PMC-Sierra introduces IP packet content classification processor

Feb. 20, 2001
Feb. 20, 2001--PMC-Sierra announced the availability of the PM2329 ClassiPI packet content classification processor for Gigabit Ethernet and OC-48 applications.

PMC-Sierra (Nasdaq:PMCS) announced the availability of the PM2329 ClassiPI packet content classification processor for Gigabit Ethernet and OC-48 applications. ClassiPI (Classification by Packet Inspection) is a new class of packet processor designed to accelerate the deployment of content aware Internet Protocol (IP) services such as intrusion detection, load balancing and Quality of Service (QoS) in the IP switches and routers that power broadband networks.

As broadband Internet traffic becomes more complex with the addition of voice, video and increasing amounts of data, next generation network equipment must look beyond the IP packet header when making decisions about how to treat a packet address. In this environment switches and routers must peer deep into a packet's payload and look at content such as URLs and email addresses in order to classify how Internet traffic will be categorized and delivered. This classification task is beyond the capabilities of today's general-purpose network processors.

By working in conjunction with general-purpose network processors, PMC-Sierra's ClassiPI chip dramatically accelerates this type of content-based classification thus breaking one of the Internet's most challenging bottlenecks. This is accomplished through the use of ClassiPI's highly optimized packet inspection engine and classification algorithms that speed the processing of network traffic by up to 10 times that of a general-purpose network processor alone.

The existing IP network infrastructure of edge and core routers provides packet classification at Layers 3 and 4 (of the Open Systems Interconnect, or OSI, model) to provide packet routing and basic bandwidth management. Carriers, content providers and application service providers must differentiate and provide customers with more than just raw bandwidth to avoid commoditization. They require network equipment capable of higher layer packet classification to provide value added services such as intrusion detection and server load balancing for better network performance. ClassiPI provides the packet processing technology to build the next wave of value added IP-based switches, routers and service management equipment.

Network security is a key concern for companies that are increasingly dependent on the Internet for their product distribution channel and communication infrastructure. To address these concerns, customers require virtual private network (VPN) service offerings with intrusion detection; ClassiPI enables the design of high density T1/E1 router port cards which can detect signatures or tokens within each packet to support this requirement. E-commerce-based businesses require expensive "farms" of transaction servers as their underlying business infrastructure. Efficient utilization of transaction servers is a key concern. ClassiPI enables the design of server load balancing switch port cards that can route packets based on an URL to efficiently meter the transaction traffic to each server.

Deterministic wire speed content classification is critical to the delivery of value-added IP services. ClassiPI supports OC-48 applications by using a hardware-based implementation versus current CPU-based alternatives. ClassiPI is fully user programmable and supports up to 16K user defined logical, relational and long pattern-based search rules. ClassiPI provides a universal SRAM interface bus to interconnect with third party processors or ASICs.

The PM2329 ClassiPI is available now in a 35x35mm2 352 pin, TEBGA package and priced at $256 in 1000 quantities through distribution. ClassiPI uses low power 1.8V CMOS rated for commercial temperature range of operation (0 to +70 degrees Celsius). A comprehensive support package including datasheets, software drivers, application notes, reference design and a Software Development Kit (SDK) that includes PCI based hardware running on LINUX or Windows NT operating systems will be available on the PMC-Sierra web site at

About PMC-Sierra:

PMC-Sierra develops Internet Protocol (IP), ATM, SONET/SDH, T1/E1, T3/E3, Voice-over-Packet, wireless infrastructure, MIPS microprocessor, and Gigabit Ethernet solutions for wide area network (WAN), and Internet networking equipment. For more information, visit