Agere Touts High-Speed Switching Chip

Agere Systems on Monday announced the
development of a new switching chip that transfers a minimum of 40 gigabits
per second, at least four times the speed of comparable single chip
switches.

The Allentown, PA-based Agere, known for its integrated circuit technology
for data transfer and storage, said the latest chip — the Protocol
Independent Stand-Alone Switch (PI-40SAX) — has the potential to shake-up
the struggling telecommunications sector.

“(This chip) has the potential to revolutionize the economics, size, and
multi-service performance and flexibility of communications network
infrastructure equipment and consumer electronics devices for the next
several years,” the company said.

Because the new PI-40SAX chip can switch voice, data, and video signals at
least four times faster than comparable chips, Agere said the three-to-one
chip reduction would help slash communications equipment switching costs to
its clients by up to 70 percent.

Additionally, Agere said a single chip transferring at very high speeds
could help device manufacturers shrink the size of their products
significantly.

The company, which sells chips to the likes of Lucent and Cisco Systems
, has already bagged China’s telco giant Zhongxing
Telecommunication Equipment Co. as the first customer for the new PI-40SAX
chip. Zhongxing plans to design the Agere chip for use in its multi-service
switching equipment platform.

Switching chips are used to move voice telephone calls, wireless Internet
data, video streaming files, and other types of communications signals
through network systems.

In-Stat/MDR analyst Eric Mantion believes the new chip could help inject
life into the telecommunications industry, which has had its share of bad
news in recent times. “The PI-40SAX switch chip is an outstanding device
targeted at the markets that have been most resistant to the economic
downturn, such as
pedestal digital subscriber line access multiplexer systems, wireless
infrastructure equipment, and storage area network systems,” Mantion said.


Noting that it could take a while before the chips are built into new
products, Mantion believes it is a “a strong foundational product from which
customers can build today yet still use for years to come.”

Agere said the PI-40SAX switches voice, data, and video signals at an
aggregated
switching speed of 80 Gigabits per second (Gbits/s), speeds that guarantee a
minimum of 40 Gbits/s of speed and bandwidth for applications by users of
switched voice, data, and video services.

The chips uses Agere’s scheduling technology, which times and sets
priorities for individual traffic types the chip supports.

Typically, the new chip could allow a telecommunications network to
simultaneously switch 320,000 voice and data calls, about eight times more
than can be handled by current Class 5 switching equipment.

“Put another way, the chip has roughly enough bandwidth to handle the voice
and data telecommunications switching needs of the entire population of
people living in the cities of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania or Haikou, China,”
the company raved.

It said the chip, which is priced at $520 in production quantities of
10,000, could handle Time Division Multiplex (TDM) bytes, Asynchronous
Transfer Mode (ATM) cells and Internet Protocol (IP) packets.

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