Articles: Networking

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Now let’s take a closer look at the components installed in the WRT300N:

Let’s start with the router’s heart. Here, it is the IXP420 network processor from Intel. Its 32-bit XScale core is clocked at a frequency of 266MHz consuming a maximum of 1.9 watts of power. It has separate data and instruction caches, 32KB each. The integrated memory controller supports up to 256 megabytes of SDRAM. The IXP420 also supports a lot of external interfaces such as USB 1.1, PCI 2.2, UART, a special 16-bit expansion bus, etc.

The router has 16 megabytes of memory in two 8MB 6ns A2V64S40CTP SDRAM chips from Powerchip Semiconductor. The router’s firmware is written into an 8MB flash memory chip with an access time of 70ns.

This chip from Macronix is marked as MX29LV320C. By the way, a closer look at the place with the flash memory chip can tell you that the PCB provides for installation of a larger chip.

There are two more chips on board that should be mentioned. Both are Fast Ethernet switches. The router’s four LAN ports are based on the Marvell 88E6060 switch from the LinkStreet family.

This switch offers five Fast Ethernet ports (but only four of them are employed by the router), and a MII port that is connected to the network processor. The frame buffer of the switch is 512KB large. The MAC address buffer is 1024KB large. The WAN port is based on the Realtek RTL8201CP chip which is connected to the network processor via MII, too. Both switches can automatically recognize crossover connections.

The WLAN card carries the AR5008-3NX version of the Atheros xspaN chipset. It means we’ve got two chips here: AR5416 and AR2133.

We’ve got nothing to add to that because we’ve described the chipset above. By the way, this is the most significant difference between the American and European versions of the router. The American version is equipped with a chipset from Broadcom whereas the European version comes with a chipset from Atheros.

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