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Ubicom Announces OpenWRT Compliant Router Platform

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May 26, 2009

Ubicom is shipping a OpenWRT Linux-based router platform and reference design using the company's new Ubicom IP7100 Router Gateway Evaluation board. The Ubicom board incorporates its StreamEngine IP7100 series network RISC processor, and includes a gigabit WAN port and four gigabit LAN ports, says the company.

Ubicom specializes in Linux-ready multithreaded networking and media processors for the home and small business (SMB) markets. In March, it released a networked audio player reference design using the StreamEngine IP7500 variant of its IP7000 platform (see block diagram below). Whereas the IP7500 was optimized for lossless audio transmission and playback, the IP7100 version incorporated in the IP7100 Router Gateway focuses on networking throughput. The router platform is designed for OEMs and ODMs who want to rapidly develop router products for consumer, SOHO, and SMB markets, says the company.


StreamEngine IP7000 block diagram

The IP7000 family of networking and multimedia processors offers a 12-way multithreaded architecture that can be clocked at up to 600MHz. The 14 x 14mm chip provides two to three times the performance at the same frequency compared with a traditional single-threaded RISC processor, claims Ubicom.

The IP7100 chip is claimed to deliver up to 1Gbps of system level throughput. It supplies on-chip hardware acceleration engines for QoS, VPN, and voice codecs, and networking interfaces are said to include RGMII, PCI, and T1/E1. Configuration tools are provided along with a GDB debugger. A Profiler tool enables the processor to run a profile thread "non-intrusively" in real time, as well as collect profile data such as CPU and memory utilization per function, says Ubicom.

The Ubicom IP7100 Router Gateway Evaluation board combines the Ubicom IP7100 processor with four gigabit Ethernet ports, a gigabit Ethernet WAN port, and a USB 2.0 port, says Ubicom. The board is also said to include two "MPCI connectors" (presumably Mini PCI slots) and a UART for console connection.

OpenWRT: the router distro

The customizable reference router software is said to include support for Ubicom's StreamEngine QoS technology, enabling developers to build routers that automatically classify and prioritize latency-sensitive traffic. The router software is based on the open source OpenWrt, a community-supported Linux distribution designed for low-memory networking devices. OpenWRT first achieved popularity with hardware hackers bent on improving off-the-shelf consumer electronics products, such as the classic Linksys WRT54G WiFi router, LinkSys NSlu2 NAS appliance, or the new NetGear WGR614L WiFi router. OpenWrt has also started to show up in new commercial routers, such the Netgear WNR2000.

Stated Mike Baker from OpenWRT.org, "The combination of the Ubicom hardware and OpenWRT platform presents a fascinating glimpse into the future of open source consumer friendly devices; we look forward to future collaboration."


The Ubicom OpenWRT Router Platform is available now, says the company. More information is said to be available at the company's developer site, although no details on the product appeared to be available at press-time. The platform may eventually end up on this Ubicom reference design page. More information on OpenWRT may be found here.

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