ATLANTA -- At the Networld + Interop trade show here today, Internet Machines Corp. announced the highest capacity single-chip switch for multi-gigabit-per-second networking systems, and the fabless startup detailed its lineup of protocol independent network processors, which will be fabricated in 0.13-micron CMOS technology by Texas Instruments Inc.
The SE200 is a single-chip solution capable of delivering 200 Gbit-per-second capacity, with the ability to be scaled up to terabit speeds in large fabric switches, said Internet Machines, which is based in Southern California.
The IC and other upcoming network processors are being targeted at OC-192 and OC-768 optical Internet infrastructure systems, such as routers and optical switches for long-haul transport networks and metropolitan wide-area networks (WANs). The ICs are being fabricated by Dallas-based TI with copper 0.13-micron processes under a foundry arrangement disclosed earlier this year (see April 2 story).
Eighteen-month-old Internet Machines, based in Agoura Hills, Calif., is aiming to provide complete system solutions for protocol-independent designs that are relatively simple to program with off-the-shelf compilers. "Users see a simple RISC programming model. Our processors look and feel to the users as a single threaded, single context RISC processor," explained Chris Hoogenboom, president and CEO of Internet Machines.
In addition to the SE200 switch fabric IC, the company disclosed the first details of its iMpower network processor and traffic manager co-processor. The NPE10 is being promoted as the first massively parallel network processor, capable of handling more than 50 million packets per second. Internet Machines said its TMC10 is the industry's first single-chip traffic management co-processor supporting full-duplex OC192c and /10-Gbit/sec. data rates. It contains an embedded 3.125 Gbit/sec. serializer-deserialiser (serdes) and uses a patent-pending Parallel Channel Architecture with load balancing capabilities.
"If you compare the chip count of what it takes to build an OC-192 line card in a terabit switch fabric, we are somewhere between one-quarter to one-fifth the number of chips required by solutions on the market today," Hoogenboom told SBN in interview prior to the start of NetWorld + Interop. He added that the company believes its initial solution will offer four times the performance of existing ICs.
The trick to reaching that levels of performance and integration is the 0.13-micron copper processor and high-I/O count in ball-grid arrays (BGAs), said the co-founder of Internet Machines, which now employs about 120 workers. The year-and-a-half startup has raised more than $80 million in funding, with the latest round closing in July for $41 million.
"We have targeted 0.13-micron process technology, while others are still working on 0.15-micron," Hoogenboom said. "As a result we have denser and faster silicon to build devices."
The SE200 is now slated to be available for sampling by the end of this year. It will sell for $2,975.00 each in volume quantities. The massively-parallel RISC-based network processor and traffic management co-processor will be available for sampling early in 2002. Volume production of these devices will start in the second quarter of 2002.
--J. Robert Lineback