Marvell Details Networking, Mobile Moves at Computex

Company officials say the offerings will help customers address the demand for more robust wireless networks and more mobile devices.


Marvell Technology officials were talking wireless networking and mobile during last week's Computex 2015 show.

The company unveiled a new system-on-a-chip for 802.11ac Wave 2 devices for both wireless enterprise and consumer products. It also added to its Prestera DX and Link Street small-office, home-office (SOHO) portfolio for network switches.

In addition, Marvell rolled out a reference design based on its new Armada Mobile PXA 1936 SoC. The goal is to accelerate the development of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The reference designs will incorporate Microsemi's Power over Ethernet (PoE) equipment. The partnership will bring PoE capabilities to a range of connected network applications, including devices for the Internet of Things (IoT), wireless access points, 4G LTE small cells and sensors, the company said.

What links these moves is the continued drive toward a more mobile world, the proliferation of connected mobile devices and the demand for more robust wireless networks.

"Today's consumers expect and demand high-performance, robust, secure and seamless connectivity between all their connected devices at all times," Philip Poulidis, vice president and general manager of Marvell's Wireless and Internet of Things business unit, said in a statement introducing the company's Avastar 88W8997, a small MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple-input and multiple-output) SoC aimed at devices for both enterprise and consumer markets.

The 88W8997 is a 28-nanometer 2x2 802.11ac Wave 2 combo. It includes support for Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and features, such as Bluetooth Low Energy Direction Finding, 2 Mb/s LE, and LTE Coex. Company officials expect these features will be in the upcoming Bluetooth 5.0 release due out next year.

Marvell said the SoC can hit a peak data rate of 867 Mb/s over a 2x2 MU-MIMO link. It is aimed at everything from smartphones and tablets to gaming, TV and set-top box applications. It includes integrated dual-band power amplifiers, low-noise amplifiers and switching, all of which drive down the cost of the devices incorporating the SoC. The 88W8997, with its 28nm design and other features, reduces power consumption over competitive components by as much as 40 percent, the company said.

It supports Microsoft's Windows, Google's Android and Chrome, and Linux operating systems.

Marvell is bringing 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet, 5GbE, 10GbE and 40GbE support to an array of switching systems through additions to its Prestera DX and Link Street SOHO lineups for smaller enterprises and small offices. The highly integrated ARM-based Prestera CPUs and accompanying network software are aimed at high-density 1GbE and 2.5GbE deployments at the network edge and 10GbE and 40GbE aggregation in small- and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) and businesses (SMBs).

The 88E6390X adds to Marvell's Link Street SOHO switch portfolio and is aimed at applications like standalone switches and wireless and wired gateway routers, officials said.

The new Prestera DX8212 and DX8208 packet processors target solutions for 10GbE/40GbE network appliance connectivity at SMBs and the SME environment. Combined with the vendor's X3240 10GBase-T PHYs, the new processors enable users to more easily move from 1GbE copper or fiber to 10GbE copper or fiber. Meanwhile, the DX4211 and DX4210 chips are aimed at the enterprise edge and industrial Ethernet applications, supporting port speeds of 1GbE, 2.5GbE, 5GbE, 10GbE and 40GbE.

"The proliferation of new 802.11ac-enabled wireless access points and higher throughput 4G/LTE small cells is forcing an infrastructure upgrade from 1GbE to 2.5GbE over existing cable plants," Michael Zimmerman, vice president and general manager for Marvell's Connectivity, Storage and Infrastructure business unit, said in a statement. "SME networks are also faced with upgrades to support growing 10GbE connectivity requirements, driven by a new generation of network appliances and storage systems."

Marvell is currently sampling the new chips.

The company also is launching the Armada Mobile PXA 1938 eight-core, 64-bit 4G LTE reference design that offers customers all the hardware, software and tools to more quickly bring mobile devices to market and at reduced costs. It also includes Marvell's radio frequency (RF) transceiver RF858, PM880 power management technology, 88W8777 chip, and L200R location solution.

The eight-core chip is based on ARM's 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 CPU, and the reference design includes support for 13-megapixel rear cameras and 5MP front cameras, 16GB of Flash and 2GB of RAM, Android 5.1 "Lollipop" and a 2500mAh battery.

The partnership with Microsemi to bring PoE to Marvell's reference designs is driven by what the company called the pervasiveness of Ethernet infrastructures, which it said is fueling PoE adoption. The PoE technology will be used with Marvell's Prestera DX pack processors and Alaska Ethernet PHYs.