Zarlink expands Ethernet switch platform to target triple play, enterprise services

May 10, 2006 Ottawa, Canada -- Zarlink Semiconductor has expanded its ClassSwitch Ethernet platform with the introduction of two devices which the company says enable lower cost design and faster deployment of network access equipment for aggregating, inspecting, and modifying real-time traffic in triple play and carrier-grade Ethernet VLAN applications.

May 10, 2006 Ottawa, Canada -- Zarlink Semiconductor has expanded its ClassSwitch Ethernet platform with the introduction of two devices which the company says enable lower cost design and faster deployment of network access equipment for aggregating, inspecting, and modifying real-time traffic in triple play and carrier-grade Ethernet VLAN applications.

Building on its previously released ClassSwitch devices, the company's ZL33032 and ZL33050 chips are Ethernet switches that integrate embedded memory with patent-pending protection switching and enhanced per-flow QoS features - key elements in the delivery of advanced services including IPTV and end-to-end private VLAN, notes the company. The company says the new devices deliver the critical switching and aggregation performance required for IP-DSLAMs MTU/MDU switch systems, PON units, and micro-MSPPs carrying Ethernet services over SONET/SDH networks.

The ZL33032 embedded memory switch incorporates 24 Fast Ethernet + 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports. The ZL33050 delivers the same features and port configurations, with an option to add external memory to support applications requiring additional traffic burstiness, more complex congestion control. and advanced traffic shaping.

"Zarlink's ClassSwitch platform supports robust traffic management and enhanced user policy provisioning, such as service level agreements with programmable packet analysis, required to carry emerging services over last mile networks," comments Mauricio Peres, product line director, packet switching, Zarlink Semiconductor. "Delivering unparalleled integrated features, including embedded memory and Ethernet-based protection switching, these devices help equipment manufacturers increase reliability and lower development costs for 'last mile' high-performance systems."

The company says its ClassSwitch devices integrate rapid failure detection and protection switching features to identify network errors and minimize frame loss. According to the company, unlike common link-based failure detection mechanisms, the ClassSwitch devices feature integrated protocol-based protection, enabling detection of failures at the far end of the network. The devices incorporate an algorithm capable of periodically sending programmable packet beacons (for example, ping packets) across the network using specialized built-in hardware, without requiring CPU intervention. If a failure occurs in the far end of the system all packets belonging to the session can be rapidly diverted to a backup path.

An internal "path monitoring" timer allows users to program the devices' failover response performance. The company says this programmability enables users to meet current telecom standards for protection switching, while making network failures virtually transparent to end users.

Key features integrated into the ZL33032 and ZL33050 ClassSwitch devices, including input/output rate control and per-flow QoS traffic policing, allow carriers to precisely control bandwidth, bill customers for the exact amount of bandwidth used, and improve network bandwidth management.

Programmable rate control can be applied to every 10/100 port independently for incoming and outgoing traffic to ensure customers receive only their subscribed bandwidth. The average traffic rate is reduced to below full wire-speed, and port rate can be flexibly configured in 64 Kpbs increments. On the input side, flow control will be applied on the traffic's source port until the arriving traffic conforms to the configured rate. On the output side, data will continue to be buffered inside the ClassSwitch device until it can be transmitted to the destination at the requested rate.

Integrated flow-based QoS features allow service providers to maintain secure connections for their customers and control access by detecting unique traffic streams and limiting data rates for specific applications. Packets entering the device are classified to a flow based on user-defined rules, using information such as frame source and destination addresses or applications using the Layer 2 to Layer 7 fields of incoming packets. Up to 1,024 distinct flows can be created per device. The architecture supports per- flow two rate, three-color metering and policing. Scheduling algorithms, such as SP (strict priority) and WFQ (weighted fair queuing), manage packets and prioritize traffic.

Flow metering also enhances network security by detecting and discarding illegal or harmful traffic. To further protect against viruses and malicious attacks, ClassSwitch devices integrate a hardware-based Denial of Service attack-flow engine.

The ZL33032 and ZL33050 ClassSwitch devices are supported by a full software development kit including device driver source code, board supporting package for the ClassSwitch evaluation system, and a comprehensive set of APIs for chip configuration to simplify the programming of the chip registers and enable faster system development. Evaluation boards cab be ordered with plug-in modules for 100/1000 Ethernet transceivers as well as CPUs based on PowerPC, ARM, and MIPS.

The ZL33032 and ZL33050 devices are available now, priced at $74.00 and $80.91 respectively in 10K volumes.

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