Comms chips

NetLogic Mashes It Up

5:50 PM -- NetLogic has had Layer 2 chips, and it's had Layer 7 chips, and now it's mashed everything together into one chip. (See NetLogic Intros 40G Chip.)

The charmingly named NLX1281103A combines three types of products:
  • A knowledge-based processor, based on a ternary content-addressable memory (TCAM). TCAMs are useful in routers, and they were NetLogic's first business.
  • A Layer 7 processor, usable for functions like deep packet inspection. NetLogic got into this business in 2006 with the NETL7 chip. (See NetLogic Makes Its Move.)
  • A multicore microprocessor from the acquisition of RMI in November. This chip is the first new device related to that pickup; it uses eight processor cores. (See NetLogic Joins Processor Race and RMI's Long Strange Trip.)

You could accomplish the same thing with a network processor and NetLogic's regular knowledge-based processor, but the combination might not keep up with 40-Gbit/s streams, says Chris O'Reilly, NetLogic's vice president of product development.

The mashing-together of functions is part of the normal cycle for chips. For NetLogic, though, there's an added purpose: trying to expand beyond the niche first created by TCAMs.

"One of the things this does is allow us to address a more significant part of a customer's linecard," O'Reilly says. "And maybe we can go after security platforms that were traditionally a sea of processors."

The new chip will start sampling any day now.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:30:33 PM
re: NetLogic Mashes It Up

This is an interesting bid to control most of the chips on a line card.

Big contrast from the good old days when we kept pointing out that NetLogic got almost all its money from Cisco (and mostly from one type of product).

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