Comms chips

Xelerated Finally Gets 100G

It's taken a couple of years, but Xelerated Inc. now says it has 100-Gbit/s network processors to show off.

The company announced today that its HX320 and HX330 chip lines have begun sampling. They were first announced in 2008, with sampling targeted for the fourth quarter of that year. (See Xelerated Samples 100G Processor and Xelerated Takes On Broadcom, Marvell.)

"We probably underestimated the technical challenge," says Johan Sandell, Xelerated's vice president of product management. But he doesn't think the delay has hurt Xelerated's chances. "We are getting to market at a good time, with a lot of interesting designs that are up for grabs."

EZchip Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH) similarly faced delays getting its 100-Gbit/s chip, the NP-4, out to market. Announcements of early 2009 availability were optimistic; the chip started sampling in January 2010. (See EZchip Samples 100G Processor.)

"That's the nature of pre-announcing complex products," says Bob Wheeler, an analyst with The Linley Group .

But it's understandable for startups to take that chance, he says. That's especially true in this market, where the chipmakers are competing against ASIC design teams inside companies like Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR).

Some of Xelerated's delay came from adding features, including a traffic manager, to the processors. Xelerated used to be able to take advantage of the traffic manager provided by its switch-fabric partner, Dune Networks, but Dune has been acquired by Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM). (See Dune Digs In at Broadcom and Broadcom's Thinking Gets Cloudy.)

EZchip is only at the sampling stage, too, for its 100-Gbit/s processor, but it's got an unacknowledged customer win to show off, with Cisco's ASR 9000.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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