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Layer N Lives!

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
10/27/2003

When we last heard from Layer N Networks Inc., CEO Mike Salas was chasing down a desired $15 million funding round, and the company was behind on its mid-2002 target for sampling the UltraLock security chip (see Chasing VC Bucks in Texas, Part II).

The funding still hasn't emerged, but the chip has. Company officials said at last week's Network Processors Conference that UltraLock has begun sampling.

UltraLock was designed to offload processing of the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and transport sockets layer (TSL) protocols. Other SSL chips have emerged from companies such as Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Cavium Networks Inc., Corrent Corp., Hifn Inc. (Nasdaq: HIFN), and SafeNet Inc. (Nasdaq: SFNT). UltraLock differentiates itself by incorporating TCP/IP termination, meaning the chip can operate without an accompanying control-plane processor (see Layer N Expands UltraLock Family).

The inclusion of the TCP stack also reduces the amount of software development required of the OEM, says Kathleen Powers, Layer N's senior marketing manager.

The chip, which targets Ethernet line speeds up to 1 Gbit/s, is due to ship in volume in the first quarter of 2004, Powers says.

Layer N was founded in March 2000 and received $11.5 million in funding in January 2001. Investors include Agave Capital, Austin Ventures, Granite Ventures LLC, and Seed Company Partners.

Also last week, six-employee startup NVsys debuted its security chip in an NPC technical session. The ISP2 chip handles IPSec processing for Gigabit Ethernet connections. The chip isn't sampling yet, but the unpronounceable NVsys claims to have it working in prototypes based on field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

NVsys is also working on a non-security chip. Dubbed the IEP48, the chip uses overprovisioning to share one SPI-4.2 interface (10 Gbit/s) among 48 Gigabit Ethernet streams. The company's Website also mentions a 16-port Ethernet controller called the IEP16.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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