Comms chips

Light Reading Surveys Switch Fabrics

A report on the silicon developments that are likely to form the core of next-generation telecom equipment -- Switch-Fabric Chipsets -- was published today by Light Reading.

The report surveys off-the-shelf switch fabrics, both packet- and cell-based, that promise to replace ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) as the key components in a wide range of future equipment, from multiservice switching platforms to routers.

Using off-the-shelf switching fabric chips rather than ASICs promises to help system vendors catch the wave as the telecom equipment market recovers. They enable vendors to reduce time-to-market and to overcome the fact that many of them no longer have in-house ASIC development teams, says report author Simon Stanley, founder and principal analyst of Earlswood Marketing Ltd.

Acceptance of off-the-shelf silicon has increased to a level where systems vendors will consider buying in such a complex part as a switch fabric, says Stanley. And today there is plenty of choice of standard components from third-party vendors. No fewer than twelve switch fabric vendors are covered in Stanley's report. They are:

Taking standardization to the next level, systems vendors could further reduce their costs by using off-the-shelf linecards, in the form of Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (AdvancedTCA), says the report. This is a standard system for carrier-grade telecom and computing applications that is being defined by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG). It's early days for this standard yet, but the first switch fabric products supporting it were announced recently (see TeraChip Plugs Into ATCA and AMCC Debuts Switch Fabric). A Webinar previewing this report, entitled "Switch Fabric Chipsets: The Core of Next-Gen Systems," is archived here.

— Pauline Rigby, Senior Editor, Light Reading

materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 2:19:23 AM
re: Light Reading Surveys Switch Fabrics The rise of the third party chip marks the beginning of "PC Economics" into the telecom space. This is a good thing, as it amortizes fixed R&D over more units.

This means that the benefits of spending growth won't be limited to a few gear vendors.
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