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'[TECH] Embedded ethernet question (processor choic'
2010\11\23@165134 by Robert Csaba Molnar

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I need to choose a processor for a router (like) box.

Here are the requirements:
-  must run Linux with vpn (OpenVPN), http (Apache?) and possibly ssh (OpenSSH) - 3 PHY interfaces at 10 Mbit/s
Users will connect to the LAN through a secured VPN, and there will be at most 10 users. Traffic will be limited to 10 Mbit/s even if the MAC+PHY is capable of more.
It is required to keep response times below 10 ms at all times.

Since I do not have any experience in this field, I  ask your opinion on this subject. What would be a good micro-controller and mac+phy choice? Shoudl I opt for something that has 3 different MAC's or for something with 1 MAC and a switch chip with VLAN support (will this be enough?).
Qlwo what is more suitable for this task? ARM based, MIPS,  PowerPC or some other micro? Personally i lean towards MIPS, tends to perform better in case of such tasks and from what I've learned is more Linux friendly.

Let's say I go with MIPS, will a 24KEc at 480 Mhz be enough or do I need something more powerful?
Any help is much appreciated.

Rober

2010\11\23@172110 by Alex Harford

face picon face
On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 1:51 PM, Robert Csaba Molnar
<spam_OUTmolnar_rcsTakeThisOuTspamyahoo.com> wrote:
> I need to choose a processor for a router (like) box.
>
> Here are the requirements:
> -  must run Linux with vpn (OpenVPN), http (Apache?) and possibly ssh (OpenSSH)
> - 3 PHY interfaces at 10 Mbit/s
>
> Users will connect to the LAN through a secured VPN, and there will be at most 10 users. Traffic will be limited to 10 Mbit/s even if the MAC+PHY is capable of more.
> It is required to keep response times below 10 ms at all times.
>
> Since I do not have any experience in this field, I  ask your opinion on this subject. What would be a good micro-controller and mac+phy choice?
> Shoudl I opt for something that has 3 different MAC's or for something with 1 MAC and a switch chip with VLAN support (will this be enough?).
>
> Qlwo what is more suitable for this task? ARM based, MIPS,  PowerPC or some other micro? Personally i lean towards MIPS, tends to perform better in case of such tasks and from what I've learned is more Linux friendly.
>
> Let's say I go with MIPS, will a 24KEc at 480 Mhz be enough or do I need something more powerful?

I'm partial to the 1.2 GHz Marvell Kirkwood 6281 (aka SheevaPlug).

Since you are going to be doing encryption, whatever you choose, I
highly recommend one with a hardware crypto engine supported in Linux.
I think you will find it difficult to support 10 users doing
encryption on an embedded CPU.

Micrel makes some nice switches with VLAN tagging, and many are
supported in Linux.

2010\11\23@172304 by David

flavicon
face
On 23/11/2010 21:51, Robert Csaba Molnar wrote:
> I need to choose a processor for a router (like) box.
>
> Here are the requirements:
> -  must run Linux with vpn (OpenVPN), http (Apache?) and possibly ssh (OpenSSH)
> - 3 PHY interfaces at 10 Mbit/s
Do you need to roll-your-own for some other reason?  If not, you'd do
better to purchase a system from someone like http://linitx.com/

Davi

2010\11\23@175059 by Robert Csaba Molnar

picon face
The 1.2 GHz Marvell Kirkwood 6281 looks really good, but isn't that too much?

VPN users will connect only on one interface (WAN), the other 2 interfaces will have no encryption.  Total traffic on the encrypted interface will be at most 10 Mbit/s and it's not required to have it this "high". The critical requirement is to keep response time below 10 ms, even if this means lower bandwidth at times of high load.

I was aiming for a micro-controller  somewhere in the 300-700 Mhz range, with hw encryption capabilities (3DES, AES), key length aligned to hw restrictions.
Still my experience in this field is limited at best, so any futher opinion will be of great help.

Robert


--- On Wed, 11/24/10, Alex Harford <.....harfordKILLspamspam@spam@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Alex Harford <harfordspamKILLspamgmail.com>
Subject: Re: [TECH] Embedded ethernet question (processor choice)
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <.....piclistKILLspamspam.....mit.edu>
Date: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 12:21 AM

On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 1:51 PM, Robert Csaba Molnar
<EraseMEmolnar_rcsspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTyahoo.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I'm partial to the 1.2 GHz Marvell Kirkwood 6281 (aka SheevaPlug).

