Comms chips

Cavium Climbs Multicore Ranks

Multicore processors from Cavium Inc. (Nasdaq: CAVM) are making headway among telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs), although the market is still topped by older Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) chips.

That's the result of a survey included in the new Heavy Reading Components Insider report, "TEMs Rate Multicore & Network Processor Suppliers."

To compile the report, Heavy Reading asked equipment vendors which processors they're using, including lower-end, general-purpose chips.

At the high end -- devices running at 10 Gbit/s or faster -- the top two devices turned out to be older multicore chips: the Broadcom BCM88020 and the Intel IXP2800 line.

That turnout shows "shows the relatively mature state of the network processor market," analyst Simon Stanley writes in the report. Broadcom isn't promoting the BCM88020 any more, and Intel has ceded its IXP2800 family to Netronome , which is expanding the line under the name NFP. (See Netronome Reigniting Intel's IXP and Netronome Boosts Net Processors.)

Among the more youthful and spry designs, then, the winner is the Cavium Octeon Plus -- again, a sign of the installed base having an advantage in the survey, as the Octeon Plus beat out the newer Octeon II.

Among network processors -- chips built specifically for packet processing, especially for high-end routers -- the EZchip Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH) NP-3 and new NP-4 were the most popular in the survey, outdistancing options from Netronome, Bay Microsystems Inc. , and Xelerated Inc.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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