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Comms chips

EZchip: Where's the Party?

11:20 AM -- Shares of LanOptics Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH) are barely moving on news that EZchip Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH) won a deal with Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN).

That's surprising. EZchip's raison d'être is to get its chips onto line cards at places like Ciena. Those wins have been relatively scarce for network processor companies over the years -- and to be given permission to announce one is even rarer. (EZchip is owned by LanOptics; it's complicated.)

As of midmorning, LanOptics shares were up a paltry 8 cents (0.7%) at $10.89.

About a week ago, the market turned on EZchip -- for a day, at least -- when it was revealed that Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) didn't pick the company for its Aggregation Services Router. (See Chipmakers Unfazed by Vendor Chip Shops and Cisco Takes Hold of the Edge.)

But EZchip has sold into other systems at Cisco, and at Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), although the company has mysteriously clammed up about it. Maybe that's dampened the news that Ciena picked the NP-2 processor for the CN 4200 FlexSelect. The chip, targeting 10-Gbit/s Ethernet processing, is featured on the newly announced G10 and G10X cards. (See Ciena Enhances 4200 With Ethernet.)

It's a positive sign for EZchip, at any rate. The network processor business isn't huge -- around $260 million in 2007, by The Linley Group estimates -- but it's got to be encouraging to see some big names signing up as customers.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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