Since you are going to be doing encryption, whatever you choose, I
highly recommend one with a hardware crypto engine supported in Linux.
I think you will find it difficult to support 10 users doing
encryption on an embedded CPU.

Micrel makes some nice switches with VLAN tagging, and many are
supported in Linux.

2010\11\23@183812 by Peter Loron

flavicon
face
There are loads of cheap commercial SOHO routers out there that run
openWRT or DD-WRT. That is a specialized linux distro which often comes
with OpenVPN, ssh, firewall, etc.

See:

http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index
http://openwrt.org/


-Pete


On Tue, 2010-11-23 at 13:51 -0800, Robert Csaba Molnar wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2010\11\23@234809 by Alex Harford

face picon face
On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 2:23 PM, David <listsspamspam_OUTedeca.net> wrote:
> On 23/11/2010 21:51, Robert Csaba Molnar wrote:
>> I need to choose a processor for a router (like) box.
>>
>> Here are the requirements:
>> -  must run Linux with vpn (OpenVPN), http (Apache?) and possibly ssh (OpenSSH)
>> - 3 PHY interfaces at 10 Mbit/s
>
> Do you need to roll-your-own for some other reason?  If not, you'd do
> better to purchase a system from someone like http://linitx.com/

That's a good point.  Robert, you might want to look at Kontron or
Soekris if you want a more 'embedded' system.

2010\11\24@021159 by Robert Csaba Molnar

picon face
I do need to roll-my-own.

The design it's a bit more complicated. Among other things it contains a 32 bit data processing unit,  the main purpose of this unit will be the one described.
Originally it was suggested that an ARM based processor should be used., but this is not yet decided. It can be MIPS, ARM, x86, PowerPC.... whichever is best suited for the task. Of course cost and other aspects of the processors will also be considered, but that is another story :)
As for now, I just need help selecting a few processors that will do the job.
Thanks again for your input.

Robert

--- On Wed, 11/24/10, Alex Harford <@spam@harfordKILLspamspamgmail.com> wrote:

From: Alex Harford <KILLspamharfordKILLspamspamgmail.com>
Subject: Re: [TECH] Embedded ethernet question (processor choice)
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <RemoveMEpiclistTakeThisOuTspammit.edu>
Date: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 6:48 AM

On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 2:23 PM, David <spamBeGonelistsspamBeGonespamedeca.net> wrote:
> On 23/11/2010 21:51, Robert Csaba Molnar wrote:
>> I need to choose a processor for a router (like) box.
>>
>> Here are the requirements:
>> -  must run Linux with vpn (OpenVPN), http (Apache?) and possibly ssh (OpenSSH)
>> - 3 PHY interfaces at 10 Mbit/s
>
> Do you need to roll-your-own for some other reason?  If not, you'd do
> better to purchase a system from someone like http://linitx.com/

That's a good point.  Robert, you might want to look at Kontron or
Soekris if you want a more 'embedded' system.

2010\11\24@060516 by William \Chops\ Westfield

face picon face

On Nov 23, 2010, at 1:51 PM, Robert Csaba Molnar wrote:

> It is required to keep response times below 10 ms at all times.

Response times of what, to what?  IMNSHO, this is going to be pretty  difficult sticking with linux, because linux is not a "real time  operating system", and guaranteeing <10ms behavior is getting into the  realm of things where you might need some of those "real time" features.

PPC, MIPS, and ARM are all pretty equivalent.  I think PPC and MIPS  may have a head start in "router-like-box" department; more chips with  multiple ethernet MACs compared with ARM.

Consumer routers are almost all based on chip vendor reference designs  and would probably make a good starting platform for experimentation  and performance measurement, as appropriate.  The ddtwrt and/or  openwrt list of supported hardware should give you a lot of info on  what chips are out there...

BillW

2010\11\24@072841 by Robert Csaba Molnar

picon face
Linux is somewhat a must. The budget of this project does not allow other alternatives.. but maybe I'm wrong. I'll do some more research. Maybe running an RTOS kernel and linking the ethernet related things the
RT core might do the trick. But this also exceeds my current experience level.



