100-gigabit network processor in the works

* EZchip's upcoming 100Gbps network processor

Semiconductor company EZchip Technologies revealed that it is working on a 100Gbps network processor that's scheduled for sampling next year.

The NP-4 is being designed to reduce costs by integrating many key components of line cards into a single chip. Switch system makers would have enough headroom to build line cards at 20Gbps, 40Gbps or 100Gbps in carrier Ethernet switches and routers (CESR), EZchip says.

The chip is just the latest example of how multiple components continue to get smaller and integrated into fewer pieces. The trend generally leads to simplicity, reliability and cost savings.

The chip has 100Gbps of throughput, with a 100Gbps port, eight ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and 24 ports of Gigabit Ethernet.

Traffic management would be integrated, allowing managers to granularly control bandwidth. Service providers could use this feature to deliver "triple-play" services in Ethernet networks, according to EZchip. Individual traffic flows can be assigned specific levels of quality of service. SLAs can be enforced for applications, services and users.

The company lists these other features of the chip:

* Integrated 100Gbps, 10Gbps and 1Gbps Ethernet serial ports.

* Integrated fabric interface chip for direct connection to Ethernet switches that are used as switch fabrics while providing system-wide quality of service.

* Operations, administration and management processing offload.

EZchip quotes Infonetics Research as saying the market for CESR equipment, which the NP-4 would fit into, will grow from $5 billion last year to $9 billion in 2010.

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