Today’s cars, telephones, modems and robots are equipped with embedded software to enhance their functions. Embedded software can be simple and fit into a few kilobytes of memory, or it can be sophisticated for applications in secure and safe environments such as process control systems and airplanes.
In 2019 a device product line of Mind’s customer operated on an old embedded Linux kernel. Based on Linux version 3.2 the kernel required an update to run modern secure software applications.
Mind was contacted for the initial assignment of upgrading the Linux kernel to version 4.14 LTS (Long Term Support) to enable the deployment of the next generation modular and secure software applications on these devices.
Mind’s initial tasks included:
• Updating old Linux device drivers to improve kernel code maintainability.
• Merging device specific device drivers for ethernet and cryptographic acceleration with the 4.14 LTS kernel to enable offload processing.
• Correcting dedicated clock drivers to guarantee coherency of operations initiated between different devices.
• Upgrading the assembler part of the kernel’s early boot sequence to correct CPU caching operations.
• Fine-tuning DDR memory bus timings to guarantee long-term device stability.
After completing the new kernel for this device Mind generated Buildroot (see: Buildroot – Making Embedded Linux Easy ) and Yocto-based root filesystem images with support of and in interaction with the Open Source Communities: Support for the PowerPC 32 bit architecture to the Go programming language enables the use of Docker for running container based software applications.
Porting NodeJS to the PowerPC 32 bit architecture finally allowed to integrate commercial applications in a modular, secure and maintainable environment. Mind consultants then continued to enhance performance of the device by enabling the second CPU in a hotplug SMP Linux kernel.
After two years of embedded software development the device infrastructure upgrade is complete and ready for commercial deployment.
Mind and its customer now jointly engage the communities for long term support of Go, Docker and NodeJS on PowerPC 32 bit architectures.
Future projects between Mind and its customer include hardware optimized routers, storage solutions for embedded systems and embedded display technology.
prpl Foundation is a diverse community of Service Providers, OEMs, Silicon Vendors, ISVs and open-source developers committed to Open-Source and Open-APIs in support of Open Gateway CPE. More info can be found on: Home – prpl Foundation
The organisation is cultivating a large ecosystem of like-minded companies and individuals working to defragment the plethora of proprietary (or forked) software platforms being developed and deployed today. Hence, they collaborate with industry organizations such as the Broadband-Forum.org and Wi-Fi.org in order to help accelerate their ‘open-source driven goals’.
Mind is involved since 2018 with the project management for this organisation. Our embedded open source experts have been involved since the start of the prplMesh project, providing much of prpl’s workforce to implement the Wi-Fi Alliance standard EasyMesh.
Below some of the consulting projects over the past years:
prpl Low Level API group – objective is to set standards for APIs of drivers and hardware in gateways, routers and extenders. Mind-team is indirectly involved since prplMesh defines part of the LL-API.
prpl Foundation continues to count on Mind open-source experts to enable and drive some of the initiatives. Multiple presentation have been done over the past months in collaboration with prpl team members (i.e. at the Broadband forum in Amsterdam in autumn 2022).
The prpl work has also been presented at FOSDEM, the leading open-source event in Brussels (Feb. ’23). The recording of the speech of our sr. consultant (24) Frederik Van Bogaert | LinkedIn can be watched via following link: FOSDEM 2023 – prplMesh: open source Wi-Fi mesh
Many end-users have the option to use a cellular hotspot to power the Wi-Fi devices at their homes or businesses during an outage. But shifting their LAN network to this secondary access network isn’t “foolproof”. It requires quiet some technical knowledge and manual manipulations for the end-users. Resulting in quiet some user frustration and customer service complaints for broadband service providers.
Kyrio, a leading player in the Telco market and subsidiary of CableLabs, has resolved this customer problem with its ARC Hotspot™. It is typically Kyrio’s mission to create economic and strategic value for network operators and their respective suppliers.
This software solution increases the reliability of broadband services by automating the switch from wired access to cellular hotspot—and back again. It offers continuous service for devices connected to the home or business Wi-Fi network without the need for additional hardware or device reconfiguration!
Our consultants have played a key role in the development and continuous development of this Open Source-based solution. Our team is mainly involved on the gateway part of the ARC-solution and has contributed in, amongst others, following OSS technology domains:
Our MIND-consultants are well integrated in the core Kyrio-team that is building and expanding this solution. The product team is focussed on mobile software developers (iOS & Android), on embedded development, and on the infrastructure part of the solution.
KYRIO is clearly satisfied with the technical competence and OSS development support brought by the MIND software engineers. To summarise it in a few lines:
“We appreciate very much the technical skillset and responsiveness of the MIND embedded consultants. This is impacting especially our quality and speed from a ‘go to market’ perspective with this ARC Hotspot software platform” (Aarti Anand – Lead mobile software engineer)