I've looked at the supported hw list of dd-wrt, inspected some of the most widely used chips in the routers. It is a good starting point indeed. Testing using a consumer router and DD-WRT crossed my mind also. I think I will order some consumer routers with MIPS and ARM architectures with different processor frequencies and see how they perform.

I just wanted to see if someone out there has experience with this kind of setup and would give me some advice on at least what processor@speed should be used for such task.

Thanks again for the info.

Robert
--- On Wed, 11/24/10, William "Chops" Westfield <TakeThisOuTwestfwEraseMEspamspam_OUTmac.com> wrote:

From: William "Chops" Westfield <RemoveMEwestfwspamTakeThisOuTmac.com>
Subject: Re: [TECH] Embedded ethernet question (processor choice)
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <piclistEraseMEspam.....mit.edu>
Date: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 1:05 PM


On Nov 23, 2010, at 1:51 PM, Robert Csaba Molnar wrote:

> It is required to keep response times below 10 ms at all times.

Response times of what, to what?  IMNSHO, this is going to be pretty  difficult sticking with linux, because linux is not a "real time  operating system", and guaranteeing <10ms behavior is getting into the  realm of things where you might need some of those "real time" features.

PPC, MIPS, and ARM are all pretty equivalent.  I think PPC and MIPS  may have a head start in "router-like-box" department; more chips with  multiple ethernet MACs compared with ARM.

Consumer routers are almost all based on chip vendor reference designs  and would probably make a good starting platform for experimentation  and performance measurement, as appropriate.  The ddtwrt and/or  openwrt list of supported hardware should give you a lot of info on  what chips are out there...

BillW

2010\11\24@083049 by M.L.

flavicon
face
On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 4:51 PM, Robert Csaba Molnar
<EraseMEmolnar_rcsspamyahoo.com>wrote:

> Here are the requirements:
> -  must run Linux with vpn (OpenVPN), http (Apache?) and possibly ssh
> (OpenSSH)
> - 3 PHY interfaces at 10 Mbit/s
>

http://www.soekris.com/net5501.htm
<http://www.soekris.com/net5501.htm>http://www.soekris.com/vpn1401.htm

<http://www.soekris.com/vpn1401.htm>IMO FreeBSD would be better suited for
this hardware. It can run all the same software and the drivers are better.

-- Martin K

2010\11\24@125243 by Herbert Graf

picon face
On Tue, 2010-11-23 at 15:37 -0800, Peter Loron wrote:
> There are loads of cheap commercial SOHO routers out there that run
> openWRT or DD-WRT. That is a specialized linux distro which often comes
> with OpenVPN, ssh, firewall, etc.
>
> See:
>
> http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index
> http://openwrt.org/

Unfortunately the op wants to support 10 users, I don't think any of the
cheap SOHO routers have anywhere near the horsepower needed to support
10 users connecting by VPN.

TTYL

2010\11\24@133508 by Robert Csaba Molnar

picon face
I will still run some tests to see how an average router performs in this case.
I am considering to propose the use of an encryption coprocessor specialized for VPN/SSL, and maybe a mid range encryption coprocessor with a mid range MCU will do the trick.
I will do further research to see what the optimal solution would be.

Robert

--- On Wed, 11/24/10, Herbert Graf <RemoveMEhkgrafEraseMEspamEraseMEgmail.com> wrote:

From: Herbert Graf <RemoveMEhkgrafspam_OUTspamKILLspamgmail.com>
Subject: Re: [TECH] Embedded ethernet question (processor choice)
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <RemoveMEpiclistTakeThisOuTspamspammit.edu>
Date: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 7:52 PM

On Tue, 2010-11-23 at 15:37 -0800, Peter Loron wrote:
> There are loads of cheap commercial SOHO routers out there that run
> openWRT or DD-WRT. That is a specialized linux distro which often comes
> with OpenVPN, ssh, firewall, etc.
>
> See:
>
> http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index
> http://openwrt.org/

Unfortunately the op wants to support 10 users, I don't think any of the
cheap SOHO routers have anywhere near the horsepower needed to support
10 users connecting by VPN.

TTYL

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