Traverse Ten64

by Traverse Technologies

An eight-core ARM64 networking platform with mainline Linux support

View all updates Sep 07, 2017

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:

  • The core system - CPU, DDR, and power will be field-proven by the time Five64 backers receive their products.
  • The previous versions (LS1043V and S) will have gone through certification (EMC and electrical safety) processes so this reduces the risk of issues appearing in the Five64 development process.
  • Less time and money will need to be spent on developing and testing the common parts between the products, which means more of the campaign funds can be used to differentiate the Five64 from other products.

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:

  • LEDE (using the NXP 4.4 Kernel)
  • Funtoo (using the linux-next mainline branch + patches to enable the DPAA/Ethernet driver from NXP)

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:

  • Five64 boards will come with 8 GB of RAM (previously 2 GB), allowing users to make the most out of the LS1043's capabilities (i.e Containers and Virtualization).
  • Support is planned for NVMe SSDs and SATA SSD/HDD's via PCIe adaptors.
  • The Gigabit SFP slot is now intended to be a combo-SFP/1GBaseT port.
  • The primary enclosure for the Five64 units will be a "Pizza box"/"Rackmount" enclosure. For those who wish to experiment with advanced (multiple-MIMO) forms of Wi-Fi and LTE, we are looking into options for this.

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)
Feature
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.

About the Author

Mathew M

mcbridematt  ·   Melbourne, Australia


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Product Choices

$699

Traverse Ten64 Mainboard

A fully assembled and tested Ten64 mainboard installed in a custom metal enclosure with a fan, 60 W power supply, a recovery microSD card, a SIM eject tool, and a hex key, as you'd expect with any good piece of hardware. RAM with ECC not included. Regional power cord and USB-C console cable sold separately.


$59

Four-port M.2 Key B SATA Controller

We recommend this SATA controller for Ten64 NAS configurations using CMR HDDs for bulk storage and a standard 22 mm x 80 mm NVMe SSD for boot storage. This controller fits in the Ten64's M.2 Key B slot and uses one lane of PCIe 2.0.


$59

Five-port M.2 Key M SATA Controller

We recommend this SATA controller for Ten64 NAS configurations using Apacer NAS-grade SSDs for bulk storage and a smaller 22 mm x 42 mm NVMe SSD for boot storage. This controller fits in the Ten64's M.2 Key M slot and uses two lanes of PCIe 3.0.


$7

EU-C13 AC Power Cord

From the Crowd Supply Basics project.

A 1.8 m (6 ft) long AC cable with an EU plug and a C13 plug to fit a C14 port.


$5

AU-C13 AC Power Cord

From the Crowd Supply Basics project.

A 1.8 m (6 ft) long AC cable with an AU plug and a C13 plug to fit a C14 port.


$10

UK-C13 AC Power Cord

From the Crowd Supply Basics project.

A 2.5 m (8.2 ft) long AC cable with a UK plug and a C13 plug to fit a C14 port.


$89

NVMe SSD

From the Crowd Supply Basics project.

The 128 GB drive is compatible with both the M.2 Key M and M.2 Key B slots on Ten64's mainboard, whereas the 256 GB and 512 GB drives are only compatible with the M.2 Key M slot. These drives are only available when purchased with a Ten64.

SanDisk NVMe SSDs in various capacities: 128 GB (P/N SDAPMUW-128G-1022), 256 GB (P/N SDBPNPZ-256G), and 512 GB (P/N SDBPNPZ-512G).


$89

NAS-grade SATA 2.5" SSD

From the Crowd Supply Basics project.

These NAS-grade solid state drives (SSDs) are rated to last much longer than consumer models, so are perfect for NAS bulk storage. Choose from 256 GB (AP256GPPSS25-R), 512 GB (AP512GPPSS25-R), and 1 TB (AP1TPPSS25-R) capacities. These drives are only available when purchased with a Ten64. User installation required.


$4

Flexible SATA Cable

From the Crowd Supply Basics project.

A flexible cable (3M part number 5602-44-0142A-300) for connecting a SATA drive to a SATA controller board.


$102

8 GB DDR4 SODIMM RAM Module

From the Special Items project.

One stick of 8 GB DRR4 SODIMM non-ECC RAM (Micron MTA8ATF1G64HZ-2G6E1)


$6

USB Cable: Type-C to Type-A

From the Crowd Supply Basics project.

Use this cable with your Ten64 Mainboard

A 100 cm cable with a USB Type-C and a USB Type-A connector.

Credits

Traverse Technologies

Traverse is a design house focusing on broadband and machine-to-machine applications. Our key areas of expertise are in wireline (xDSL), wireless (LTE), and embedded Linux with an aim to leverage open source technologies such as Linux and OpenWrt as much as possible.


Guy Ellis

SI and DFM Engineer

Mathew McBride

Product Architect

Brett Hahnel

PCB Layout and CAD

Sean Yang

SW Developer

Dennis Monks

SW Dev Leader

Vaughn Coetzee

Firmware Developer


SRXGlobal

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