Traverse Ten64

An eight-core ARM64 networking platform with mainline Linux support

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Sep 07, 2017

Project update 1 of 20

Progress, Pivots, and Prototypes

by Mathew M

We have reached an important milestone in the Five64 project - the first prototypes for the first version of our LS1043 platform - the LS1043V.

The LS1043V was developed in partnership with a major APAC telecommunications carrier to serve business customers with different types of broadband connectivity - Ethernet, A/VDSL, and LTE, as an upgrade path for our customers who have deployed and developed solutions around our previous platforms, such as the Geos.

The Five64 improves on the LS1043V by adding an SFP+ cage, a combination SFP/1GBase-T port, provision for high bandwidth PCI Express cards, and better integration with non-Traverse enclosures.

Where to from here?

Due to circumstances outside our control, it took longer than we would have liked to get the first boards for the LS1043V in our hands - so this has an effect on the Five64 schedule as well. To serve another Traverse customer, we will develop a second derivative (the "LS1043S") which will have some of the features of the Five64 (such as SFP+ support), and samples of these will be available around October, with a planned shipment to customers in December. The Five64 campaign will launch concurrently with this, and, if successful, backers will start receiving Five64 boards during Q1/2018.

Being the second derivative of our NXP LS1043 platform will have benefits for campaign backers:

How are the boards going?

We have been testing, and even using ("dog-fooding") the LS1043V boards for a few weeks now, after the usual number of wire patches/fixes that get applied to prototypes, we are happy to say the boards are stable. The performance is inline with the LS1043 reference system (NXP LS1043ARDB) and OSes like LEDE and Funtoo Linux are running on the system.

For those who want to see the details, here are the boot logs:

You may have noticed we don’t have mainline versions of LEDE or the Linux kernel running just yet - we are waiting for NXP to finish upstreaming the QorIQ DPAA/Ethernet driver first, which should be done within the next few months. We expect Kernel 4.14 will have all the necessary drivers. Traverse will also initiate upstreaming of device trees and other support files for our LS1043 products once the specifications for each product are frozen - and we intend to publish draft patches as soon as possible.

We have also run some benchmarks:

Changes to the Five64 Specifications

You may have noticed a few details have changed on the Five64 pre-launch page - we have had discussions with our customers and partners who have suggested we make the Five64 platform even better, and we agree. What will change:

These changes will increase the cost of the boards - especially due to the Twin-Die/Dual-Rank DDR4 chips needed to achieve 8 GB on our current board layout. Still, the Five64 will be competitively priced against other embedded network boards and systems in its class.

The Traverse Geos-stye enclosure has been removed for the time being, pending thermal optimizations. As the Five64 does not need to be (physically) backward compatible with previous Traverse products, we are free to optimize the placement of connectors and LEDs on the boards, as well as the ability to support both internal and external power supplies.

Planned Five64 Specifications (August 2017)
CPUNXP QorIQ LS1043A - 4xCortex-A53 1.6 GHz
RAM8 GB DDR4 1600
Storage512 MB NAND (bootloader + small Linux distributions) + SD cards up to UHS-1 grade + NVMe and SATA via PCIe plug-in boards
Network5 x 1000Base-T + 1xSFP/1000Base-T combo + 1xSFP+ (10G) slot
Ports2 x USB 3.0 + Serial console via USB-C
ExpansionM.2 Key B for LTE/WWAN, 1 x mPCIe Full Length + 1 x mPCIe Oversize for Wi-Fi and other plug in cards
EnclosureRackmount/Desktop (Board is Mini-ITX compliant), passively cooled
PowerBoard: 12 VDC, Internal/External PSU selection for Rackmount TBA

Help Shape the Five64

We invite any feedback about the Five64 specifications - please contact us. The Five64 product is built by developers for developers - we want to maximize the potential of the platform for your benefit!

If you are a developer with an interest in experimenting with advanced ARM64 ports or applications, feel free to contact us as well, as we might be able to offer our support ahead of the Five64 launch and shipment. Unfortunately, we only have a limited number of LS1043 boards at present, but we may be able to assist by providing remote access or reserving boards from planned prototype runs.

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