Lightstorm Networks unveils initial Carrier Ethernet silicon

SEPTEMBER 24, 2007 By Stephen Hardy � The Brooklyn-10 is a 20-Gbit Layer 2 switch chip designed to support Carrier Ethernet services for PBB-TE (PBT), T-MPLS, and the latest OAM standards.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2007 By Stephen Hardy � Newcomer Lightstorm Networks (search for Lightstorm) has unveiled what it touts as the first ASSP designed for Carrier Ethernet applications. The Brooklyn-10 is a 20-Gbit Layer 2 switch chip designed to support Carrier Ethernet services for PBB-TE (PBT), T-MPLS, and the latest OAM standards. Lightstorm has designed the device to offer wire-rate speeds without the programming required with competing network processor unit (NPU) or FPGA approaches.

According to Wade Appelman, Lightstorm's vice president of sales and marketing, the company has been working on the chip for the past two years as an alternative to devices designed for the enterprise market, as well as the use of NPUs and FPGAs. Appelman says that the device, currently sampling, has drawn the interest of WDM designers looking to add packet processing to their platforms, as well as carrier-grade Ethernet switch developers.

Appelman describes the current Carrier Ethernet design space as moving from an initial generation of platforms based on FPGAs and NPUs to one that is ready for ASSPs. He believes that Lightstorm is first to market with the Brooklyn-10, which has been designed to address such market drivers as network scalability, OAM and quality of service requirements, statistics, circuits support, and carrier standards. The IC supports 10-Gbit/sec full-duplex traffic at wire rates and contains an integrated 20G traffic manager. It supports such carrier standards as PBB and PBB-TE (PBT); VPLS, VPWS, and H-VPLS; and CFM (802.1ag & 802.3ah) for 3.3-msec OAM and EFM services. To ensure scalability, it can accommodate 80,000 VLANs, 16,000 pseudowires, and 128,000 MAC Addresses. The MEF 9 &14 compliant device offers flexible port configurations with integrated MACs and SerDes, including ten 1-Gigabit Ethernet client ports and a SPI4.2 network port for connectivity to 10G MACs, framers, or fabrics.

The device dissipates 12 W of power, which Appelman asserts is a third les than comparable NPUs and FPGAs.

Lightstorm provides complementary software suites (including APIs, API management tools, and software stacks) and a development platform. Companion service accelerators and aggregation devices are on the roadmap for introduction later this year, Appleman added.

The device will cost $250 in volume. Appelman says that the company already has "several -- not 50" design wins. He claims the company currently does not have any direct competitors in terms of Carrier Ethernet ASSPs.

Lightstorm was founded in 2004 by current CEO Bryan Campbell. It maintains R&D facilities in Ireland and its headquarters in Waltham, MA. It has raised Series A funding of $21 million.

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