Low-Power Ethernet Access Switch Targets Mobile Apps

Jan. 3, 2012
New Ethernet switch IC from Vitesse called Serval is designed to implement Ethernet in mobile backhaul and network edge applications.

Also known as the VSC7418, Vitesse’s Serval Carrier Ethernet switching engine is designed for optimized mobile backhaul and small cell systems. It fits between the radio modem and a Gigabit Ethernet PHY and provides 11-port layer 2 switching with MPLS and MPLS-TP support.

Today’s 3G and 4G/LTE (Long-Term Evolution) mobile basestation and backhaul networks have evolved to packet-based Gigabit Ethernet (GE) systems to meet customer demands for services such as high-speed Internet access, gaming, and video streaming.

LTE and future LTE-Advanced 4G deployments have placed more requirements on network timing, power, and operations, administration, and maintenance (OAM), particularly for small-cell deployments required in LTE networks. Network access equipment such as Ethernet access devices (EADs) and network interface devices (NIDs) is similarly transitioning to pure packet-based Ethernet driven by business demands for SLA-backed (service-level agreement) access to cloud services.

Current solutions serving these markets carry the high power and cost penalty of legacy time-domain multiplexing (TDM) support. Additionally, they lack advanced Carrier Ethernet network requirements such as precision IEEE 1588v2 timing, the essential precision timing protocol required for operating mobile and edge networks.

Optimized for Ethernet, Vitesse’s Serval meets all of these stringent carrier network requirements and delivers twice the switching bandwidth at half the power consumed by a comparable NPU-based (network processing unit) solution. Designated the VSC7418, it’s the newest member of the company’s family of Ethernet switch engine solutions for carrier access, aggregation, and mobile applications.

Serval is optimized for power and cost-sensitive applications at the network edge, delivering 75% lower power and 50% lower bill of materials (BOM) costs than competitive options. It also is the industry’s only switch engine family to support MPLS/MPLS-TP (multiprotocol label switching-transport profile) label-edge router (LER) and label-switching router (LSR) and patented LTE-Advanced-ready IEEE 1588v2, useable in both fiber and microwave applications.

Furthermore, Serval offers the most complete Ethernet OAM support. That’s critical for businesses, which typically receive Ethernet services spanning multiple service provider networks. Serval is just in time to meet the growing acceptance of Carrier Ethernet in microwave and fiber backhaul equipment for cellular networks.

Serval is ideal for fiber, microwave, and millimeter-wave backhaul, as well as wireline network edge devices, because it uniquely offers full OAM in hardware, including the maintenance entity end points (MEPs) defined in IEEE 802.ag as MEP-Up and MEP-Down. Such connectivity fault management is crucial for businesses that often must rely on various service providers for Ethernet access.

While the competition lags on implementing the same level of precision of Vitesse’s IEEE1588v2 solution, Serval delivers a Vitesse-patented feature set for transparent clock support over microwave networks. It also boasts hierarchical quality of service (QoS) such as multi-stage scheduling, policing, and traffic shaping plus the ability to separate subscriber types with per subscriber queuing.

Serval features nine 10/100/1000-Mbit/s SGMII/SERDES (serializer-deserializer) ports and two 2.5G SGMII/SERDES ports (see the figure). It provides a set of Carrier Ethernet switching features such as MPLS/MPLS-TP, MEF Ethernet services, hierarchical QoS scheduling, provider bridging, protection switching, OAM, 1588 precision time protocol, and Synchronous Ethernet.

Also, the solution supports advanced TCAM-based (TCAM?) SLA guarantees. A TCAM-based Vitesse Content Aware Processor (VCAP) ensures security. An embedded 416-MHz MIPS processor 32-bit CPU with DDR2/DDR3 external memory and DMA-based frame extraction and insertion supports timing over packet and the injection of advanced data flows for service activation measurement (SAM) testing.

Serval is an excellent choice for mobile backhaul and for service provider demarcation points in edge and access devices. A comprehensive application programming interface (API) and software package are provided for Carrier Ethernet applications. The software package integrates easily with third-party software, preserving existing software investments while adding new, enhanced carrier functionality.

Samples are available now. More information about Serval can be found at www.vitesse.com/products/product.php?number=VSC7418.

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp.


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