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Comms chips

Vitesse Moves Up to Layer 3

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS) announced Monday that it's sampling its latest Carrier Ethernet switch family, called Tiger. The chips handle more traffic than their predecessors, moving Vitesse up the chain into aggregation equipment. And they add Layer 3 capabilities, including full MPLS support.

Why this matters
The release marks another couple of small steps in the continued commoditization of routing and switching, as merchant chips take over functions that used to be done by ASICs.

Other companies such as Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) and Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL) play a bigger role in that trend. Vitesse intends to stand out by sticking doggedly to Carrier Ethernet, obsessing over things like operations, administration and maintenance (OAM), or thousands of queues for hierarchical quality of service.

Vitesse claims Tiger is the only merchant Ethernet chip with a full MPLS routing implementation. Uday Mudoy, Vitesse's director of product marketing, says the Layer 3 additions mean his company's chips are starting to encroach on the network processor territory occupied by companies such as EZchip Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH), Netronome and Xelerated Inc.

For more
Elsewhere in the world of merchant chips:

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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