IBM Solidifies Position as Number One Switch Fabric Vendor with New Chips

9/10/2002 - IBM announced a new chip set for networking gear, supporting the company's position as the number one world-wide switch fabric vendor.

The IBM PowerPRS 64Gu packet routing switch represents a significant advancement in both performance and compact, low-power design an increasingly important factor, as space and power requirements become major issues for equipment manufacturers and network service providers.

IBM has combined advanced design features, leading copper chip manufacturing technology and high-performance packaging to develop the new switch fabric products.

"IBM is significantly adding to the granularity and growth options of its switch fabric products, while providing a consistent architecture to preserve customers' investments," said Armando Garcia, vice president of Network Processing, IBM Microelectronics Division. "We are committed to helping our networking customers streamline development, maximize returns and introduce new services and capabilities for their users."

According to market research organization InStat/MDR, the switch fabric market will experience a compound annual growth rate for shipments of 141 percent from 2001 through to 2006. The report concludes that although early opportunities are in router and switch markets, by 2006, significant opportunities will be available in at least 13 different target markets, leading to the phenomenal growth.

"IBM has a proven track record of delivering innovative networking solutions," said Barry Kantner, vice president of marketing for World Wide Packets, Veradale, WA, a company which provides broadband access solutions for delivery of voice, video, and data services. "IBM's new fabric solution is a key element in our highly scalable Ethernet Services Platform architecture.

IBM's new packet routing switch, the PowerPRS 64Gu, complemented by the new IBM PowerPRS C48 switch fabric interface device or already available PowerPRS C192 switch fabric interface device, fits a wide range of applications, including enterprise, WAN edge, Web content routers, SANs, multiservice backbone switches and mobile base stations.

It allows customers to deliver bandwidth demanding applications in a very compact switch fabric board form factor, and to evolve to a higher aggregate throughput and number of ports without replacing entire systems (reuse of line cards). The IBM PowerPRS products provide a highly efficient multicast scheme where the packet is stored once in shared memory and replicated on the destination ports. The new IBM PowerPRS 64Gu enables the development of scalable single stage switch fabrics with up to 32 port attachments for protocol engines that support OC48c and multiple gigabit Ethernet applications, or up to 8 ports for 10Gbps Ethernet and OC192c applications, or any intermediate mix of those. It integrates 2.5 Gbps serial link SerDes (serializer / deserializer) — a five-fold improvement versus previous generations of switch fabrics.

To increase availability and meet demands of service providers and new applications, switch fabrics are often designed with two redundant planes. If an element in one plane fails, the other plane can take over; the PowerPRS 64Gu supports this crucial capability. Each switch element has a built-in filtering mechanism for redundancy control. Like other members of the IBM PowerPRS family, the PowerPRS 64Gu, combined with the PowerPRS C48 and/or C192, offers a packet lossless maintenance switchover function for applications requiring 24x7 availability.

Enablement Tools
To help reduce development time and cost, IBM offers an evaluation platform, a switch core reference design, and a reference software to operate the switch subsystem control layer. The reference design and associated evaluation board, a 128-Gbps, 16-layer, 286mm x 151mm compact switch board, is well suited for a redundant 32-port OC-48c multiservice switch or a layer-2- and- above design that supports up to 128 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Samples of the new IBM PowerPRS 64Gu will be available in October 2002. The previously announced PowerPRS Q-64G chip set, which enables switch fabrics with up to 512Gbps of throughput, is available for production.

Demonstration at Communication Design Conference and Network Processor Conference
Customer demonstrations of the complete working reference system will be offered at the Communication Design Conference (CDC) exhibit in San Jose on September 24, 25 and 26 (booth 418), and Network Processor Conference (NPC) exhibit in San Jose on October 23 and 24 (booth 212).

About IBM (
IBM Microelectronics is a key contributor to IBM's role as the world's premier information technology supplier. IBM Microelectronics develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art semiconductor and interconnect technologies, products and services.

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