IDT First to Develop Multi-Port SPI-3 to SPI-4 Packet-Exchange Device

5/25/2004 - IDTTM (Integrated Device Technology, Inc.; Nasdaq: IDTI), a leading communications IC company, announced that it has expanded its portfolio of flow-control management (FCM) products to include a family of packet-exchange devices. The new packet-exchange family includes the IDT 88P8344, the industry’s first system packet interface (SPI) exchange product that integrates switching, aggregation and rate adaptation of four lower rate SPI-3 interfaces to the higher rate SPI-4 interface in VPN firewall cards, Ethernet transport and multi-service switches. Additionally, the logical port-mapping feature of the device creates reliable, channelized data paths between network hardware elements such as network processor units (NPUs), traffic managers, multi-gigabit framers and physical interfaces (PHYs), and switch fabric interface devices. The SPI-3 to SPI-4 exchange product is fully compliant with industry standard interface specifications and includes enhancements such as programmable SPI-3 pause insertion and additional features that ease system design.

“IDT is once again leveraging its knowledge of communications systems to develop specialized devices that accelerate packet processing by enabling the interworking of devices with SPI-3 and SPI-4 interfaces,” said Thomas Brenner, vice president and general manager of the IDT flow-control management division. “Much like the company’s existing FCM devices, the IDT packet-exchange products will allow our customers to benefit from the integration of critical functions that will enable them to effectively solve data-flow-control issues in their equipment designs as they move to industry-standard protocols.”

The IDT 88P8344 SPI-3 to SPI-4 exchange device utilizes an innovative backpressure scheme that tolerates a large range of logical port data rates. In general, a lower logical port data rate results in the creation of more, shorter bursts in the transfers. In addition, SPI-3 ingress, SPI-3 egress and SPI-4 interfaces use different, incompatible backpressure schemes. In the new IDT device, these different backpressure schemes are accommodated using large but efficient buffers created from segmented memory, resulting in faster response times and lower internal latency while affording absorption of large external delays caused by data and flow control pipelines in adjacent devices such as packet-forwarding engines and PHY devices. The buffering capabilities are used to absorb network delays and prevent loss of information that might occur as a result of flow control response times. This backpressure scheme also helps to prevent congestion and starvation at points in the data path, resulting in a consistently managed flow of data.

“With this new single-chip packet-exchange device, IDT has solved the problem of providing backpressure simultaneously to separate data paths having diverse traffic characteristics,” said Jeremy Bicknell, packet exchange product manager for the flow-control management division at IDT. “At the same time, the IDT packet-exchange devices absorb delays commonly found within networking sub-systems without the need for other expensive, performance-limiting multi-chip solutions.”

In addition, the IDT 88P8344 SPI-3 to SPI-4 device offers a patent-pending technology that contains an apparatus and method for transferring data that comprises a high proportion of short bursts. In this method, data is received on a burst-by-burst basis. Once a burst is received, it is stored in a processing queue. Complete bursts continue to be received so long as a processing queue can accommodate a data burst. The complete data burst is then directed to an output and used to transmit a complete data burst to a ready target port. This accommodates and converts burst size and other burst transfer parameters between separate SPI interfaces, as specified in the SPI standards.

“Combining our multi-service network processor with the IDT packet-exchange devices enables the creation of modular systems that extend our traffic processing capabilities to systems with different framers and backplane interfaces,” said Bill Klein, network processor marketing manager at Agere. “We view this as yet another way for our customers to reduce their system development time and to improve their time to market. We look forward to further benefiting our customers’ designs through continued collaboration with IDT on solutions that couple their innovative packet-exchange products and future generations of our NPUs.”

As originally defined by the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF), the SPI interface resides between the PHY device and remaining SONET/SDH system and separates the synchronous PHY layer from the asynchronous packet-based processing performed by the higher layers. Therefore, the SPI supports transmit and receive data transfers at clock rates independent of the actual line bit rate. SPI-3 was the first electrical interface defined by the OIF. It was designed to support packet transmission over SONET/SDH (POS) in the OC-48 or 2.5G and below environment. It defines an interface for efficient packet transfer between a PHY and a link layer device. SPI-4 was originally conceived to perform relatively the same function, but in the OC-192 environment or at 10G to support the aggregate bandwidth requirements of ATM and POS applications. SPI-4 has since become a ubiquitous standard for multi-protocol communications devices operating at 10G bandwidth, including Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet PHYs, switch fabric interface circuits (FICs), NPUs, security processors, storage processors, traffic managers, mappers, framers, MACs and PHYs.

Pricing and Availability
The IDT 88P8344 SPI-3 to SPI-4 packet-exchange device is currently available in sample quantities. Accompanying the IDT 88P8344 SPI-3 to SPI-4 packet-exchange device are the IDT 88P8342 and 88P8341. These devices offer reduced bandwidth and total logical ports available of 128 and 64, respectively. The IDT 88P8342 and 88P8341 will be available in sample quantities in June. Pricing for the IDT packet-exchange devices range from $75.00 to $150.00 each in high-volume OEM quantities. Click here for additional product information. Click here to download a high-resolution image of the SPI-3 to SPI-4 packet-exchange devices.

Flow-Control Management ICs
As a leading provider of innovative products for the communications market, IDT continues to evolve its distinctive competencies in the integration of advanced memory and logic architectures to create a new category of value-added semiconductor devices. The IDT flow-control management devices combine critical functions such as high-speed buffering, switching, multiplexing/de-multiplexing, domain transition and random and sequential access. These devices meet the special requirements of system architects who need to solve data-flow-control issues in their communications equipment designs. The IDT family of off-the-shelf flow-control management devices replace traditional methods of managing the flow of data streams at different rates within a system — previously accomplished with multiple ASICs, FPGAs, and external SRAM, DRAM or FIFOs.

About IDT
IDT is a global leader in preemptive semiconductor solutions that accelerate packet processing for advanced network services. IDT serves communications equipment vendors by applying its advanced hardware, software and memory technologies to create flexible, highly integrated products that enhance the functionality and processing of network equipment. IDT accelerates intelligent packet processing with products such as network search engines (NSEs), programmable content inspection engines (CIEs), flow-control management (FCM) ICs and its family of InterpriseTM integrated communications processors. The portfolio also comprises products optimized for communications applications, including telecom products, FIFOs, multi-ports, and timing solutions. In addition, the product mix includes high-performance digital logic and high-speed SRAMs to meet the requirements of leading communications companies.

Headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., the company employs approximately 3,100 people worldwide and has a wafer manufacturing facility in Oregon, and test and assembly facilities in the Philippines and Malaysia. IDT stock is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market® under the symbol “IDTI.” The company is included in the S&P 1000, which is a combination of the S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600 Indices, and is also part of the S&P SuperComposite 1500, which combines the S&P 500, MidCap 400, and SmallCap 600. Additional information about IDT is accessible at

IDT, Interprise and the IDT logo are trademarks of Integrated Device Technology, Inc.

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