Network Interface Cards (NICs) have long been used to connect servers to Ethernet
networks. The continued rise of software-based networking has led to a
significant strain on the processing capabilities of server CPUs. Smart NICs
offload certain functions from the server processor by employing specialized
processors—thus freeing cycles to drive application performance. This solution
requires a powerful but small processor on board. The processor must be able
to fit into the tight space constraints of a server’s PCI Express slot and
also have high processing capabilities.
Our LX2162A processor squeezes the processing capability of the popular and
powerful LX2160A processor into a package that is nearly one quarter the size,
making it suitable for smart network interface cards as well as other small
board applications such as COM Express Type 7 modules, OCP3 mezzanine cards and custom daughter cards. It retains LX2160A’s 16 Cortex®-A72 cores, 50 Gbit/s
security engine, 88 Gbit/s data compression engine and powerful packet
offloads. It has 12 SerDes lanes at up to 25 Gbit/s which can support four 25
Gbit Ethernet and x8 PCIe Gen3 simultaneously, among many other combinations.
Small Package Size
The LX2162A is offered in a small 23x23 mm package, making it an excellent
choice for space constrained applications. We were able to do a layout with
single DDR4 rank, 12 Serdes lanes, eMMC, SPI flash in 42x60 mm. This compact
board design was achieved with only 10 layers which further reduces the cost.
The small package of LX2162A makes it highly suitable for data center
applications such as Network Interface Cards.
Network Interface Cards
Network interface cards are PCIe cards that plug into a server or storage
box to enable connectivity to an Ethernet network. Smart NICS are network
interface cards that sport Arm processors or FPGAs to run network and/or
low-level storage processing in order to offload the host server processors.
The aim is to dedicate the expensive server processors to running
revenue-generating customer applications, while offloading the
infrastructure-level functions to the less expensive Arm cores on the Smart
NIC. Smart NICs can accelerate networking functions like Open vSwitch,
security, virtualization and storage.
Due to its small package and high processing capabilities, the LX2162A is an
excellent choice for a high performance smart NIC. The small sized LX2162A
does control plane processing while saving space for an FPGA for data plane.
Alternatively, for a low cost single-chip NIC solution, the LX2162A can also be
used as a stand-alone processor where it does all the processing on a 2x25GE
In summary, LX2162A offers an excellent solution for dense high-performance
applications by providing the high processing capabilities of 16 Arm®v8
Cortex-A72 cores in a small 23x23 mm package. Its server-level performance
makes it ideal for high-performance boards such as Smart NICs for accelerating
For more information, please check: nxp.com/LX2162A