Broadcom wants a larger slice of the router and switch business
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March 18, 2015
Broadcom said today it wants a larger piece of the action in the router and switch business with
the next iteration of its top-of-the-line silicon dubbed the StrataDNX line.
While admitting that this isn't going to push Cisco or Juniper Networks out of the network
core where the biggest traffic flows exist, Broadcom still said the ability to support beyond-Terabit
throughput, huge buffers and highly configurable packet processing, will give StrataDNX a home in data
centres, large enterprise and service provider networks.
Ram Velaga, general manager of the company's network switch business cited top-of-rack and
DC core, enterprise aggregation, carrier Ethernet, edge router and optical transport as target
markets for the new device.
These markets, Velaga said, are currently dominated by routers based on custom ASICs. The StrataDNX
comprises two packet processors, Jericho and QumranMX, and the BCM-88770 fabric device.
The 3.6 Tbps-per-device BCM-88770 drives the pitch into the medium-to-large chassis market
Velaga said this means users are “now able to deliver modular chassis delivering multi-terabits
per slot, and single systems delivering over 100 Tbps”.
The matching packet processors will let OEMs deploy very similar capabilities across different systems
without having to design across different silicon, he added.
The idea is that the requirements of say a video editing suite – a top-of-rack switch with
big buffers – will be different from those of a router, and both of those will be different from
an optical interconnect switch.
But if the products can be built on the same silicon wafer, there are both revenue and cost
To be sure, development costs should be lower since the engineers need to know the details
of fewer chipsets, and that gives the OEM the chance to expand its product portfolio into new
Broadcom also emphasises the chipset's packet optical capabilities, which means it can be
built into both carrier Ethernet and Optical Transport Network kit – again, with the aim of
letting OEMs amortise their R&D across multiple markets.
Velaga said with top-tier vendors already sampling the chips, customers should expect to see
products shipping within a year or so.
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