Motorola releases new security processors

Motorola Inc. revealed a series of new microprocessor technologies Monday, including two network security processors, the first audio chip based on the company's 32-bit ColdFire architecture and new microcode for integrated communication processors.

Motorola's announcements come at the beginning of the Embedded Systems Conference in San Francisco, which ends Saturday.

The company's new MCF5249 multiprocessor uses a version 2 ColdFire core. It has 96K bytes of on-chip memory and 8K bytes of instruction cache. Motorola's chip also has an enhanced multiply-accumulate unit on the chip, providing digital signal processor functionality for fast math and signal processing capability for audio and other applications.

Motorola promoted the low power of the chip in a written statement. The MCF5249 burns 1.3 milliwatt per megahertz of processor speed. Low-power processors tend to be used in devices with limited battery power such as laptops and cell phones.

Motorola also released two new security processors Monday, the MPC184 and MPC185. The major difference between older Motorola security processors and the new processors is bandwidth, said Eric Boles, a Motorola spokesman. Routers, e-commerce servers and DSLAMs (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexers) use security processors to off-load the processing burden for calculating encryption algorithms, shifting the task from the main processor to a dedicated one, he said.

The MPC185 will support bidirectional bandwidth of OC-3 speeds, about 400M bps (bits per second), and supports the Kasumi standard for 3G (third generation) mobile wireless data security systems. Support for OC-3 speeds permits telecommunication carriers to handle existing data traffic loads using fewer chips. Motorola priced the chips at US$25 each in quantities of 10,000.

The faster data speeds promised by 3G network operators won't approach the speed of an OC-3 fiber-optic line for some time, said David Berndt, a wireless mobility analyst with the Yankee Group in Boston. The bandwidth capacity for the MPC185 will keep encryption from becoming a bottleneck in wireless systems, he said.

The MPC184 chip is slower, supporting about 80M bps of bandwidth. It processes encryption functions with the WEP (Wireless Encryption Protocol) security standard. The MPC184 is $15 each in quantities of 10,000.

Motorola also released four new sets of microcode for its PowerQUICC II MPC825x and MPC826x integrated microprocessors. Microcode is software written directly for the chip's onboard memory. The new code packages are available through distributors.

New microcode for the enhanced ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) adaptation layer 2 will assist 3G base stations in multiplexing voice services over an ATM network, allowing base stations to transfer more calls to existing telecommunication infrastructure. The code adds support for up to 64,000 channels. It also improves statistics-gathering capabilities, allowing carriers to better gauge call volume coming through individual base stations.

The SS7 (Signaling System 7) microcode package expands the chip's ability to route the data associated with phone calls such as caller ID or call-forwarding information through fiber-optic lines. It supports high-speed SS7 channels up to T-1 and E-1 rates.

The MSP (Multi-Service Platform) controller microcode package will permit phone and cable companies to use Motorola chips to manage data traffic in DSLAM access line cards and cable modem controller applications, like serving video images on demand to customers. Motorola's fast data switching microcode package allows processors to automatically convert signals between ATM, Ethernet frames and High-level Data Link Control (HDLC).

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