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Broadcom Intros GigE Switches

Broadcom offers the ROBO-HS family of Gigabit Ethernet switch processors for small-to-medium-sized businesses

September 22, 2003

5 Min Read

IRVINE, Calif. -- Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM), the leading provider of silicon solutions enabling broadband communications, today announced its Broadcom(R) ROBO-HS(TM) (Remote Office/Branch Office-High Speed) family of highly integrated Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switches designed specifically for small-to-medium businesses (SMB). These new switches represent Broadcom's fifth generation of field-proven Gigabit Ethernet switch technology, and enable 4- to 24-port GbE switches to be manufactured as single-chip solutions and 48-port GbE switches to be manufactured as multi-chip solutions. With the new ROBO-HS family, Broadcom continues its leadership role by providing the industry's most highly integrated, comprehensive and widely deployed portfolio of GbE solutions, enabling the worldwide adoption of GbE technology by the SMB market.

Broadcom has been instrumental in leading the migration from Fast Ethernet (FE) to GbE, and the market dynamics are changing radically. Until now, GbE switches were considered to be too expensive for all but enterprise applications. However, GbE-enabled laptops, PCs and network interface cards (NICs) are driving the cost of GbE to all-time lows. This, in turn, has accelerated the demand for higher bandwidth GbE switch performance across all segments of the market, further increasing volumes and reducing cost. According to IDC's Worldwide Ethernet Semiconductor Forecast (2002 through 2007) report published in March 2003, GbE switch silicon revenues are expected to grow from $348 million in 2002 to $1.063 billion in 2007, representing a 25% CAGR.

Broadcom offers its ROBO-HS single-chip solutions in 24-, 16-, 8-, 5-, and 4-port configurations through today's announced BCM5345, BCM5346, BCM5388, BCM5385, and BCM5384 respectively. This family of ROBO-HS products continues to drive innovation to new levels by being the first in the industry to integrate a GbE copper physical layer transceiver (PHY) onto 8-port, 5-port and 4-port switch devices; by providing market-leading support of PCI management in SMB-class 24-port and 16-port GbE switches; and by leveraging a single, field-proven software base to work across the complete ROBOswitch(TM) portfolio. These leading-edge features allow Broadcom customers to significantly reduce time-to-market, bill of materials and development costs typically associated with building GbE switches.

"Broadcom has established itself as the leader in Gigabit Ethernet switching, and now nearly every major networking equipment manufacturer uses at least one of our Gigabit Ethernet switches for their mainstream, high- density desktop switches," said Martyn Humphries, Senior Director of Broadcom's Enterprise Networking Business Unit. "Our new ROBO-HS products build upon this success and allow our customers to leverage their previous R&D investment in Broadcom switch products as they push Gigabit Ethernet into the very high volume market of small-to-medium sized businesses."

The ROBO-HS BCM5345 and BCM5346 are 24- and 16-port GbE switch processors that support economical GbE configurations, up to 48-ports, making them ideal for high-density, cost-effective Gigabit-to-the-Desktop, workgroup and datacenter switches. In addition to offering microcontroller and Ethernet ports for management, these devices also represent the first 24- and 16-port GbE products in the SMB market to support the industry standard PCI-bus for management. The PCI-bus allows customers to continue to use the processors and software developed from their previous generations of Broadcom switches, providing reduced development costs and a shorter time to market.

The BCM534x ROBO-HS product line supports premium features, such as 802.1x and 802.1Q virtual LAN (VLAN) for security and jumbo frames for increased performance. It also supports a rich variety of managed features, including trunking, port-based rate control, 802.1w rapid and 802.1s multiple spanning tree protocols for network management, and 802.1p for quality of service and prioritization of different traffic types. In contrast to competing enterprise managed 24-port GbE products that require as many as four additional memory components, the BCM534x devices integrate the memory on- chip, thus reducing board space and power requirements. Furthermore, when used in conjunction with Broadcom's GbE PHYs, these devices support both copper and SerDes GbE PHY links to the end user, as well as a variety of legacy products that operate at slower full- and half-duplex speeds of 10/100 Megabit per second (Mbps).

Broadcom's BCM538x ROBO-HS line of GbE switch processors are the only products in the market that integrate both GbE copper PHY ports and memory, thereby reducing power and board space. This integration eliminates the use of fans, enabling further form-factor reductions while aiding in the development of low-noise switches and ultimately achieving a greater cost savings for the end customer.

The BCM5384, BCM5385 and BCM5388 support 4-ports, 5-ports and 8-ports of GbE respectively, and all integrate four 10/100/1000 Mbps PHYs. To simplify design and manufacturing, SMB system manufacturers can now use a single design for all three densities, by merely adding Broadcom's leading QuadSquad(TM) Gigabit Quad PHYs to the 8-port configuration. In addition to supporting full wire-speed non-blocking Layer 2 Ethernet switching and Layer 3 quality of service (QoS) functions, a number of feature-rich services are managed either through a microcontroller interface or through a low-cost EEPROM for smart, unmanaged switches.

These devices have been designed using a 0.13 micron CMOS process and have low, 1.2V/2.5V power with 3.3V I/O tolerance. They comply with the 802.3, 802.3u and 802.3x specifications, providing compatibility with all industry- standard Ethernet, Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet devices.

Samples of Broadcom's new ROBO-HS product family are currently available to early access partners with general sampling to customers occurring in October 2003. Turnkey designs from leading ODMs are expected to become available in the fourth quarter of 2003 and volume production anticipated one quarter later. Each of the BCM534x ROBO-HS devices is available in a 676-pin BGA package, and each of the BCM538x ROBO-HS devices is available in a 324-FBGA package. Pricing is available upon request.

Broadcom Corp.

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