Chips Pack MSPP Power

The march of chip integration is helping multiservice provisioning platforms (MSPPs) expand their territory, according to the latest Comm Chip Insider report.

The report, Silicon for Integrated MSPPs: Extending Sonet/SDH, is the first issue of the new "Comm Chip Insider" series, which consists of bimonthly reports focusing on the semiconductor sector (see Comm Chip Insider Launches).

MSPP chips have gone the usual route of integration, drawing in neighboring functions as silicon circuitry gets more compact. That's helped MSPPs add more functionality and outgrow their roots as add/drop multiplexers (see Packet Attack Changes Chip Designs ).

"Rather than introduce new technologies where existing Sonet/SDH networks have the necessary bandwidth, carriers are extending the lifespan of their Sonet/SDH infrastructures by deploying additional MSPP firepower," writes Simon Stanley, author of the report.

For the first wave of integrated MSPP chips, that trend meant adding Ethernet MACs as well as next-generation Sonet's Generic Framing Procedure (GFP) and virtual concatenation. More recent chips represent "a full system-on-a-chip implementation" including "crossconnects, packet flow control, and multiple PDH tributary interfaces," Stanley writes.

The next likely step is to add more intelligence to the chips. On-chip packet interfaces and "integrated traffic management and packet processing" will become the norm.

Of course, the integration trend has also helped MSPPs get smaller, as seen in the wave of micro-MSPPs bombarding the market (see Micro MSPPs Are Big, Alcatel Launches Micro MSPP, ECI Launches Mini MSPP, and RAD Gets a Micro MSPP).

The report compares more than 30 products from 14 vendors: Agere Systems Inc. (NYSE: AGR.A), Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) (Nasdaq: AMCC), Arrive Technologies Inc., Bay Microsystems Inc., Cortina Systems Inc., Crimson Microsystems Inc., Fujitsu Microelectronics Inc., Galazar Networks Inc., Infineon Technologies AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: IFX), , PMC-Sierra Inc. (Nasdaq: PMCS), Raza Microelectronics Inc., TranSwitch Corp. (Nasdaq: TXCC), and Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS).

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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