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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Intel finally is getting it right for embedded systems

As most of you know, I worked for Intel at one time as a product line manager for embedded telecommunication systems. At that time the state of the art was a P4 processor running at 1GHz with Hyperthreading. The problem was that it took 40 to 60 watts to run one of these. 

At HauteSpot we are working on a wireless router/NVR platform that really is amazing. Thanks to the new release of the Intel Atom Z550 we are able to build a system that is tiny, power efficient, and feature rich. The 2 GHz dual core processor runs at a relatively high front side bus speed of 533MHz and addresses 2GB of DDR3 RAM. What is really cool is that the processor also supports Intel VT technology so we can run virtual machines on the platform. This allows us to run our HauteRouterOS router operating system as a host and then run a virtual machine inside our OS for NVR or PVR functions.

Prior to the Atom Z550 we did not have the horsepower to undertake a meaningful virtual machine architecture. And yet it draws very little power (15W), runs off 12VDC, and is highly reliable with a broad operating temperature range.

When we launch this new product it will definitely shake things up. Suffice to say it will combine our wireless routing technology with a open platform for VMS software. We can then connect cameras and backhaul using a variety of technologies such as our TLP protocol, WiMAX, LTE, or BGAN Satellite. One small piece of hardware will provide everything.

Sony built a Vaio P Netbook around this processor and there are some benchmarks out on it.
It is a very capable processor and we are fitting it into a compact, industrial quality enclosure, combining moving or non-moving storage (up to 2TB), and giving it state of the art wireless routing functions.

This will be an excellent OEM platform and we will be able to offer virtual machine builds that will run on it for Windows 7 and Linux.

More at ISC West.

Kudos to Intel on finally making a compelling embedded processor that we in the wireless world can actually use.