NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Mindspeed Technologies Inc. here today announced a device that will enable a new breed of optical networking equipment, based on the emerging resilient packet ring (RPR) standard.
The device, called the M29955 RingMaker, is a so-called ring processor unit that enables optical
networking equipment to transmit Internet Protocol (IP) data at speeds up to 10-gigabits-per-second
(OC-192). In total, the RingMaker device supports 20-gigabits-per-second of bandwidth on the network.
Mindspeed's device also supports the new and emerging RPR standard. Known as the IEEE-802.17 standard, RPR technology basically enables IP traffic over standard SONET/SDH equipment in metropolitan area networks (MANs).
Some industry experts believe RPR technology will be four times faster than current transmission methodologies on the network. For years, SONET/SDH-enabled optical networks uses a technique called time-division multiplexing (TDM) to transmit data, but this methodology is considered inefficient, according to analysts.
While RPR apparently paves the way for faster networks, there is also a major problem with the technology. Right now, there are several different--and incompatible--RPR technologies in the market. But, while Cisco, Nortel, and others have developed their own, respective RPR technologies, they are also hoping to develop a single standard, under the 802.17 umbrella (see Sept. 17 story ).
"We believe that RPR technology will upgrade the current SONET network," said Lauren Schlicht, product manager for Mindspeed. The Newport-based company is a spin-off of communications-chip maker Conexant Systems Inc. in Newport Beach.
But RPR is also still in its infancy, Schlicht said. "We think the RPR standard will take two more years to develop in the market," she said in an interview with SBN.
So far, San Diego-based Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) and Mindspeed are among the few chip companies that have announced merchant ring processing units in the market.
Mindspeed claims to be ahead of its rival in AMCC. Recently, Mindspeed began shipping a ring processing unit for 2.5-gigabit-per-second (OC-48) applications. With RingMaker, the company now has a product for faster OC-192 networks.
This device is designed for cable head-end equipment, digital loop carriers, servers, switches, routers, and other products. In most applications, two RingMaker devices would operate in parallel on the network, enabling up to 20-gigabits-per-second of total bandwidth.
The new device is said to support several RPR standards in the market, including Cisco Systems
Inc.'s Spatial Reuse Protocol (SRP) technology. The chip also can forward, strip or drop IP packets in a network via a content addressable memory (CAM) in a system. It has 1-megabyte of on-chip transit buffer memory and other features.
Right now, Mindspeed is sampling the part to Cisco. It will be sampling the part to other system manufacturers in November, with production slated for the first quarter of 2002.
Housed in a 680-ball BGA package, the chip is $1,000 in quantities of 1,000.