Industry first from Agere

Agere Systems today announced the availability of the world’s first single-chip 48-port Gigabit Ethernet switching chip and the industry’s lowest power GbE octal physical layer device.

Agere Systems today announced the availability of the world’s first single-chip 48-port Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switching chip and the industry’s lowest power GbE octal physical layer device (PHY) to offer equipment manufacturers the lowest cost and power per port in the industry.

Agere says in a statement that its new products are targeted at the growing market for GbE chips, expected to exceed $1 billion in 2005, according to industry analyst firm IDC.

Agere’s TruePHY ET1081 octal PHY has a power consumption of less than 500 milliwatts per port. The combination of Agere’s patent-pending TruePHY technology, coupled with the significant levels of integration on the single-chip 48-port switch, provides manufacturers a 50 percent lower total chip count and 35 percent lower power consumption.

Agere’s solution uses seven chips – one switch system on a chip (SoC) and six octal PHYs – to build a complete 48-port GbE switch with two 10 gigabits per second (Gb/s) Ethernet ports. Competing solutions are said to require up to 17 chips for the same solution. In a board level environment, Agere’s solution reduces the printed circuit board space by about 30 percent and cuts the system failure rate in half.

The four new GbE switch-on-a-chip devices are part of Agere’s ET4K family of switching silicon. The ET4000 is a single chip switch device supporting 24 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet ports and four Gigabit SerDes ports. The ET4100 is a single chip switch device supporting 24 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet ports, with four Gigabit SerDes ports and two 10Gbps Ethernet ports. The ET4001 is a single chip switch device supporting 48 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet ports and four Gigabit SerDes ports. The ET4101 is a single chip switch device supporting 48 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet ports, four Gigabit SerDes ports and two 10 Gb/s Ethernet ports.

Agere says the ET4K family of switching devices is built upon new architecture and application software algorithms that achieve the industry’s highest integration level while maintaining wire speed performance. The ET4K architecture supports L2/L3/L4 packet processing at wire speed, enabling throughput of more than 104 million packets per second. ET4K also offers an access control list (ACL) function, a feature essential to providing network security, including the defense of denial of service attacks. In addition to supporting IPv4, the ET4K family represents one of the industry’s first silicon solutions to support native IPv6 capability.

TruePHY technology enables the lowest total power per port at the 0.13 micron technology node. The TruePHY ET1081 octal device is said to be suited not only for bringing the ultimate peak density of 48 ports in a 1U “pizza box” form factor, but it is also highly desirable in fast growing 2U 96-port bladed applications. These include applications utilising the global Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA) standard.

Agere says that inherent in the TruePHY architecture is the industry’s most highly advanced cable diagnostics, with the precision and accuracy to pinpoint a break in 100 metres or more of standard CAT5 cabling.

All five devices announced today are actively sampling and will be available in production quantities in the first quarter of 2005.

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