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Agere 80Gbps switch performs triple duty

Posted: 22 Oct 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:agere systems? pi 40sax? protocol independent switch? network switch ic? pi 40?

Agere Systems Inc. has announced that it is shipping an 80Gbps switching processor capable of performing per-channel rate grooming for multiservice switching of voice and data signals. The chip performs three jobs - serdes functions, clock-data-recovery functions, and packet processing - and can reduce the cost of network switching by up to 70 percent, the company claimed.

The PI-40SAX Protocol Independent standalone switch can perform up to 320,000 voice and data calls, or "eight times that of the industry's state-of-the-art Class 5 switches, such as the 5ESS from Lucent," said Wei Li, systems architect for infrastructure products at Agere.

The aggregate 80Gbps switching speed guarantees 40Gbps bandwidth rates, or four times as much as other current solutions, Agere said. The chip has 32 2.5Gb fabric ports, each of which can be assigned or aggregated to Gigabit Ethernet, OC-12c, OC-48c, or OC-192c rates.

Instead of a bit-slicing approach, the PI-40SAX uses a shared-memory architecture plus a platform-based approach that allows for real-time scheduling and rate grooming on a channel-by-channel basis, Wei said.

"Bit slicing gives a master/slave configuration, which leads to poor reliability as any one link can bring the system down," said Wei. "A shared memory overcomes this."

For rate-grooming and traffic management, Agere worked on algorithms for real-time per-channel bandwidth provisioning for VoIP, which helped preserve QoS and service-level-agreements. Traffic isolation and separate buffer pools for unicast and multicast data are also included. The switch handles TDM, ATM, and IP traffic with equal aplomb.

Agere had to develop a low-power serdes to implement the single-chip solution, however, said John Sotir, product marketing manager at Agere. The integration of the serdes was made possible by dropping that function's power consumption at 2.5Gbps to 85mW, "versus the 125mW typically required by current solutions," said Sotir. Agere's own first-generation serdes sucked 200mW, he said.

The PI-40SAX is implemented in a 0.16?m process and is priced at $520 each per 10,000. It is the third member of the company's PI-40 chip family, which also includes the PI-40X and PI-40C multistage switching chips. The latest chip allows a customer to "collapse its multiservice networks down to [a] one-chip architecture and platform for current and future requirements," Sotir said.

EE Times

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