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Agere Boasts Win With LG

Agere Systems (NYSE: AGR.A) has scored a set of design wins with Korean giant LG Electronics Inc., underscoring the importance of Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) support in network processors.

No dollar figures were disclosed in the deal, but Agere did say LG plans to use the APP550 network processor and the PI-40X and PI-40C switch fabrics in applications ranging from multiservice routers to wireless base stations.

One factor crucial to the deal was the growth in Korea's digital subscriber line (DSL) networks. While LG doesn't make DSLAMs (DSL access multiplexers), the company does hope to ship routers and other equipment into the growing ATM infrastructure that underlies the DSL buildouts.

Similar ATM-based plans have other OEMs knocking on Agere's door, officials of the chip company claim. Many network processors support ATM, but Agere officials say their heritage with the technology is helping them score design wins. "One of the things we're seeing is that our ATM expertise is being valued," says Chuck Tato, Agere marketing director.

Naturally, other chip vendors are noticing the DSL market. Wintegra Inc., for one, recently released edge/access network processors specifically targeting DSL (see Net Processors Dip Into DSL).

Agere loves to talk ATM these days, but Analyst Eric Mantion of In-Stat/MDR says it's important to remember the company's network-processor future doesn't end there, as the APP550 and PI-40 chips are suitable for non-ATM networks as well. "They've got a lot of strong product lines," he says. "Everything I've seen from them seems to be doing pretty well."

For more information about what's inside network processors from Agere and other vendors, see the latest Light Reading Insider report, "Network Processor Revolution." — Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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