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N6010 & N6011 SmartNICs by Silicom: Shaping the Future of Telecom Networks through Intel’s N6000 FPGA-powered PTP Advancements

 New collaboration offers a hardware-based solution for precise timing synchronization, addressing the challenges of network transformation

Highlights

Operational Excellence: Silicom Denmark proudly announces the successful deployment and operation of the N6010 & N6011 SmartNIC, based on Intel FPGA N6000-PL, delivering proven efficiency in the market.

Exclusive Advantages of Intel Agilex FPGA: The SmartNIC is exclusively powered by Intel Agilex FPGA, ensuring enhanced network performance, reliable Timing Synchronization and Seamless Integration and User-Friendly Operation

◽User-Tested and Approved: End users across diverse industries attest to the SmartNIC’s capabilities, proving its efficiency in reducing deployment complexity and cost.

Introduction

Copenhagen, Denmark – February 20, 2024

In an era of rapidly evolving network protocols and architectures, Intel and Silicom are proud to announce their collaborative effort in addressing the growing need for precise network synchronization. This initiative brings together the cutting-edge capabilities of Intel’s Agilex® FPGAs and Silicom’s specialized design prowess in Precision Time Protocol (PTP) devices, marking a new era in network transformation.

Network operators today face critical challenges, including the struggle with inaccurate time synchronization, which is pivotal for modern network operations. The complexity and high costs of deploying synchronization solutions are further exacerbated in dynamic environments that continuously integrate new features like AI/ML. The need for solutions that can adapt to virtualized environments is more pressing than ever.

This collaboration addresses the challenges of inaccurate time synchronization, complex deployments, and the necessity for virtualized environments. Intel’s Agilex® FPGA and SoC FPGA family, built on Intel’s advanced 10nm process node, offer significant performance improvements and power reduction. These advancements are critical in an era where network protocols, architectures, and functionalities are rapidly evolving to incorporate AI and ML features.

Proven Excellence in the Market

Silicom, renowned for its expertise in designing PTP solutions, further enhances the value of this collaboration. As an advanced design house with a team of PTP experts, Silicom is adept at developing workloads that adhere to a wide array of use cases, showcasing versatility in network synchronization technology.

Addressing these challenges, the collaboration introduces a fully hardware-based time synchronization solution embedded in Intel’s N6000 Acceleration Development Platform. This approach not only eases deployment complexities and reduces costs but also ensures unmatched timing accuracy and extended hold-over. The FPGA-based solution N6010&N6011 offers exceptional programmability and flexibility, essential for today’s dynamic network requirements. It also provides offload capabilities that enable efficient network task management and supports the integration of custom or third-party workloads directly within the synchronization hardware.

Our N6010 and N6011 SmartNICs have proven themselves in the field. It’s not just PCIe hardware cards; with OFS and OPAE frameworks it’s a solution platform that jump-starts implementation and greatly simplifies system integration of applications. Applications that adresse real-world challenges faced by network professionals in many market segments. The market response has been overwhelmingly positive.” shared Anders Hjelm Poulsen, VP Solutions and Sales Support at Silicom Denmark.

 

Silicom Denmark – Exclusively Powered by Intel Agilex FPGA

The Intel Agilex7 FPGA is at the heart of our versatile N6000-PL SmartNIC. Its capabilities have allowed us to create a product that sets a new standard for connectivity solutions. The Hyperflex architecture allows us to push our packet processing solutions to new heights on the performance both in terms of throughput and bandwidth. Additionally, the onboard E810 network controller offers a feature rich standard DPDK interface without compromising on the Agilex FPGA logic utilization. All our platforms are equipped with state-of-the art TimeSync circuits, and customizable FPGA framework package that makes the card fit in the most challenging and demanding ORAN deployments, ” affirmed István Szőnyi, VP R&D at Silicom Denmark.

    Reducing Deployment Complexity and Cost

    Users across industries have experienced a significant reduction in deployment complexity and associated costs with the implementation of the N6010 & N6011 SmartNICs. Our N6010 HW platform is a one-to-one replacement for the end-of-life N3000 FPGA PAC cards, where customers can seamlessly port their design from the Aria 10 based FPGA to Agilex7 FPGA family.

