• United States

Netgear advances Gigabit products with Broadcom chips

Mar 02, 20062 mins
Network SwitchesNetworking

* Netgear chooses Broadcom silicon for Gigabit Ethernet switches

Netgear has chosen Broadcom’s Gigabit Ethernet switch silicon for a new line of switches that would be aimed at home and small-office networks.

Yes, the time has come for Gigabit Ethernet in your home, if you don’t have it already.

The chips that Netgear chose are from Broadcom’s ROBOSwitch line. These are highly integrated chips, supporting up to eight Gigabit Ethernet ports on a chip.

Broadcom and Netgear say the equipment that is expected to come out of this deal would be targeted at “home, small office/home office (SOHO) and small-to-midsized business (SMB) networks.”

It’s the always-progressing integration of silicon that has pushed Gigabit Ethernet prices down, to the point where now we see those companies marketing the technology to the lowest end of the network market. As the companies point out, we now have laptops, desktops and network interface cards routinely coming in at Gigabit rates. And they need something to hook into.

For the last couple years, the argument that Gigabit Ethernet is overkill has become moot as the cost of the technology has dropped. Plus, applications like video streaming, home entertainment and online gaming start to make the case for having the bandwidth available.

Netgear says it likes Broadcom’s switch technology for its low cost and low power consumption, as well as features for both unmanaged and managed designs.

The ROBOSwitch chips have five or eight ports, with Broadcom’s Gigabit PHY on all ports. The integration means the end product is smaller and less expensive, and consumes less power.