Secure Automotive Ethernet Switch Adds Lockstep Dual-Core CPU


Marvell’s new generation of automotive-grade Ethernet switch chips functions larger bandwidth and port counts together with a suite of networking and safety technologies to lock down data touring inside of vehicles.

The Santa Clara, California-dependent enterprise claimed the 3rd technology Brightlane Ethernet switch is its most innovative yet and the initially with a “lockstep” dual-core CPU that provides redundancy and dependability for safety-essential automotive methods. The new switch chip supports up to 16 interface ports that guidance Ethernet speeds from 10 Mb/s to 1 Gb/s, while integrating a dedicated safety subsystem to guard against hackers.

The Brightlane change is the hottest providing in an substantial line of car or truck-networking chips from Marvell, which has been in an arm’s race with the likes of NXP to Microchip to personal the in-motor vehicle networks of the foreseeable future. The organization has landed around 30 layout wins with main vehicle OEMs, like eight of the world’s top 10.

New Architectures

As Apple, Google, and other tech giants consider to acquire more than the dashboards in autos and spend in autonomous driving, vehicle makers are seeking to turn into additional like them: They are all shifting their emphasis to application. Having said that, their program ambitions need hardware to match.

Nowadays, a significant-close automobile can include more than 100 electronic control models (ECUs). Every single module only has ample computing ability to carry out a one job, controlling almost everything from the powertrain and electronic dashboard to highly developed basic safety devices and several human body controls. The units tend to be developed by Tier-1 suppliers and depend on proprietary software package, mainly impenetrable even to the auto makers undertaking the set up.

But as the level of complexity receives out of management, auto makers are moving to “domain-based” architectures that combine a lot of of the ECUs—and the microcontrollers (MCUs) inside of them—into a lesser number of “domain controllers.” The high-functionality chips at the coronary heart of every module are designed to safely and securely and securely management various various capabilities at the similar time, operating them in independent software containers instead.

Other automobile makers are making an attempt to enhance to “zonal-based” architectures. In this design, the bulk of the car’s computing ability is in a central supercomputer, connected to the sensors and other methods close to the car or truck as a result of “gateways” that each contain a swap to communicate with every other more than Ethernet. This also minimizes the price tag and weight of wiring by retaining the gateways closer to devices they will be doing the job with.

The overhaul opens the doorway for businesses to aid more than-the-air software program updates. That will make it possible for vehicles to evolve in excess of time by being continuously upgraded with new providers and even attributes such as supplemental driving modes. The know-how will also empower vehicle makers to operate diagnostics and complete repairs remotely.

But as cars acquire far more knowledge and operate it by means of application, corporations are looking to transfer it all quicker. Highly developed security systems these as automated unexpected emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance involve quick communications. The car’s inner community has extended been dominated by the Controller Space Community (CAN) bus and bolstered by local interconnection networks (LINs). But these legacy networks are slipping powering.

So, corporations have been supplementing networks with 100-Mb/s to 10-Gb/s Ethernet to battle information overload. Lots of car makers are employing Ethernet to develop out large-bandwidth network backbones in their automobiles.

Safety Lockdown

As cars and trucks become desktops on wheels, stability has turn into a single of the best priorities for automobile makers now.

“That exposes you to a lot of protection vulnerabilities or probable stability threats,” explained John Bergen, senior merchandise marketing manager in Marvell’s automotive business unit. “Today’s autos may perhaps have up to 100 million strains of code, but as you transfer to autonomous vehicles, you can perhaps have up to a billion traces of code. With all that application and connectivity, it makes a even larger floor for protection threats and there are much more probable details of entry for malicious attacks.”

Hackers can also carry out a very huge variety of assaults the moment they get inside the car, Bergen claimed. “What you will see is hackers striving to change the configuration of a system, steal facts from a car or truck, or even disrupt knowledge transmission. All these regions want to be shielded in just the community and the swap.”

Marvell stated the new protected Brightlane Ethernet switch is very built-in and based mostly on a heterogeneous architecture, leveraging various components blocks to harden the protection of both of those the machine and the community.

The chip integrates IEEE 802.1AE-compliant Media Access Command protection (MACsec) protocols that protected the backlink between switches in the car and defend the knowledge touring by means of Ethernet around the car’s network.

The embedded hardware safety module (HSM) is applied to authenticate software program and encrypt knowledge in the gadget itself. Marvell mentioned the HSM improves machine stability by supporting protected and encrypted boot and storing and running cryptography keys made use of by highly developed protection characteristics this kind of as the MACsec.

Lockstep Arm CPUs

As software package will take over additional of the modern day auto, the techniques within are staying held to larger specifications for practical protection and trustworthiness.

Brightlane provides a high-performance, twin-core Cortex-R52 CPU with dedicated on-chip memory that can run in “lockstep” mode to increase redundancy. The CPU cores runs via the similar sequence of computations at the exact same time to check out for faults. That implies even if 1 of the CPU cores fails, the change will carry on to conduct networking and protection protocols to transfer the info through the network as if almost nothing transpired.

Marvell also integrated a huge selection of advanced networking attributes in the third generation Brightlane change. The swap supports the 10Base-T1S normal for the initially time in a protected automotive-quality swap to operate at data charges of 10 Mb/s. In addition, it incorporates 100Base-T1 and 1000Foundation-T1 Ethernet PHYs, 1G to 10G SerDes, and PCIe Gen 3 connectivity in a one chip, minimizing part rely in the automobile.

On top of that, the change supports the most up-to-date time-delicate-networking (TSN) requirements to cut down latency and boost reliability for mission-important methods, such as IEEE 802.1CB standards for information redundancy.

Marvell explained the Brightlane switch matches the demands of the ISO 26262 ASIL-B protection regular. The chips can tolerate the harsh temperature environments in autos, from −40 to 105 °C.

Port Versatility

Overall flexibility is an additional advantage Marvell touted for the new Brightlane Ethernet swap. It is giving the Ethernet swap in a 9-port configuration (88Q5152/51) that comes in a 15- × 15-mm BGA deal.

Also obtainable is a 19- × 19-mm, 16-port swap (88Q5192) that provides far more networking and connectivity attributes into the fold, generating it perfect for the central gateway or superior-overall performance compute module at the coronary heart of the auto.

The Brightlane Ethernet swap is at this time sampling, with quantity output scheduled for later this yr.


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