Erlang Debuts Switch Fabric Chipset for Routing and Switching Equipment

4/27/2004 - Erlang Technology, Inc. announced the availability of its new flagship switch fabric chipset boasting the fastest scalability, shorter time-to-market and other benefits that make it ideal for a myriad of routing and switching applications in the communications, wireless and storage markets. The Erlang Network Element Technology (ENET) Xe chipset is the company’s second generation ASIC-based switch fabric chipset. A non-blocking switch fabric, the ENET Xe enables the fastest scalability to one terabit per second, supports variable-length packets and much more, making it ideal for interfacing to multi-vendor traffic managers, network processors (NPU) and in-house ASIC implementations.

The ENET Xe’s non-blocking and variable-length packet processing features overcome scalability bottlenecks that exist in conventional output buffered switch fabrics while requiring no off-chip memory. The Xe can process variable-length packets from one byte to 16 KB. The Xe also incorporates industry-standardized interfaces such as CSIX-L1, L3, NPSI, POS-PHY, SPI-3 and SPI-4 to seamlessly interface to merchant NPUs from vendors such as Agere Systems, AMCC, Intel and Motorola. In the end, the Xe provides a flexible, reliable and cost-effective switch fabric solution for high capacity switch and router systems requiring fast and seamless scalability up to one Tb/s.

The Xe chipset is protocol independent, supporting all types of traffic, from IP and ATM to TDM and Ethernet traffic, and provides sophisticated support for QoS through Erlang’s proprietary Train-QueuingTM technique. Other service features include support for Multicasting, Broadcasting, Strict Priority and Weighted Fair Queue scheduling, and High Availability.

A system built with the ENET Xe consists of two devices, the XeITM for interposer and the XeCTM for the switching core. As the two chips interface to each other through a high speed XAUI interface, fewer links are needed to communicate with each other compared to competitive solutions. The XeC can be configured to operate in three modes: Ingress Queue Manager Mode, Core Switch Mode, and Egress Queue Manager Mode. The XeI is a 10 Gb/s full duplex interposer device that supports up to four 2.5 Gb/s NPUs for full-duplex traffic. It can also perform as a single-chip 4 x 2.5 Gb/s switch fabric, while providing excellent QoS support. The XeI is the data and control path glue between an NPU and the XeC.

A 10 Gb/s version of XeI will connect to popular 10 Gb/s NPUs through an SPI-4 interface. The interface between the XeI and XeC occurs via multiple 3.125 Gb/s high speed serial links, which are also used between multiple XeC devices.

“The ENET Xe is the pinnacle of more than 10 years of switch fabric chipset design and several design wins behind Erlang Technology,” said Dr. Paul Min, CEO of Erlang Technology. “The fruits of our labor are evident in the excellent features the Xe brings to market. The Xe boasts excellent forward-thinking features such as handling packet sizes from one to 16 kilobytes for greater use in applications with different NPUs and traffic managers, and also in systems addressing the Resilient Packet Protocol (RPR). We also optimized the queuing by handling internal transfers at 32 byte granularity, as well as many other advanced capabilities. We’re confident the Xe will exceed the cost, performance and integration needs of our customers worldwide.”

Erlang Switch Fabric Market Needs and Applications
A host of network equipment manufacturers (NEM) that provide products such as access and edge routers, enterprise backbone switches, core routers and multi-service platforms will find Erlang’s Xe chipset an ideal fit for manufacturing cost effective, highly scalable and reliable equipment. Manufacturers of wireless routing and switching equipment will also find Erlang chipsets ideal for gear such as 3G wireless gateways and base stations. And storage area network (SAN) equipment vendors will benefit from Erlang’s product in devices requiring 320 Gb/s throughput and upwards for their backplane.

WinterGreen Research, a market research firm, estimates that by 2009 switch fabrics will grow to be more than five times the market it was in 2003. The Linley Group, another market research firm, predicts “a major platform upgrade cycle” to begin to take hold in 2004 leading to increased market size for switch fabric chip vendors. Market research firm chimed in on the prospects of a healthy market for switch fabrics stating in an August 2003 market research report, “We are entering a period when several forces should combine for this market to experience healthy growth for the next five years.”

Erlang Technology, now an established player with several design wins and second generation products shipping, is well positioned to take advantage of this market growth with high-performance switch fabric and hardware-based content search engines that provide two to four times the capacity, the highest scalability available, and superior QoS performance. In order to speed up time-to-market for NEMs, Erlang provides pre-engineered, complete system solutions consisting of switch fabric chipsets that seamlessly integrate with leading NPUs, communication processors, CPUs, and DSPs. In addition to the traditional network telecommunications market, Erlang has a presence in several market segments of the wireless and storage network markets.

“Erlang Technology has tremendous system design knowledge,” commented Suneel Rajpal, VP of Marketing and Sales, Erlang Technology. “The Xe chipset is available with proven reference designs using the Intel® IXP2400 and, IXP2800 network processors, as well as Motorola’s C-5eTM network processors and Agere Systems' APP5X0 and PayloadPlus® NPUs.”

Product Availability
Boasting the only switch fabric offering glue-less interfacing to leading NPUs from vendors such as Agere Systems, Intel and Motorola, and packet-aware capabilities for the elimination of packet segmentation and re-assembly, the ENET Xe chipset is available for sampling now. It has been deployed in one of Korea’s tier one carrier networks by LG Electronics, a network equipment manufacturer (NEM).

At 156 MHz, the ENET Xe also boasts the lowest clock rate of any switch fabric, which minimizes power dissipation and eases system integration. The Erlang ENET Xe is fabricated using a 0.15um process technology from NEC Electronics. Pricing and delivery are dependent on configuration.

About Erlang Technology
Erlang Technology is a privately owned fabless semiconductor company that develops and markets advanced ASIC-based switch fabric chipsets for a myriad of communications, wireless and storage routing and switching equipment at the edge, in the core, in the metro, enterprise and in wireless and storage network environments. The company’s flagship second-generation Xe switch fabric provides scalable, rapid traffic processing capabilities in a family of chips completely interoperable with leading NPUs for high capacity router and switch systems up to one Tb/s. The company’s first-generation Se product family completes the picture by delivering a switch fabric family of chips ideal for multiple environments up to 40 Gb/s. Erlang has compiled several design wins worldwide. Founded in 1999 by the renowned Research Group in Telecommunications (RGIT), at Washington University, Erlang maintains its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri and has offices in Redwood Shores, California, Shenzhen, China, Seoul, Korea, and Tokyo, Japan. The company has secured funding from leading companies and venture capitalists including, Authosis, Dragonventure, Ignite Group, JAFCO Asia, LG Electronics, NEC Electronics, and Pacesetter Capital Group. More information about Erlang Technology can be found online at

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