Embedded system designers using the Linux operating system (OS) can now employ AltiVec technology to boost the performance of their networking and communications applications.
Motorola has created a free, downloadable source-code library of AltiVec technology-enabled functions that are frequently used in the Linux OS. The code library (AltiVec technology-enabled equivalents of the Linux string.S and checksum.S files) is designed to help Linux OS developers enhance the speed and efficiency of their applications based on the Motorola G4 processor containing PowerPC cores, without upgrading to higher processor speeds.
Motorola is said to have demonstrated a 100 percent improvement in CPU efficiency by employing AltiVec technology-enabled memory copying and checksum calculation functions in the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocol stacks within the Linux Kernel.
A 50 percent reduction in CPU utilisation has been achieved while delivering a TCP bulk data transfer stream at near Gigabit speed – with no modifications to the Linux TCP/IP stack and with minimal modifications to the sockets layer routines.
The existing sockets layer functions were modified to call the AltiVec technology-enabled memcpy and checksum functions from this library.
‘Motorola’s downloadable AltiVec code library helps developers accelerate the performance of their Linux OS and Motorola G4 processor-based applications, without having to invest in higher CPU clock speeds,’ said Bill Dunnigan, corporate vice president and general manager of Motorola’s Computing Platforms Division. ‘In today’s cost-sensitive development environment, telecom and networking equipment manufacturers will welcome this capability to enhance system-level performance with no extra component cost or upgrades.
‘Motorola also offers expert support through our AltiVec Center of Excellence to help Linux OS developers speed their G4 processor-based applications to market.’
An integral part of Motorola’s G4 family of PowerPC host processors, AltiVec technology can enable up to a 3X and 4X performance boost for telecom and networking applications, according to leading industry benchmarks. For example, Motorola’s MPC7457 PowerPC processor with AltiVec technology recently achieved the highest performance rating of any general-purpose processor tested against the telecom and networking benchmark suites by the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC).
AltiVec technology provides Single Instruction, Multiple Data (SIMD) capabilities similar to those found in stand-alone digital signal processors. With its 128-bit vector execution unit, AltiVec technology is said to support high-bandwidth data processing and computationally intensive algorithms such as those used in wireless base stations and high-end routers. This approach allows designers to leverage existing PowerPC code and add AltiVec performance as market requirements change without hardware upgrades.
Motorola’s AltiVec technology-enabled library for Linux OS is available to developers free of charge. AltiVec technology-enabled equivalents of the Linux string.S and checksum.S files, along with modification process descriptions, can be downloaded at <A HREF=’http://www.motorola.com/altivec’>Motorola Altivec</A>