Secure Automotive Ethernet Switch Adds Lockstep Dual-Core CPU

Raymond S. Hughes

Marvell’s new era of automotive-grade Ethernet change chips options greater bandwidth and port counts along with a suite of networking and safety systems to lock down knowledge traveling inside vehicles.

The Santa Clara, California-primarily based company reported the 3rd technology Brightlane Ethernet switch is its most superior still and the initially with a “lockstep” dual-main CPU that adds redundancy and reliability for security-crucial automotive systems. The new change chip supports up to 16 interface ports that guidance Ethernet speeds from 10 Mb/s to 1 Gb/s, although integrating a focused security subsystem to guard in opposition to hackers.

The Brightlane switch is the most recent featuring in an comprehensive line of auto-networking chips from Marvell, which has been in an arm’s race with the likes of NXP to Microchip to possess the in-motor vehicle networks of the upcoming. The company has landed around 30 design wins with major vehicle OEMs, such as eight of the world’s top 10.

New Architectures

As Apple, Google, and other tech giants check out to take over the dashboards in automobiles and spend in autonomous driving, automobile makers are making an attempt to turn into extra like them: They are all shifting their emphasis to software package. However, their program ambitions require hardware to match.

Today, a superior-conclude vehicle can comprise extra than 100 digital command units (ECUs). Each module only has ample computing electric power to complete a single work, managing all the things from the powertrain and electronic dashboard to highly developed protection programs and various human body controls. The systems tend to be designed by Tier-1 suppliers and rely on proprietary program, mainly impenetrable even to the vehicle makers undertaking the set up.

But as the level of complexity will get out of regulate, auto makers are going to “domain-based” architectures that combine quite a few of the ECUs—and the microcontrollers (MCUs) within them—into a smaller sized variety of “domain controllers.” The significant-functionality chips at the heart of every module are intended to safely and securely manage a number of various functions at the very same time, working them in individual software containers as an alternative.

Other vehicle makers are trying to upgrade to “zonal-based” architectures. In this model, the bulk of the car’s computing power is in a central supercomputer, connected to the sensors and other systems all over the car by means of “gateways” that just about every include a swap to converse with each and every other about Ethernet. This also decreases the charge and body weight of wiring by trying to keep the gateways nearer to devices they will be working with.

The overhaul opens the door for companies to assist around-the-air computer software updates. That will allow for cars and trucks to evolve more than time by remaining continually upgraded with new services and even capabilities these as extra driving modes. The technology will also allow automobile makers to operate diagnostics and carry out repairs remotely.

But as automobiles collect much more facts and run it via program, corporations are looking to shift it all speedier. Superior protection methods these types of as automatic unexpected emergency braking and lane-retaining help have to have quick communications. The car’s inner network has prolonged been dominated by the Controller Place Community (CAN) bus and bolstered by nearby interconnection networks (LINs). But these legacy networks are slipping behind.

So, providers have been supplementing networks with 100-Mb/s to 10-Gb/s Ethernet to battle facts overload. Numerous auto makers are utilizing Ethernet to develop out significant-bandwidth network backbones in their cars.

Stability Lockdown

As cars and trucks develop into computers on wheels, protection has turn out to be one of the prime priorities for automobile makers now.

“That exposes you to heaps of protection vulnerabilities or possible stability threats,” explained John Bergen, senior product advertising and marketing manager in Marvell’s automotive company unit. “Today’s cars may well have up to 100 million traces of code, but as you go to autonomous cars and trucks, you can potentially have up to a billion lines of code. With all that software program and connectivity, it makes a even larger surface for stability threats and there are more possible points of entry for malicious attacks.”

Hackers can also carry out a really extensive vary of attacks after they get inside of the car or truck, Bergen claimed. “What you will see is hackers making an attempt to change the configuration of a machine, steal info from a vehicle, or even disrupt knowledge transmission. All these parts have to have to be secured in the network and the switch.”

Marvell said the new secure Brightlane Ethernet change is highly built-in and based mostly on a heterogeneous architecture, leveraging quite a few components blocks to harden the stability of both equally the unit and the community.

The chip integrates IEEE 802.1AE-compliant Media Access Manage protection (MACsec) protocols that secure the backlink between switches in the automobile and shield the knowledge traveling through Ethernet more than the car’s network.

The embedded hardware stability module (HSM) is applied to authenticate software package and encrypt facts in the machine itself. Marvell claimed the HSM boosts gadget safety by supporting protected and encrypted boot and storing and managing cryptography keys utilised by highly developed security options these as the MACsec.

Lockstep Arm CPUs

As software will take more than extra of the modern-day automobile, the devices inside are being held to increased requirements for practical basic safety and dependability.

Brightlane provides a large-effectiveness, dual-main Cortex-R52 CPU with committed on-chip memory that can run in “lockstep” mode to add redundancy. The CPU cores runs through the exact sequence of computations at the identical time to test for faults. That signifies even if one of the CPU cores fails, the change will go on to accomplish networking and stability protocols to transfer the facts by means of the community as if absolutely nothing transpired.

Marvell also integrated a broad range of advanced networking attributes in the 3rd era Brightlane swap. The switch supports the 10Base-T1S conventional for the very first time in a protected automotive-quality swap to operate at information prices of 10 Mb/s. In addition, it incorporates 100Foundation-T1 and 1000Foundation-T1 Ethernet PHYs, 1G to 10G SerDes, and PCIe Gen 3 connectivity in a single chip, minimizing ingredient depend in the car or truck.

On top rated of that, the swap supports the latest time-delicate-networking (TSN) requirements to lower latency and increase reliability for mission-significant programs, which includes IEEE 802.1CB requirements for info redundancy.

Marvell mentioned the Brightlane swap fits the needs of the ISO 26262 ASIL-B basic safety common. The chips can tolerate the severe temperature environments in automobiles, from −40 to 105 °C.

Port Adaptability

Flexibility is an additional advantage Marvell touted for the new Brightlane Ethernet switch. It is supplying the Ethernet swap in a 9-port configuration (88Q5152/51) that arrives in a 15- × 15-mm BGA offer.

Also out there is a 19- × 19-mm, 16-port switch (88Q5192) that provides much more networking and connectivity features into the fold, earning it suitable for the central gateway or significant-general performance compute module at the coronary heart of the vehicle.

The Brightlane Ethernet change is presently sampling, with volume production scheduled for afterwards this yr.

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