NEW YORK -- Ethernet Expo Americas 2010 -- Broadcom Corp. has announced a switch fabric capable of handling serial 100Gbit/s Ethernet streams, saying the chip can be used in multichassis designs to create a virtual 100Tbit/s switch. (See Broadcom Targets 100 Tbit/s.)
Why this is important
For the data center, the BCM88600, as the chip family is called, anticipates higher-speed transmissions at a level not often discussed, opening the possibility of massive multichassis switches to satisfy future core-networking needs. Because the chip includes packet-processing capabilities, it could even replace a network processor, a level of consolidation that hasn't been seen in high-end designs.
In telecom, this could be a useful element for core routers or very large Ethernet switches. Most of the big switch/router companies pride themselves on doing their own chips, but Broadcom contends some of those vendors are already using off-the-shelf chips in some key spots, including the switch fabric.
The BCM88600, which is available now, stems from Broadcom's acquisition of switch-fabric startup Dune Networks last year. Here's more about that deal, Dune's previous work (including multichassis architectures), and the state of 100Gbit/s network processors:
â€” Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading