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R-NIC backers set up compliance lab

Posted: 07 Jun 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:r-nic? ethernet? interconnect? infiniband?

Backers of the R-NIC approach to enhanced Ethernet are forming a compliance and interoperability testing laboratory. The move marks another milestone in efforts to bring to Ethernet some of the low latency capabilities of system-to-system interconnects such as Infiniband.

If all goes according to plan, the lab could have a compliance test ready to go by the end of the year. Interoperability testing would follow sometime in 2005.

Testing is seen as a key component of the march to market of the enhanced Ethernet controllers that can handle TCP offload jobs and other Infiniband-like features that reduce network latency. "R-NICs are an extremely complex products and it's too easy to screw them up and make the whole industry pay for it," said one senior engineer involved in the effort who asked not to be named.

Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft and startup NetEffect Inc. have led the charge to set up the lab in association with the University of New Hampshire. Other companies that have expressed interest in the effort include Adaptec, Agilent, Amasso, EMC, Network Appliance, Oracle, Siliquent, S2IO and Sun. The lab ultimately expects it have as many as a dozen members.

The companies have made no official announcements on joining the effort because a legal review of documents for setting up the lab is still being conducted. However, core members agreed in late May on the goals and business details of the lab following a series of twice weekly meetings over the last six weeks.

The group aims to raise about $350,000 per year to staff the lab and pay for developing tests. The money will come from full memberships expected to cost $40,000 and basic memberships at a $20,000 annual rate.

As many as seven companies have announced some form of R-NIC products or plans so far this year. Backers said as many as 30 companies are working on products in this area.

- Rick Merritt

EE Times

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