Fulcrum Microsystems debuts Ethernet switches for GPON line cards

SEPTEMBER 25, 2006 -- Fulcrum Microsystems has announced an expansion of its FocalPoint Ethernet switch device family with what it calls the industry's first Ethernet switch chips targeted at multi-port optical line termination (OLT) cards for GPON equipment.

SEPTEMBER 25, 2006 -- Fulcrum Microsystems (search for Fulcrum Microsystems) has announced an expansion of its FocalPoint Ethernet switch device family with what it calls the industry's first Ethernet switch chips targeted at multi-port optical line termination (OLT) cards for GPON equipment (search for GPON).

With the success of GPON network implementations, equipment manufacturers are migrating from single-port, first-generation OLT cards to multi-port cards that provide higher user density and lower cost. To accommodate this transition and to handle the increased density without sacrificing performance, switching must be embedded into the line-card.

Fulcrum has responded to this trend with the FocalPoint FM2103 and FM2104 switches, both of which offer full line-rate performance. The FM2103 is configured for four-port OLT cards with four 2.5-Gbit/sec Ethernet ports for access connections and two 10-Gigabit Ethernet XAUI ports for backbone links. The FM2104 is for eight-port OLT boards and features eight 2.5-Gbit/sec Ethernet ports with two 10-Gigabit Ethernet XAUI ports.

Both devices feature flexible header processing for Ethernet-to-GPON interworking, allowing the devices to parse the GPON-specific packet header.

In a separate announcement, Fulcrum said it will work jointly with BroadLight (search for BroadLight) on marketing and technical initiatives that will provide an integrated GPON offering composed of FocalPoint devices alongside BroadLight controllers.

"As GPON technology has proven itself in the market, the demand is growing for higher-density solutions, providing a perfect new market to benefit from the performance and cost advantages of our FocalPoint switch family," said Bud Noren, senior product manager for Fulcrum Microsystems. "The Fulcrum and BroadLight solution is perfectly complementary and is an ideal first step in building the ecosystem that will help us to be successful in this market."

At the core of both devices are two patented Fulcrum technology blocks: Nexus Terabit Crossbar and RapidArray Packet Memory. Nexus leverages Fulcrum's event-driven logic technology foundation to deliver more than a terabit-per-second of non-blocking throughput with 3 nsec of fall-through latency. RapidArray combines the data path of the Nexus crossbar with standard foundry state bits to deliver packet memories that offer twice the throughput of commercial memories, while maintaining comparable density and yield, the company says.

Both devices are immediately available for sampling.

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