I'd like to add multiple (>5) Ethernet ports to a board I am developing. Linux on the CPU has to see each port individually, be able to route the traffic among ports, and also add traffic on its own (coming from other sources, such as an LTE modem and a video source).

So far I've been unable to find a SoC satisfying all my other requirements and that has at least an Ethernet port, so I wanted to add additional Ethernet ports on the PCIe port. However, I an not even sure what I should look for: I've searched for an Ethernet switch IC and I found the VSC7514 by Microsemi which, according to an ELC2018 presentation, allows the ports to be seen as individual interfaces by Linux. However, the presenter says that only control traffic passes on the PCIe (whereas I have to send data to the switch too).

What should I look for if I want to add more Ethernet interfaces to my board? For a multiport Ethernet transceiver IC?

Thanks in advance for any help! :)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that shopping questions are (unfortunately) off-topic here. But you can certainly ask what to look for, or whether a VSC7514 does what you want. \$\endgroup\$ – user253751 Jan 24 '20 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Notice the VSC7514 is designed as a switch, but the CPU can still send and receive data. I have not used this switch, but I have worked with similar (more advanced) switches, and it was completely possible to use them as "port concentrators", though you could run into bandwidth limitations and it was also a waste of money. \$\endgroup\$ – user253751 Jan 24 '20 at 15:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes thanks, mine was not a "what component should I buy" question, rather "what is the name of the component that I should look for". Thanks for the info! :) \$\endgroup\$ – RH6 Jan 27 '20 at 6:03

If you're talking PCIe, then any PCIe NIC chip should work. Not sure if you can get quad port chips, or if you would need two dual port chips. But it should be doable. Switch chips are also an option, but bear in mind that a switch chip does not send all traffic through to the SoC, the SoC is simply another port on the switch. You can set up VLANs and the like, but if you send everything to the SoC for routing, then the SoC could end up being a bottleneck - both the link bandwidth of the SoC port as well as the processing power of the SoC can limit the overall rate. You could have the same problem with multiple PCIe NICs as well.


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