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Cypress NSE IC gets a bead on IPv6 problems

Posted: 29 Jul 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cypress semiconductor? ayama 20000? network search engine chip? nse chip? intel?

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. is adding the Ayama 20000 to its family of network search engine (NSE) chips to address the larger lookup and classification requirements of emerging IPv6-enabled networking designs.

The Ayama 20000 is a content-addressable memory-based search engine chip that sports two lookaside-1 interfaces, each featuring 128 contexts. Thus, the NSE can simultaneously link LA-1-enabled network processors from companies like Intel Corp. and Applied Micro Circuits Corp.

"With one LA-1 interface on-chip, you can play in full-duplex 1GHz and maybe 2.5Gbps designs," said Brian Moody, product-marketing manager at Cypress. "But to hit 5Gb performance and beyond, you need to have two LA-1 interfaces."

The dual LA-1 interfaces also save board space and cost, said Gangesh Ganesan, senior marketing manager at Cypress. High-speed line card designs typically require both an ingress and an egress processor. Designers using the Ayama 20000 can link and manage tables for both of these paths in a single NSE. "Now you have one large device that combines both capabilities," Ganesan said.

Cascading devices

The two LA-1 devices make it possible for the Ayama 20000 to support the needs of IPv6-enabled systems, which feature larger key exchanges and larger table sizes. The Ayama 20000 comes with a proprietary Fastlink interface that allows an NSE to link with the company's Ayama 10000 CAM-based NSEs and Sahasra 50000 algorithmic NSEs. Thus, designers can cascade devices to spread large IPv6 tables and lookups across multiple devices, Ganesan said.

This approach also allows designers to develop a core switch with multiple NSEs connected through the Fastlink interface and then scale down to a smaller switch, featuring only the Ayama 20000, for edge, access and remote-terminal designs.

The Ayama 20000 is also equipped with a key capture capability that can be tapped to accelerate the key exchange process in an IPv6 processing application. IPv6 key exchanges can require 360- to 570-bit lookups, Moody said. However, the bus access time on the Ayama 20000 is 18Mb wide, making key exchanges a cycle-intensive process.

Through the key capture capability, the Ayama 20000 exchanges an initial key; that same key is used to perform lookups in multiple databases. Other NSE manufacturers also provide that capability. It allows users to modify portions of the key without having to perform a new exchange, thus reducing bus latency, Ganesan said.

Cypress has added other capabilities to the Ayama 20000 to improve system performance. For example, an associative data manager enables the NSE to work in conjunction with an SRAM to perform lookups and fetch data with a single command. In addition, an age assist table capability flushes out old tables and entries from the NSE without network processor intervention.

The Ayama 20000 is available in 9Mb and 18Mb versions. The 18Mb device handles 512,000 entries while the 9Mb device supports 256,000 entries.

Both chips are developed in a 0.13micro;m process and are housed in a 1,152-pin flip-chip ball grid array package.

The chips are sampling now. Cypress says that volume production is slated for September.

- Robert Keenan

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