickly develop infrastructure and connect their devices to the cloud," said Mike Ballard, senior manager of Microchip's Home Appliance Solutions Group and leader of its Cloud Enablement Team. "With the vast amount of expertise and scalability provided by AWS, developers can easily customize their connectivity instances and the user's experience."

"With Microchip's Wi-Fi Client Module Development Kit available via our AWS Marketplace, customers can easily learn to connect embedded products to AWS," said Sajai Krishnan, general manager of AWS Marketplace, in a press release. "This is an effective step to help bridge the embedded world and the cloud."

Copper to the Cloud

Of course, you probably won't get to the cloud via Wi-Fi alone. You'll need fiber optics, although you may be able to rely on old-fashioned copper. Pulse Electronics recently introduced the BX4285LNL and BX4285LNLT VDSL vectoring transformers that can be used in both very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line 2 (VDSL2) vectoring and nonvectoring configurations as Class H line drivers to deliver high bandwidth--to 100 Mb/s--over existing copper transmission lines. (VDSL2 vectoring cuts interference among the VDSL2 lines in a bundle.) The Pulse Electronics transformers can be used with Broadcom's BCM65x00 chipset family.

"Where the copper infrastructure is already in place, it makes sense to adopt VDSL2 vectoring because it makes it possible to achieve download rates of up to 100 Mb/s and possibly beyond," explained Ronan Kelly, Pulse Electronics broadband product manager, in a press release. -Pulse transformers, in conjunction with the Broad-com chipset, produce the high-speed data rates that are needed for applications such as HD video, gaming, multimedia services, cloud computing, video conferencing, electronic services like healthcare and education, and other consumer, business, and government services that require high bandwidth."


(1.) Turner, R., "Cloud in the Capital Markets: A Progress Report," Ovum, Sept. 23, 2013.

by Rick Nelson, Executive Editor
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Author:Nelson, Rick
Publication:EE-Evaluation Engineering
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2014
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