SAN JOSE, Calif. – LSI Corp. will try to leapfrog rivals Freescale and Texas Instruments with its Axxia 5500 series, a family of 28 nm basestation SoCs that pack up to 16 ARM Cortex A15 cores riding the new ARM CCN-504 interconnect. The chips will not sample until fall, but LSI claims it has commitments from top tier basestation makers designing them into systems set to ship in 2014.
The SoCs support up to 16 10 Gbit/second Ethernet ports. They also use an array of specialized hardware accelerators passed on from existing LSI SoCs for security, packet processing and other operations.
LSI claims the Axxia 5500 will sport four times the control-plane performance and 2.5 times the data plane performance of its existing 3400 series SoCs that use four PowerPC 476 cores. With the new chips. LSI is following Freescale and others in a broad shift to ARM cores in embedded processors.
The SoCs do not include LSI’s Starcore DSPs. The company contends top tier basestation makers prefer to use their own baseband ASICs, letting the LSI SoCs handle L2-L4 processing.
"LSI sometimes supplies the baseband ASIC,” said Troy Bailey, director of marketing at LSI. The baseband and SoCs “don’t always scale together so it doesn’t make sense to integrate them [until you get down] to pico” sized base stations, he said.