    The default FPGA and software stacks for our N6010 and N6011 platforms is the Open FPGA stack (OFS) that comprises composable hardware code and up streamed Linux kernel code that makes even faster and easier to deploy our cards in data center infrastructures.

    For non-OFS use cases, Silicom Denmark also offer a lightweight FPGA platform with board management utilities, that are especially suited for heavy weight workloads sensitive to high logic utilization frameworks.


    “Silicom’s FPGA cards have been instrumental in powering our DYNANIC solution, enabling us to deliver cutting-edge IP solutions for high-speed network packet processing.” attested Pavol Korček, CEO of BrnoLogic.

    Tailored Solutions for Telecommunication Professionals

    Telecommunication professionals working with technologies like vRAN, O-RAN, and UPF have found a dedicated solution in the N6010 & N6011 SmartNIC. Its capabilities, exclusively relying on Intel Agilex FPGA, offer a competitive edge in the dynamic telecommunications industry.

    In the above-mentioned platforms, we can deliver turnkey solutions for 5G Front Haul vRAN/ORAN deployments. We can support up to 8x10G or 4x25G Ethernet links where we comply with the latest IEEE 1588v2 standards for SyncE and Class D Boundary clock requirements with excellent holdover capabilities on top of it. It is not just the timing solution, but L1 acceleration is also supported with Look-a-side LDPC offload IP, specially tailored for our Agilex7 based SmartNIC.

    Continued Commitment to Excellence

    As the N6010 & N6011 SmartNIC continues to make waves in the industry, Silicom Denmark remains committed to excellence. Ongoing updates and improvements are planned to ensure that the SmartNIC remains at the forefront of connectivity solutions. Our robust HW design and versatile offering of customizable FPGA platforms allows us to build our next products based on the N6000-PL platform with HBM powered Agilex M FPGA, that is to be released end of Q2-2024 and allowing us to extend our Agilex7 based SmartNIC portfolio targeting even higher range of applications and use cases.

    Our collaboration with Intel has been instrumental in achieving the success of the N6000 Series SmartNIC. We continue to innovate and improve, ensuring that our product remains synonymous with excellence in the networking industry,” emphasized Henrik Lilja, CEO at Silicom Denmark.
     

    Collaboration for the Connectivity Performance

    This innovative solution, crafted collaboratively by Intel and Silicom, is tailor-made for a wide array of integrators and operators within the telecommunications and network industry. Network Engineers and Architects will find this solution particularly valuable as they navigate the evolving landscapes of advanced networking technologies. This adaptable solution, developed by seasoned engineers, is crucial for those engaged in designing applications that harness hardware acceleration, especially but not limited to mobile Baseband Units or Distributed Units. With a keen focus on burgeoning technologies such as vRAN, O-RAN, and UPF, this collaboration is strategically poised to address many of the current challenges faced by the market.

    Through this collaboration, Intel and Silicom demonstrate their commitment to leading the way in network technology innovation. By combining the strengths of Intel’s N6000 platform with Silicom’s expertise, this collaboration is not just about creating a product; it is about shaping the future of network synchronization in an age of rapid technological advancement.

    “The success of the N6010 & N6011 SmartNICs is a shared achievement. These SmartNICs, exclusively powered by Intel’s Agilex SoC FPGAs, serve as a testament to the flexibility and time-to-market capabilities that Intel FPGAs deliver across a broad range of use cases. I have immense confidence in the expertise of the Silicom team and the opportunities they provide for their customers.” – Mike Fitton – Vice President, PSG’s Network Business Division at Intel.

    Silicom Denmark is pleased to announce the availability of the N6010 and N6011 SmartNICs for purchase. For additional details, kindly visit:

    Intel, the Intel logo, and other Intel trademarks are the property of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries.

    About Silicom Denmark

    Silicom Denmark is a pioneering force in delivering cutting-edge networking solutions. With a commitment to ongoing innovation and a track record of success, Silicom Denmark stands as a trusted leader, shaping the future of networking.

    For press inquiries, please contact:

    Media-Silicom Denmark                                                

    Marketing Department                                                  

    [email protected]                                                     

     www.silicom.dk

    Partner and Customer Contact-Silicom Denmark

    +45 4632 7455

    [email protected]

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