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Processor rolls for 3G infrastructure

Posted: 17 Jul 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Loring Wirbel? EE Times? Applied Micro Circuits Corp.? nP3665? packet-forwarding engine?

Applied Micro Circuits Corp. has spun many generations of communications processors from the nP family that it acquired from MMC Networks Inc. six years ago. But the nP3665 is the first packet-forwarding engine from the company to be dedicated specifically to 3G wireless applications, including node B base stations and serving GPRS support nodes.

The processor is optimized for 2Gbps, OC-24 performance in networks with a mix of IP packets and ATM cells. Kevin Brennan, product-marketing manager for the nP3665 at AMCC, said that ATM traffic continues to play an important role in European, Asian and North American cellular networks, so the data path engine could not dispense with ATM adaptation functions.

The processor features a hardware-based traffic manager to support deterministic behavior with low-latency traffic, particularly given the mix of packet, cell and circuit-switched traffic found in 3G backbones. The scheduling algorithms used in the traffic manager can support bandwidth provisioning on the basis of flow, pipe, port and subport.

AMCC has designed the processor to interface directly to the Amur framer/mapper, which terminates as many as 1,024 DS-0 channels; and the 440GRx family of PowerPC processors, which are used as control plane processors in typical designs. In almost all wireless infrastructure network node designs, Brennan said, a control plane processor will be used in conjunction with a data path network processor.

AMCC is backing up the chip with both software and a kit that embeds an Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA) card in a 19-inch rack-ready box. The nPsoft kit includes an nPkernel; applications code that includes IPv4, IPv6, ATM adaptation layers and multiprotocol label switching; common service libraries and application programming interfaces; and direct code generators and simulators.

AMCC is offering a full-size ATCA line card embedded in a 19-inch box ready for rack integration in 3G nodes. The processor chip itself is packaged in a 1,023-ball HFC-BGA package, and is available in both commercial and industrial temperature ranges.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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