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IP Infusion Adds a Layer

Software vendor IP Infusion Inc. is expanding its Layer 2 repertoire, reflecting the growing demand for outsourced code among vendors of Ethernet switches.

Four-year-old IP Infusion originally concentrated on IP routing stacks and other Layer 3 software, competing with the likes of Data Connection Ltd. (DCL) and NextHop Technologies Inc. But the company has increasingly sought out Layer 2 work, which supports more basic connectivity. Indeed, Layer 2 is the focus of version 5.5 of the ZebOS Advanced Routing Suite, announced today.

The new code adds support for numerous IEEE 802.1 LAN standards, such as the Spanning Tree and Rapid Spanning Tree protocols or virtual LAN bridging.

Even though Layer 2 software is easier to do, most R&D money spent on outsourced code has historically gone towards Layer 3. Now that's changing, as demand for routing code drops and OEMs clamor for Ethernet switching programs.

"In the high end [Layer 3], you probably have more players with more expensive software," says John Metz, president of consulting firm Metz International. "What are they going to do to make more money? One answer is to go to Layer 2."

It's a less sophisticated market but includes higher volumes, particularly when it comes to low-cost Ethernet switches. OEMs such as D-Link Systems Inc. and Linksys don't want to do the hardware or software design themselves, thus opening the door to software vendors.

Evidence of the Layer 2 market's attraction is evident in the acquisition of Radlan Computer Communications Ltd. by Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL) (see Marvell Goes Soft). Marvell is now offering turnkey Ethernet switches fully loaded with software gleaned from Radlan (see Marvell's Ethernet Switch Kit).

Other vendors offer both Layer 2 and Layer 3 software but take a different approach from IP Infusion's. LVL7 Systems Inc. planned to do both from the start, which lets the company better combine Layers 2 and 3 (and even Layer 4) offerings where needed, says Kishore Jotwani, vice president of marketing. Future Software Ltd. (FutureSoft) also offers Layer 2 and Layer 3 software but provides programming services as well, something IP Infusion isn't interested in. "We prefer to work towards a 'mass market,' if you will," says Scott Seal, IP Infusion product manager. One reason is that software has higher margins than services due to the low overhead: "There's no hardware to build, and you don't even have to put it on a disk anymore."

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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jroblek 12/5/2012 | 1:03:02 AM
re: IP Infusion Adds a Layer We are also providing broadband access box (ipDSLAM). What will be best decision today, to choose LVL7, Ipinfusion or enyone else on this filed?
edgecore 12/5/2012 | 1:03:00 AM
re: IP Infusion Adds a Layer It took you 1.5 years to reply to the thread ;-)

Are you a Federal employee?

EC
jroblek 12/5/2012 | 1:02:57 AM
re: IP Infusion Adds a Layer Yeah, I am really late but I still hope that you guys can give me some hints of what is better to choose today at the end of the year 2004, when Ipinfusion has some experiences on L2 also and decision to choose LVL7 for L2 is not just self-evident.
Anyway, we use BCM569x switch chips and Ethernet switch is in position to interconnect xDSL and fiber blades in metro access box.

JR
mpp113 12/5/2012 | 1:02:54 AM
re: IP Infusion Adds a Layer JR,
I am at a company who has evaluated both, and there is no comparison. LVL7 has been shipping L2 software for about 5 years now, and IP Infusion is just getting started. In addition, it is my understand the majority of engineers who developed their L2 software (NC site that was shutdown) now also work with LVL7.

If you are using a BRCM 569x chipset, LVL7 will meet all your needs. We used the 5695 and we are now shipping product......I think IP Infusion is only at a demo level.

I hope this helps.

kaka 12/5/2012 | 1:02:54 AM
re: IP Infusion Adds a Layer LVL7 has been around for a while but IPinfusion's modular architecture and quality has been touted by all customers over the world. Thats the reason they are profitable and expanding while LVL7 seems to be on a survival path.
About the NC center of IPinfusion, the people there were one of the worst in the industry and infact IPI has rewritten the whole L2 from scratch to meet industry standards.
About the Broadcom support that LVL7 provides is bare bones and is also in demo mode from one of the guys I know there.
edgecore 12/5/2012 | 1:02:50 AM
re: IP Infusion Adds a Layer I actually think their technical switching folks are in Irvine CA, my mistake...

EC

edgecore 12/5/2012 | 1:02:50 AM
re: IP Infusion Adds a Layer
You are heading down a slippery slope.

To avoid lackluster support and finger pointing between the stack vendor and the switch vendor, I suggest you contact your Broadcom sales guy and ask him to get you in touch with a technical Broadcom switch person (from Santa Clara).

Ask this Broadcom person who they have been testing with in their labs and who they feel have a good product when matched up with their 569x.

You do not want to risk dealing with a stack vendor that gets no respect from Broadcom in the way of dev boards, tech support, early access to new hardware etc..etc...Broadcom will never admit it out inpublic, but they willceratinly have their favorite L2 sw vendors.

Good idea?

EC

kaka 12/5/2012 | 1:02:49 AM
re: IP Infusion Adds a Layer Broadcom is going with IPinfusion for a lot of the newer developments. Infact it makes sense for these guys to work seamlessly with all stack vendors. They can have personal favourites but professionally they will not certify one stack over the other.
mpp113 12/5/2012 | 1:02:48 AM
re: IP Infusion Adds a Layer Actually their switching group is in San Jose.

I think the best way for you (jrobleck) to decide is do a comparison for yourself on the BRCM reference designs for 5695. That is what we did, and it didn't compare.
sigint 12/5/2012 | 1:02:42 AM
re: IP Infusion Adds a Layer Does BRCM provide Linux drivers?

thanks,
sigint
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