Mindspeed Technologies pushes metro networks to 20 Gbps

Sept. 10, 2001--With Mindspeed's new ring processing unit, carriers will be able to upgrade their OC-192 SONET networks to 20 Gbps of bandwidth with four times the effective data throughput.

Mindspeed Technologies, the Internet infrastructure business of Conexant Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNXT), introduced what the company claims is the industry's first semiconductor solution that will enable networking equipment to support up to 20 Gbps of bandwidth within Internet protocol (IP) ring-based metropolitan area and intra-point-of-presence (intra-POP) networks.

With Mindspeed's new M29955 RingMaker ring processing unit (RPU), carriers will be able to upgrade their OC-192 (10 Gbps) synchronous optical (SONET) networks to 20 Gbps of bandwidth with four times the effective data throughput, reducing operational costs while provisioning services quickly and reliably.

The M29955 RingMaker RPU is a complete solution including hardware and software that enables up to 10 Gbps of throughput per ring, for a total of 20 Gbps on a dual-ring resilient packet ring (RPR) network. Two RingMaker RPUs operate in parallel to sustain the full 20 Gbps data rate and jointly control the dual rings. The new M29955 RingMaker RPU can be used to build routers, servers, switches, cable head-end equipment, digital loop carriers and other OC-192 networking platforms for today's RPR networks. It will be complemented later this year by a reference design that incorporates other Mindspeed 10 Gbps solutions including framers, serializer/deserializer (SERDES) transceivers and switch fabrics.

Mindspeed's M29955 RingMaker RPU joins the CX29950 RingMaker RPU -- now shipping in volume -- which offers up to 5 Gbps of throughput on a pair of OC-48 (2.4 Gbps) RPR network rings.

Communications equipment manufacturers, including Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks, have announced their support for RPR technology, which will enable metropolitan area service providers to more quickly and efficiently deliver rapidly growing volumes of packet data while optimizing fault resiliency and offering carrier-class features. The technology enables four times the effective data throughput of similar-speed SONET networks by utilizing both rings for data and control packets and by implementing Cisco Systems' Spatial Reuse Protocol (SRP), removing packets from the network after they reach their destination.

The M29955 RingMaker RPU fully supports the Cisco's SRP specification, which is currently the most widely supported protocol for emerging RPR networks. SRP is a key element of Cisco's Dynamic Packet Transport (DPT) initiative for building networks that add higher effective bandwidth and IP features to existing SONET infrastructure.

The M29955 RingMaker RPU interfaces to a framer and the system host and includes an interface for mating it to a second RingMaker device in order to create an SRP node. The RingMaker RPU supports a high-priority level for latency-sensitive data, such as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) or video, and a low-priority level using the SRP fairness algorithm to control access and manage congestion on the ring.

Mindspeed has added a one megabyte on-chip transit buffer memory to the M29955 RingMaker RPU to improve system performance and uses the same SRP Node Application Programming Interface (SNAPI) Framework software developed for the OC-48 CX29950 RingMaker RPU. SNAPI Framework software provides a standardized infrastructure for an SRP node on an RPR network, with native support for the RPU, framer and other devices. A scalable solution, it reduces the learning curve required to implement the SRP protocol and helps to accelerate customers' time to market. All SNAPI software used in designs that implement Mindspeed's OC-48 RingMaker RPU can be migrated to the company's new M29955 RingMaker RPU offering.

The M29955 RingMaker RPU can forward, strip or drop packets under the control of a pair of integrated content addressable memory (CAM) devices containing lookup and statistics information. The M29955 RPU has built-in reliability features, including the ability to perform a ring wrap in the event of a node failure, fiber-facility failure or signal degradation. It includes the option of a pass-through mode in the event of a board failure to avoid affecting the rest of the ring.

The M29955 RingMaker RPU is sampling to alpha customers now and will be available for general sampling in November. Volume production is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2002. Pricing is $1,000.00 in OEM quantities of 1,000, and the device is packaged in a 680-pin 40mm high-performance ball grid array (HPBGA).

About Mindspeed:

Mindspeed Technologies designs, develops and sells semiconductor networking solutions that facilitate the aggregation, transmission and switching of data, video and voice from the edge of the Internet to linked metropolitan area networks and long-haul networks. For more information, visit www.mindspeed.com.

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