May 31, 2006 Santa Clara, CA -- Two-year-old Silicon Valley startup ImmenStar today announced what it claims is the industry's first fully integrated high- density EPON switch chipset. Dubbed MuLan, the EPON switch chipset already is being shipped in volume to system vendors in five countries: the U.S., China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
"From its creation in May 2004, ImmenStar has approached product development with total attention to end systems integration," reports John Wuu, Immenstar president and CEO. "We have tremendous up-front focus on architectural emulation and software development in addition to chip design. The result is a complete system-level solution to slash development costs and accelerate time-to-market," he says. "The proof of our success lies in the response among the companies we've approached prior to publication, for we are already shipping multi-million dollar orders across five nations with a further ten companies looking ready to follow."
In a conference call held this morning, Wuu defined a customer as someone who has purchased a development kit and sample chipsets. ImmenStar confirms that it does have a major customer in Japan that is expected to field systems using the chip in the near future.
The MuLan EPON Switch Chipset comprises four members plus the ImmenStar iROS operating system, which provides distributed and scalable management and control of the entire chipset. According to Wuu, the IS8020 is the industry's first Quad EPON optical line terminal (OLT) chip integrating four optical EPON ports and four Gigabit Ethernet ports into a single chip with non-blocking traffic forwarding. The second OLT chip is the IS8030, which provides a single optical EPON port and identical features at a reduced cost. The IS8010 EPON optical network unit (ONU) chip supports FTTH and is designed to work with ImmenStar's OLT. The IS8015, by contrast, is an enhanced version of IS8010, providing multi-vendor interoperability support for Fiber-to-the-Node (FTTN) applications.
To date, ImmenStar has performed interoperability work with four EPON vendors, including Passave/PMC-Sierra, Teknovus, Conexant, and Greenwich, a Japanese chip. Because it is "a highly interoperable solution," says Wuu, the IS8015 comes at a slight price premium compared to the IS8010.
"The IEC estimated that ONUs typically account for 70% of the cost of Fiber-to-the-Business (FTTB) and 80% of the cost of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) systems" adds Wuu. "With that in mind, ImmenStar architects its MuLan chipset in such a way that we focus the complexity at the central office end and keep the customer premise equipment (CPE) end simple and highly integrated. By doing so, we believe our MuLan IS8010 chip would significantly reduce the cost at [the] CPE."
Underlining ImmenStar's commitment to end system integration is the simultaneous launch of its Mulan SDK System Development Kit evaluation platform. This platform provides system developers with a complete evaluation system to accelerate the system design using the chipset and significantly reduce development cycle time and effort, says Wuu.
Despite what it claims is a successful launch of the MuLan EPON switch chipset, ImmenStar confirms that it also is working on a GPON offering, which it plans to announce late next month.
For now, its EPON announcement is the center of attention--and for good reason, contends Michael Howard, principal analyst and co-founder of Infonetics Research. "The innovations in high-density, integration, price, and performance put the MuLan EPON Switch Chipset in a good position to be considered for the next generation of EPON equipment design," he says. "The IS8020 Quad OLT is the first that we have seen that integrates four OLT ports and non-blocking switching into a single chip."