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Zarlink Ethernet switches designed for IP video apps

Posted: 13 Jan 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Zarlink Semiconductor? ClassSwitch? Ethernet switch? ZL33042? ZL33046?

Layer 2 Ethernet switches

Zarlink Semiconductor introduced the first two devices in its new ClassSwitch platform of single- chip, full-service Layer 2 Ethernet switches designed for network access equipment supporting packet-based applications, such as IPTV.

The platform includes the ZL33042 with 24 FE (Fast Ethernet) + 2 GE (Gigabit Ethernet) port configurations and the ZL33046 Ethernet switch delivering 16 FE + 2 GE port configurations. Future devices will incorporate lower and higher data throughput and optional port count configurations.

"With the demand for IP video applications over packet networks and escalating security threats, operators must guarantee proper handling of IP multicast traffic while ensuring policy off-load and content protection," said Mauricio Peres, product line director, Packet Switching at Zarlink. "Our carrier-grade ClassSwitch platform integrates advanced packet identification and user flow policing, metering and filtering to support effective IP policy provisioning, allowing network operators to efficiently deliver advanced applications."

The new ClassSwitch platform promises to provide high intelligence for aggregation equipment, while lowering equipment design costs by integrating multiple features on a single chip. Packets entering the devices are classified to a flow based on user-defined rules, using information such as frame source and destination address or applications using L2 (Layer 2) to L7 (Layer 7) fields of incoming packets. Up to 1,024 distinct flows can be created per device. The architecture supports per-flow two-rate, three-color metering and policing.

The Ethernet switches integrate a hardware-based denial of service attack-flow engine to protect against viruses and malicious attacks. This attack prevention engine ensures uninterrupted services while preventing the loss of information or revenue that can result from network disruptions.

In addition, the ClassSwitch family's built-in "packet identifier" micro-engine pre- filters L2 to L7 packet fields can be used to match suspicious traffic types. If user programmable patterns are recognized, the devices forward suspicious packets to off-the-shelf Deep Content Analysis processors for further analysis. Zarlink classifier switches can be programmed to accept or deny service based on the information used for classification.

The Ethernet switches include up to 24 media access controllers (MACs) for 10-/100Mbps and two GMACs (Gigabit MACs) for 10-/100-/1,000Mbps. All MACs and GMACs support copper (twisted wire) or fiber physical interfaces. In its core, the device family provides multi-field traffic classification of L2 and L7 fields, IP Multicast and Unicast bandwidth distribution, and a traffic queuing engine.

In quantities of 5,000 units, the ZL33042 and ZL33046 Ethernet switches are priced at $68 and $60, respectively. Evaluation boards with various plug-in modules for 100-/1.000 Ethernet transceivers as well as CPUs based on PowerPC, ARM and MIPS will be available soon.

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