Comms chips

Broadcom Finally Gets to 100G

Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) has started shipping a 100Gbit/s network processor, breaking a long period of ... not silence, exactly, but really-quietness.

The BCM88030 is a 100Gbit/s full-duplex processor -- that is, it carries 100Gbit/s in one direction. (Put another way, the bandwidth isn't double-counted, as it often is in switch/router circles.) Broadcom isn't saying how much power the chip uses, but it will be reasonable to build a 400Gbit/s line card using four of the chips, says Dan Harding, Broadcom senior director of product marketing.

Why this matters
Broadcom is reigniting its telecom interest, having recently acquired Dune Networks and NetLogic Microsystems. The BCM88030's genealogy goes back to the 2006 acquisition of Sandburst, a group we haven't heard much from lately.

In the meantime, Broadcom got lapped by EZchip Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH), which began shipping the NP-4, its 50Gbit/s full duplex network processor, in 2010. Broadcom's closest answer was a 24Gbit/s full duplex processor. EZchip also claims it already has wins for a 100Gbit/s processor in the works, the NP-5.

A third competitor is Xelerated, which recently got acquired by Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL) and had also reached the 50Gbit/s mark.

Broadcom thinks it's OK to be late to that generation of products. The 100Gbit/s generation is at the point where equipment vendors really need new chipsets -- as opposed to 40Gbit/s, which really became the "n-by-10Gbit/s" generation, Harding says.

For more

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:35:22 PM
re: Broadcom Finally Gets to 100G

Considering EZchip already has the ear of Juniper and parts of Cisco, there's not much market left for the other players, is there?

Of course, considering the other players are Broadcom and Marvell, it's not like I'm going to count them out.

I do have to give EZchip credit. If you'd told me 12 years ago that network processors would boil down to Broadcom vs. Marvell, I'd have bought it. But if you added that EZchip would be standing in their way.....

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:35:19 PM
re: Broadcom Finally Gets to 100G

Broadcom's a little worried that I'm implying the chip can move traffic only in one direction, ever.  Which of course isn't true -- what I was trying to say is... basically, they don't do the Cisco double-counting.

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:35:18 PM
re: Broadcom Finally Gets to 100G

Glad you caught that cause full-duplex and Cisco double-counting are two different things.


Speaking of Cisco double-counting, it just does not make sense. Cause if bits go in, they've got to go out. Otherwise why buy a box--just to have your bits go in and get locked up in the box? That just doesn't make any sense at all!!!


As far as Ilm concerned, this double-counting has got to stop cause it artifically inflates the numbers.

Koda23 12/5/2012 | 5:35:16 PM
re: Broadcom Finally Gets to 100G

Does 100 Gbps full duplex then mean simultaneous processing of 100 Gbps ingress and 100 Gbps egress traffic?

I agree that it makes sense not to call it a 200 Gbps NPU, since we need both directions for the NPU to do its job, and we usually think of the data rate as line rate.


chips_ahoy 12/5/2012 | 5:35:16 PM
re: Broadcom Finally Gets to 100G

I'll second the call for no doubling

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:35:15 PM
re: Broadcom Finally Gets to 100G

EZchip stock went down 9.3% on this announcement, Bloomberg says. Largest drop in 2 years for the company.

rhr 12/5/2012 | 5:35:13 PM
re: Broadcom Finally Gets to 100G EZchip refers to its-áNP-5 as a 200Gbps device (full duplex 100Gbps). The device is also a monster: 50W, 2,401 pins and that's using 28nm CMOS. Last I heard it is scheduled to sample at the end of this year.
rhr 12/5/2012 | 5:35:13 PM
re: Broadcom Finally Gets to 100G Not so obviously packet processing but you can also add the BroadLight acquisition to the telecom list. Their GPON chips do have significant packet processing and traffic management capabilities.
pushkar_naik 12/5/2012 | 5:34:55 PM
re: Broadcom Finally Gets to 100G

The title saying "Finally" gives me an impression that broadcom has been struggling to get to 100 Gbit/s, when other competitors have long done it ! On the contrary, Broadcom happens to be industry first i believe to achieve this !

EZChip's NP5 is slated by end of this year, while Broadcom is already sampling, so it definitely deserved a better article title i feel.

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