Agere Systems announced the world's fastest switching chip for impacting the economics, size, and multi-service performance and flexibility of communications network infrastructure equipment and consumer electronics devices. The chip switches voice, data, and video signals at least four times faster than all other competing single chip switches.
China-based Zhongxing Telecom Equipment Corp., one of the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturers in China, is designing in Agere's chip for use in its multi-service switching equipment platform.
Switching chips are the engines that drive the vast majority of communications equipment, moving voice telephone calls, wireless Internet data, video streaming files, and other types of communications signals through network systems.
Agere's chip, called the Protocol Independent Stand-Alone Switch (PI-40SAX), is a key engine driving an important shift in the communications equipment industry to a lower cost structure. For the next several years, the industry's equipment will have to be much more reliable, much smaller, offer many more services, and still deliver much higher capacity and speeds-and cost much less.
Agere's chip switches voice, data, and video signals at an aggregated switching speed of 80 Gbits/sec. An aggregated speed of 80 Gbits/sec guarantees a minimum of 40 Gbits/sec of speed and bandwidth for current and future applications by users of switched voice, data, and video services ? four times faster than the nearest competing single chip offering. This is achieved using Agere's patented scheduling technology, which times and sets priorities for individual traffic types the chip supports.
According to Agere, competitors can only achieve this equivalent of 40 Gbits/sec input speed using three or more chips. Agere's chip can provide guaranteed bandwidth for prioritized services and efficient use of switch capacity for all multi-service applications. The chip enables a telecommunications network to simultaneously switch 320,000 voice and data calls ? eight times as many as the industry's state-of-the-art Class 5 switching equipment.
The switching chip market amounted to approximately $325 million in 2002 and is expected to grow to $915 million by 2006, according to CIBC World Markets, a market research firm. Protocol-independent switching chips can be sold into more than a dozen different target markets.
The single chip also offers multiple technology protocol benefits. For example, the chip can handle TDM bytes, ATM cells, and IP packets. TDM, ATM, and IP are the three major technologies used to transport information through communications equipment. The significance of this capability is that manufacturers can use this chip for their current equipment, as well as upgraded equipment they deploy in the future, without having to invest in changing the chip architecture as various transport technologies such as TDM, ATM, and IP evolve and get deployed in equipment.
This scalable feature translates to lower overall switching electronics and equipment costs, simplified and faster equipment upgrades, and accelerated product deliveries.
The PI-40SAX is the newest and highest performance chip of Agere's family of PI-40 chips. The family includes Agere's PI-40X and PI-40C multi-stage switching chips announced earlier this year. By designing in Agere's PI-40SAX offering with its PI-40X and PI-40C chips, customers have an inherent solution that will give them the high capacity and prioritized quality of service, such as priority scheduling, bandwidth provisioning, and traffic isolation.
Agere's new chip also integrates multiple SerDes (serializer/deserializer) input/output interconnect sub-circuits that can transmit data into and out of the chip at up to 2.5 Gbits/sec for each of the 32 SerDes sub-circuit links to the chip. Integration of the SerDes functions further reduces system costs by incorporating backplane transceivers. The PI-40SAX uses a transmission standard encoding scheme that is nearly 20% more efficient than 8-Bit/10-Bit line encoding schemes used by competing chip manufacturers.
Agere's chip is priced at $520 in production quantities of 10,000.
More information about Agere Systems (Allentown, PA) is available from its Web site at www.agere.com.