Many equipment vendors are in a bind. The switch fabric has traditionally been a core technology developed with ASICs designed in-house, but new requirements for very-high-speed serial interfaces and multiservice support have increased design costs just when most companies have been forced to cut their R&D investments. Enter the switch-chipset vendors – both established and startup semiconductor players – with a wide variety of chipsets that are simple to integrate and support advanced features.
And there is greater technology choice for designers, too. There are now highly efficient packet-based solutions coming to market from startups such as Sandburst and industry heavyweight Broadcom to potentially challenge the well established, cell-based, multiservice chipsets from Agere Systems and AMCC. With Ethernet again starting to look attractive for metro and access as well as the enterprise, could this be a golden opportunity for the upstarts to shift AMCC from its current switch chipset market dominance? Price, performance, and availability will be key factors determining the winners and losers.
And looming over everything is the pending Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (AdvancedTCA) specifications. AdvancedTCA is a standard chassis system for carrier-grade telecom and computing applications that is being defined by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG). This is intended to allow vendors to reduce time to market and reduce total cost of ownership while still maintaining the five-nines availability required for telecom applications. Subsystems that meet these specs will take a big part of the market, and AdvancedTCA will be a key requirement for switch chipsets.
For some insight into this rapidly developing market, take a look into this report, which covers high-performance switch chipsets from leading vendors including:
- Agere Systems Inc. (NYSE: AGR.A)
- Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) (Nasdaq: AMCC)
- Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM)
- Dune Networks
- Erlang Technology Inc.
- Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL)
- Mindspeed Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: MSPD)
- Sandburst Corp.
- Tau Networks Inc.
- TeraChip Inc.
- Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS)
- ZettaCom Inc.
- Market & Applications
Growth, consolidation, and lots of apps
- Switch Architectures
What’s in a switch chipset and how do they work?
- Vendors & Device Counts
How many devices do you need for a 160-Gbit/s system? That all depends on the vendor...
- Cell-Based Switch Chipsets
Compare products for multiservice applications
- Packet-Based Switch Chipsets
Compare products for Ethernet and MPLS systems
The road to off-the-shelf telecom linecards?
This report was previewed in a Webinar moderated by the author and sponsored by TeraChip Inc. and ZettaCom Inc.. It may be viewed free of charge in our Webinar archives by clicking here.
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- Packet Switch Chips