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issue: February 2003 APPLIANCE Magazine

Technology Report
Integrated ARM9®-based Gateway Solution

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Micrel Semiconductor offers the KS8695 chip and reference design package, reportedly one of the industry's most integrated high-performance home office gateway solutions.

The new KS8695 gateway solution from Micrel Semiconductor includes several hardware accelerations and optimizations to offload CPU utilization to enhance performance. Included are a protocol engine and three DMA engines with FIFO buffers. The protocol engine speeds up network protocol applications such as NAT, the most common SOHO gateway protocol for Internet sharing. The DMA engines and FIFO buffers increase the data traffic efficiency among the WAN port, CPU, and LAN ports.

The KS8695 is the latest addition to the company's Ethernet product family for small office/home office (SOHO) and residential gateway, networking, wireless LAN, and fiber-to-the-home Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) applications. The device is a multi-port gateway-on-a-chip supported by software and tools said to provide a complete hardware and software solution for ODM/OEM customers.

With the introduction of the KS8695, Micrel says it is the first company to successfully integrate five-port fast Ethernet transceivers, MACs, switch controller, and on-chip frame buffer memory with a high-performance ARM922T core into one solution.

According to the company, the fast-growing SOHO and home broadband gateway markets are demanding a highly integrated SoC solution that enables users to develop cost-competitive products. "The KS8695 provides performance headroom for value-added differentiations such as Firewall, VPN, or routing speed," says Dr. Tian Liou, vice president and general manager for Micrel-Kendin Operations.

"Micrel-Kendin was the first to introduce an integrated five-port Ethernet switch for the gateway market. Following on the heels of generations of switch and transceiver products and shipments of more than 70 million Fast Ethernet ports, the KS8695 represents a new plateau of integrated silicon solution," he continues.

Micrel says its KS8695 platform enables OEM/ODM customers to provide up to six times the routing performance of a typical existing gateway product.

It also offers the following features:

  • A 166-MHz 32-bit ARM922T(R) CPU core with a memory-management-unit (MMU).
  • Five-port Ethernet managed switch, on-chip frame buffers, and five low-power mixed-signal 10/100 transceivers for WAN port Internet sharing and LAN switching at wire speed.
  • The WAN port connection supports xDSL, cable modem, wireless, and fiber. All five transceivers support Auto MDI/MDIX to detect and support crossover cable.
  • PCMCIA and MII interfaces for wireless LAN 802.11 and its variants (802.11b/a/g) to enable combo wireline and wireless LAN router products.
  • A variety of hardware accelerations and optimizations to offload CPU utilization to enhance performance.

Typical applications include SOHO and residential gateways for broadband access sharing, firewall or VPN (Virtual Private Network) security appliances, and combo wireline and wireless LAN gateways. Additionally, the KS8695 can address VoIP gateway or Fiber-to-the-Home CPE applications.

This information is provided by Micrel Semiconductor, San Jose, CA, U.S.


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