RISC-V Specialist Milk-V Jumps Into the Network Market with the New 10-gig-E Vega Switch

Offering the promise of an open source Linux-based software environment, this 14-port switch includes two 10-gig-Ethernet SFP+ ports.

Gareth Halfacree
9 months ago β€’ HW101

RISC-V specialist Milk-V has announced yet another new product built atop the free and open source instruction set architecture, but unlike its previous single-board computer (SBC) designs this one's a little more specialized: the Milk-V Vega 10-gigabit-Ethernet network switch.

"Milk-V Vega is a compact and high-density box-style open source 10-gigabit-Ethernet switch developed by Milk-V for the next-generation network architecture," Milk-V's Yiran Ke explains. "It offers users a unified platform for various services such as broadband, voice, video, and surveillance, enabling comprehensive coverage of multi-service convergence."

Milk-V has been extremely busy since the company made its first public announcement: over the last three months the company has announced the high-performance 64-core Milk-V Pioneer board, the more compact Raspberry Pi-like Milk-V Mars, and the low-cost dual-core Milk-V Duo, all built around the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture.

The Vega, though, is the first hardware from the company to be designed as an application-specific appliance, albeit one with considerable flexibility. The heart of the design is a Wuhan Binary Fislink FSL1030M switch processor, which in turn includes a Nuclei System Technology UX608 RISC-V processor core β€” a proprietary implementation of the RV64-IMACFDPB ISA. Clocked at 400MHz, this processor drives two 10-gig-E SFP+ optical ports, four gigabit SFP ports, and eight standard gigabit RJ45 ports.

Milk-V's claim of "open source" doesn't cover the hardware design, nor the CPU or system-on-chip design, but rather the software on top. "[It is] built on an open source Linux system," Ke claims, "enabling easy secondary development and DIY" β€” though, at the time of writing, no source code had been published. The switch also includes a JTAG interface for development and debugging, RS232 and I2C buses, and configuration interfaces over SSH and a web server.

More information on the switch is available on the Milk-V website, though the company has not yet confirmed pricing and availability.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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