CES 2012: AppliedMicro Enables Multi-gigabit Data Rates for Next Generation IEEE 802.11ac Wireless Access Points

I remember, in the not so distant past, when a wireless router was a miraculous piece of tech. Nowadays though the standard is far higher. The new Catalina APM86491 is possible the best example of this – utilizing it’s embedded System-on-a-chop processor that’s tailor made for next-gen IEEE 802.11ac wireless access points.

Catalina’s enterprise-class QoS engine, TCP offload engines, a 4Gbps packet classification engine and application aware offloads allow consumers to store, stream and share digital content at lightning speeds for an enhanced digital media experience. The company will demonstrate the Catalina platform at 2012 International CES.

The IEEE 802.11ac standard emerges when the digital home network is converging toward an all-in-one appliance that serves as a router, wireless access point and networked storage drive. Catalina’s highly integrated design is ideally suited for this convergence because it supports a variety of high speed interfaces within the device. Two PCI-Express® 2.0 interfaces support dual concurrent 802.11ac radio devices; two SATA interfaces support internal storage connectivity and two USB 3.0 ports – one host and one OTG – provide external storage connectivity. Additionally, four Gigabit Ethernet ports are available for a variety of network configurations. This combination enables next generation 802.11ac wireless access points to be integrated into all-in-one network appliances. Catalina APM86491 is the industry’s first embedded processor equipped to handle the bandwidth requirements of this new class of consumer home network systems.

By providing market leading Wi-Fi® throughput of more than 2Gbps the Catalina APM86491 delivers enterprise-class performance for consumer applications. With the combination of 802.11ac support and two integrated USB 3.0 ports supporting bandwidth up to 5 Gbits/sec each, the Catalina enables transfer rates 10X faster than competing solutions for Wireless Access Points (WAP) with USB 2.0 ports. The SoC processor is also backward compatible to USB 2.0 devices.

“Current integrated radio and processor SoC solutions are unable to deliver the performance demanded by IEEE 802.11ac base systems, providing Catalina with unique positioning in this market. The latest WLAN standard offers longer range and improved wall penetration for better wireless network service. Additionally, 802.11ac supports more users and higher throughput to enable a richer media experience,” said Vinay Ravuri, Vice President and General Manager of the Embedded Processor Business Unit of AppliedMicro. “In order to build next-generation systems, it is essential to have a CPU with the throughput that delivers a high quality video streaming experience and support for multiple simultaneous streams. Catalina’s SLIMpro™ co-processor, TCP offload engines for both transmit and receive, queue manager, classifier and security engine divert CPU intensive tasks into hardware to deliver the industry’s best throughput performance for next-generation wireless access point designs.”

AppliedMicro also offers the industry’s first integrated software programmable co-processor within the APM86491 Catalina SoC for application specific customizable offloads. SLIMpro allows AppliedMicro to provide the industry’s first receive-side TCP offload engine to further improve network throughput. Performance improves more than 100 percent in applications such as NAS through the use of a TCP receive side offload engine. Performance is also provided by Catalina’s 1 GHz Power Architecture® 465 CPU featuring a dual issue, out-of-order processor core. The net result for consumers is uninterrupted performance with no stalls during data transfers. Furthermore, bandwidth multiplexing, speed and coverage range of IEEE 802.11ac wireless solutions are improved as On-The-Go (OTG) sharing becomes more pervasive through smart phones, tablets, laptops and HD displays.

The SLIMpro co-processor responds to network control packets while the main CPU and the rest of the SoC remain in a deep sleep mode, operating at less than 250mW to further reduce Total Cost of Ownership. The SoC operates at less than 3W under typical operation conditions to support Power-over-Ethernet (POE) requirements. Low power operation also eliminates cooling fans and heat sinks from system designs for reduced bill-of-material cost.

Catalina features an advanced hardware-based QoS engine with support for DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) for prioritization of real-time and latency sensitive traffic. The SoC leverages its queue manager and classifier to perform bandwidth management with 256 queues, 1024 search filters, and 128 traffic policers and shapers. This provides a richer video experience while voice and web traffic remain unaffected by multiple simultaneous streams and applications.

Catalina provides 64-byte L2 bridging performance with a classifier offload equal to 762Mbps, delivers 100 percent Ethernet line rate performance with no CPU utilization. IP forwarding 64-byte performance with classifier offload delivers 621Mbps at 100 percent CPU utilization. IP forwarding 1500-byte performance with classifier offload delivers 986Mbps at zero percent CPU utilization. Catalina’s Robocopy NAS writes equal 110 Megabytes per second (MBps) at 80 percent CPU utilization. Iometer NAS writes are 110 MBps at 35 percent CPU utilization and Iometer NAS reads are 108 MBps at 40 percent CPU utilization.

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