Bay, Enigma Team on 40 Gig
Bay Microsystems Inc. and Enigma Semiconductor Inc. are announcing Tuesday that they've completed interoperability tests between Bay's network processor and Enigma's switch fabric at 40 Gbit/s. The chips sit on linecards and switching cards in routers and other equipment, where they process packets and send them out to the proper destinations.
Other processor companies, as yet unnamed, have been working with Bay and Enigma to ensure a full slate of electronics is available at 40 Gbit/s. The companies say they're preparing for an imminent generation of linecards that can take in serial 40-Gbit/s feeds.
Some equipment vendors expect to have prototype equipment built by the second quarter, says Ian Ferguson, Enigma's VP of marketing. That could lead to some product shipments late this year or early 2008.
"We have probably three of our customers looking at putting 80-Gbit/s blades out there with a backbone that's capable of 100-Gbit/s clear channel when it comes out," Ferguson says.
Demand for links of 40 Gbit/s and higher already exists in pockets.
"They're already going faster than this today in their cloud-to-cloud capability," says Chuck Gershman, CEO of Bay. "They're getting there through alternative means, aggregating lower-speed links together."
Link aggregation is good for combining four 10-Gbit/s lanes together, but many in the industry say it becomes impractical for creating 100- or 160-Gbit/s connections. (See 100-GigE Takes Shape.)
Bay and Enigma are among just a few companies targeting this kind of high-speed, packet-processing silicon. (See Bays Ships 40G and Enigma Intros Chip.)
EZchip Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH) and Xelerated Inc. offer 10-Gbit/s network processors to compete with Bay. Dune Networks competes with Enigma on the switch fabric side, which has always had fewer competitors than the network processor side.
The startups have criss-crossed for interoperability tests in a few different permutations, albeit not at 40 Gbit/s yet. Enigma and EZchip have gotten their devices to work together, and Xelerated and Dune have combined to create an Ethernet switch. (See Enigma Completes Tests and Xelerated, Dune Team.)
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading