x
Comms chips

Motorola Stuck on C-Port

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) has done reasonably well in the network processor game after the 2000 acquisition of C-Port Corp., but getting the next slate of C-Port products out has been quite a struggle.

It's been two years since Motorola announced the Q-5 traffic manager and the C-10 network processor, both of which were supposed to sample by now. Neither product has been canceled, but they've been substantially delayed as Motorola adapted its plans to the slower market, writes Bob Gohn, Motorola marketing director, in an email.

That leaves Motorola with just the C-5e and C-3e, the latest revisions of C-Port's original C-5 network processor. However, C-Port is by no means out of the game: The Linley Group has counted about 100 design wins for the C-5, including some big names (see Motorola Wins Three Customers).

"The good news is that Motorola has been investing at a moderate level in this market, so they're likely to hang in there," says Linley Group analyst Bob Wheeler. "The bad news is that they've basically got one product."

And the design, while few years old, is still technically solid. "With IBM Corp.'s departure from the market, the C-5 becomes the leading OC48 [network processor] from a design perspective," Wheeler says.

Motorola had planned -- and still plans -- to augment the C-5 with the Q-5, an adjunct traffic manager chip. The Q-5's job would be to prioritize packets before sending them to a switch fabric, providing quality of service for up to 256,000 traffic flows.

"They got fairly far along with the design and figured out they couldn't actually build the thing," Wheeler says. Motorola retrenched early this year, simplifying the Q-5 and delaying its release.

Motorola's Gohn writes that the delay was triggered by "a desire to tune the part to meet some specific customer needs, as well as a desire to 'slim down' the part to better match the changing general market needs."

The resulting chip will be cost about $235, versus $575 for the original Q-5, according to Gohn. The price change has prompted Motorola to drop plans for a Q-3 chip, which would have been a cheaper version of the original Q-5.

This summer, Motorola sampled the slimmer Q-5 to customers in field-programmable gate array (FPGA) form. That's a common first step for chipmakers; an FPGA is a "blank slate" chip that can be programmed to mimic another chip's design -- the tradeoff being that the FPGA is bigger and sometimes slower than the real thing.

Linley's Wheeler says the actual Q-5 chip isn't expected to appear until December, "basically 18 months after the original schedule." That has given the competition some time to pull ahead. For example, according to Wheeler, Agere Systems Inc. (NYSE: AGR.A) is shipping a network processor with an integrated traffic manager, and Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) (Nasdaq: AMCC) is planning a similar product for 2004 release (see Agere Ships Single-Chip NPU and AMCC Intros Network Processors).

The C-10, meanwhile, has been put off until late 2004, leaving Motorola without a next-generation processor for now. "This is by design, given the current market conditions and real demand for 10G-oriented NPUs," Gohn writes.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
talissomeone 12/4/2012 | 11:19:59 PM
re: Motorola Stuck on C-Port IBM announced they had left the NPU market quite awhile ago. Are you sure you saw a roadmap. Sounds like info covered under an NDA to me.
alchemy 12/4/2012 | 11:19:59 PM
re: Motorola Stuck on C-Port "The good news is that Motorola has been investing at a moderate level in this market, so they're likely to hang in there," says Linley Group analyst Bob Wheeler. "The bad news is that they've basically got one product."

And the design, while few years old, is still technically solid. "With IBM Corp.'s departure from the market, the C-5 becomes the leading


That's news to me. I have seen an IBM NPU product roadmap presentation within the last 60 days.
mrcasual 12/4/2012 | 11:19:58 PM
re: Motorola Stuck on C-Port Never underestimate the ability of the left hand to not know what the right hand is doing at a company as big as IBM.

IBM has stopped all Rainier development. There was some talk that their next NPU would be based on PPC cores. Yeah, right. Everyone I ever talked to at IBM laughed when they talked about it. It didn't even make sense to internal IBM guys.

Now that they have sold the Prizma fabric to AMCC I doubt that they would bother keeping any NPU program alive. At least with the Prizma connection they had a co-sell opportunity.
jstuart_99 12/4/2012 | 11:19:58 PM
re: Motorola Stuck on C-Port Telling someone you saw a roadmap presentation can hardly constitute a violation of an NDA. Get a grip, cause you sure don't have a life..

BTW: nice handle - I'm sure you do well by it.
alchemy 12/4/2012 | 11:19:57 PM
re: Motorola Stuck on C-Port IBM announced they had left the NPU market quite awhile ago. Are you sure you saw a roadmap. Sounds like info covered under an NDA to me.

Duh. All product roadmaps I've ever seen are covered by an NDA. It's not like I spilled the beans about what IBM has in mind for future generations of the Rainier NPU. I just find it funny that Motorola would sling mud at a product that's superior to their own and has 20% market share. Tools, libraries, and support for the Rainier are world class. Anyone I know who has tried to use C-Port product has described it as a traumatic experience. Consider that Motorola has also lost the high-end PowerPC wars to IBM... Apple is the dominant player and they're gobbling up as many G5 chips as IBM can produce. The embedded market may very well head in that direction as Motorola spins off their semiconductor business.
Mr. Mutt 12/4/2012 | 11:19:56 PM
re: Motorola Stuck on C-Port Considering IBM is moving quickly towards becoming a services company and out of HW, it would not surprise me to hear they are leaving this space. How much other HW have they sold off in the last 18 months? RAID cards, modules, fabric chips. It will all be gone before too long.
sigint 12/4/2012 | 11:19:49 PM
re: Motorola Stuck on C-Port "IBM has stopped all Rainier development"

Years ago, actually. There was some development around a shrunk chip by Alcatel, who had it on the ill-fated RCP7700. With the router gone, I think it's "life time buy" for the rainier.
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 11:19:48 PM
re: Motorola Stuck on C-Port There is not a segment of business where Motorola tried its luck. It also has failed in many of its endevors. Its shareholders have suffered enormous losses. Motorola has frequently its leaders. It also acquired a lot of companies all over the country. Most of these companies proved useless causing enormous losses. C-Port was also also a failed company.

The NPU Processor market dreams have not been realized. So for Motorola to participate in the market space means several steps backward.
optical_man 12/4/2012 | 11:19:47 PM
re: Motorola Stuck on C-Port
Article Talk
Motorola Stuck on C-Port
Subject

Message





Author: BobbyMax Number: 8
Subject: Motorola Changes Its Color Date: 10/19/2003 5:23:58 PM
"There is not a segment of business where Motorola tried its luck. It also has failed in many of its endevors. Its shareholders have suffered enormous losses. Motorola has frequently its leaders. "

HA.

Just cracked another piece of the BobbyMax code!
Submitted for your approval (a la The Twilight Zone).

A poster who cannot complete certain sentences in proper English.......
But when it comes to the 'Subject' of the post, the English is and always has been of the highest order.

OK, now we can apply this down South logic of mine and state that BobbyMax is attempting to hide his identity by 'screwing up' some of his sentences.

Another piece of the puzzle.


gea 12/4/2012 | 11:19:47 PM
re: Motorola Stuck on C-Port BobbyMax:

All your base are belong to us.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
HOME
Sign In
SEARCH
CLOSE
MORE
CLOSE