The emerging next-generation network (NGN) infrastructure promises a new world of converged multi-media services. To that end, network equipment providers are focusing on developing NGN voice-over-packet (VoP) gateways and converged-service CO switches. Meanwhile, network service providers are anxiously looking for ways to ramp up subscribership and add revenue-generating services while, at the same time, reducing costs. The underlying silicon technology that is used to build NGN gateways and switches determines the cost, capacity, scalability, and overall performance of these systems. This paper discusses the evolution of silicon technology and the use of ASICs and FPGAs (applications-specific integrated circuits and field-programmable gate arrays) to minimize cost and maximize system performance.

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