Secure Automotive Ethernet Switch Adds Lockstep Dual-Core CPU

Lyle Ellerbee

Marvell’s new era of automotive-grade Ethernet switch chips features larger bandwidth and port counts together with a suite of networking and safety technologies to lock down information touring inside cars and trucks.

The Santa Clara, California-primarily based firm said the third technology Brightlane Ethernet switch is its most sophisticated nevertheless and the first with a “lockstep” dual-main CPU that adds redundancy and dependability for basic safety-critical automotive methods. The new swap chip supports up to 16 interface ports that help Ethernet speeds from 10 Mb/s to 1 Gb/s, though integrating a dedicated stability subsystem to guard from hackers.

The Brightlane switch is the most up-to-date presenting in an intensive line of vehicle-networking chips from Marvell, which has been in an arm’s race with the likes of NXP to Microchip to possess the in-automobile networks of the long term. The firm has landed more than 30 design wins with main auto OEMs, which includes eight of the world’s best 10.

New Architectures

As Apple, Google, and other tech giants try to get about the dashboards in cars and trucks and devote in autonomous driving, car makers are making an attempt to turn into much more like them: They are all shifting their emphasis to application. However, their software ambitions have to have components to match.

Now, a higher-end automobile can have extra than 100 electronic handle units (ECUs). Each and every module only has adequate computing power to carry out a solitary position, managing everything from the powertrain and digital dashboard to sophisticated protection units and several physique controls. The methods tend to be made by Tier-1 suppliers and rely on proprietary application, largely impenetrable even to the vehicle makers performing the set up.

But as the amount of complexity gets out of handle, automobile makers are transferring to “domain-based” architectures that combine several of the ECUs—and the microcontrollers (MCUs) inside them—into a smaller variety of “domain controllers.” The large-performance chips at the heart of each module are made to safely and securely and securely handle many different capabilities at the identical time, jogging them in independent computer software containers instead.

Other vehicle makers are seeking to up grade to “zonal-based” architectures. In this design, the bulk of the car’s computing electric power is in a central supercomputer, joined to the sensors and other devices around the vehicle by means of “gateways” that every single incorporate a swap to talk with each and every other around Ethernet. This also minimizes the price and body weight of wiring by preserving the gateways nearer to units they will be functioning with.

The overhaul opens the doorway for organizations to assist above-the-air application updates. That will allow automobiles to evolve above time by getting repeatedly upgraded with new solutions and even attributes this sort of as extra driving modes. The technological know-how will also empower automobile makers to operate diagnostics and complete repairs remotely.

But as automobiles obtain additional facts and run it via computer software, businesses are looking to shift it all faster. Advanced security units these kinds of as computerized crisis braking and lane-trying to keep help demand prompt communications. The car’s interior community has prolonged been dominated by the Controller Region Community (CAN) bus and bolstered by neighborhood interconnection networks (LINs). But these legacy networks are slipping behind.

So, firms have been supplementing networks with 100-Mb/s to 10-Gb/s Ethernet to struggle facts overload. Lots of vehicle makers are making use of Ethernet to construct out large-bandwidth community backbones in their autos.

Security Lockdown

As cars turn out to be computer systems on wheels, protection has turn out to be one particular of the major priorities for vehicle makers nowadays.

“That exposes you to plenty of stability vulnerabilities or doable stability threats,” said John Bergen, senior product or service marketing and advertising manager in Marvell’s automotive enterprise unit. “Today’s automobiles may possibly have up to 100 million traces of code, but as you go to autonomous autos, you can most likely have up to a billion strains of code. With all that computer software and connectivity, it produces a larger surface area for protection threats and there are more potential factors of entry for destructive assaults.”

Hackers can also have out a really vast range of attacks when they get within the car or truck, Bergen explained. “What you will see is hackers seeking to alter the configuration of a device, steal info from a vehicle, or even disrupt data transmission. All these areas require to be protected inside the network and the switch.”

Marvell mentioned the new protected Brightlane Ethernet swap is extremely integrated and based mostly on a heterogeneous architecture, leveraging quite a few hardware blocks to harden the protection of each the machine and the community.

The chip integrates IEEE 802.1AE-compliant Media Entry Manage stability (MACsec) protocols that protected the backlink among switches in the motor vehicle and guard the info traveling via Ethernet in excess of the car’s community.

The embedded components protection module (HSM) is employed to authenticate software package and encrypt facts in the system alone. Marvell said the HSM enhances device safety by supporting safe and encrypted boot and storing and controlling cryptography keys utilized by innovative protection capabilities this sort of as the MACsec.

Lockstep Arm CPUs

As program will take about additional of the modern vehicle, the techniques inside are currently being held to better specifications for purposeful security and trustworthiness.

Brightlane adds a significant-general performance, dual-core Cortex-R52 CPU with focused on-chip memory that can run in “lockstep” manner to insert redundancy. The CPU cores operates as a result of the similar series of computations at the same time to examine for faults. That usually means even if 1 of the CPU cores fails, the swap will keep on to complete networking and protection protocols to transfer the data through the network as if nothing took place.

Marvell also built-in a large range of sophisticated networking characteristics in the 3rd technology Brightlane swap. The switch supports the 10Base-T1S normal for the very first time in a safe automotive-quality change to operate at data premiums of 10 Mb/s. In addition, it incorporates 100Foundation-T1 and 1000Base-T1 Ethernet PHYs, 1G to 10G SerDes, and PCIe Gen 3 connectivity in a single chip, minimizing component count in the car or truck.

On leading of that, the change supports the hottest time-sensitive-networking (TSN) requirements to lessen latency and improve dependability for mission-important techniques, together with IEEE 802.1CB standards for details redundancy.

Marvell claimed the Brightlane change fits the needs of the ISO 26262 ASIL-B protection typical. The chips can tolerate the severe temperature environments in automobiles, from −40 to 105 °C.

Port Adaptability

Overall flexibility is another gain Marvell touted for the new Brightlane Ethernet change. It is providing the Ethernet change in a 9-port configuration (88Q5152/51) that arrives in a 15- × 15-mm BGA deal.

Also out there is a 19- × 19-mm, 16-port swap (88Q5192) that delivers much more networking and connectivity functions into the fold, building it excellent for the central gateway or high-general performance compute module at the heart of the vehicle.

The Brightlane Ethernet swap is at the moment sampling, with v
olume production scheduled for later on this 12 months.

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