HANNOVER, Germany -- At CeBIT 2000 here today, 8x8 Inc. announced that it will license its Audacity-T2 IP telephone processor as a core to other chip makers.
The Audacity-T2 integrates all of the digital circuitry of an IP (Internet Protocol) phone or voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephone gateway into a single functional block. By licensing the T2 core, 8x8 expects to enable a "third generation" of VoIP chips that, besides integratingaudio compression and communication protocol processing on a single chip, will also include mixed signal elements such as Ethernet PHYs (physical layer interfaces), audio ADs/DAs and amplifiers, xDSL, wireless, 3G mobile, ATM and cable modem interfaces.
"Our customers are telling us the Audacity-T2 Processor is six to nine months ahead of the competition -- the most integrated VoIP processor to date," said Keith Barraclough, president and chief operating officer of 8x8. "By making the T2 core available to other chip makers, we expect to enable the rapid development of highly integrated cable, xDSL and wireless solutions that incorporate our VoIP technology."
Unlike most VoIP architectures, which integrate a RISC and digital signal processor onto a single chip, the Audacity-T2 Core has a single 8x8 MIPS-X5 CPU that processes both complex communications protocols and high-speed audio signal processing algorithms. Using a single processor reduces silicon area and allows a single memory space to be used for both protocols and
In addition to the MIPS-X5 CPU, the Audacity-T2 core integrates 256 kilobytes of 8-way interleaved memory, two Ethernet MACs and two multi-channel TDM ports. A 32-channel DMA engine and a 6.4-gigabytes-per-second memory controller automatically transfer data on- and off-chip, ensuring that MIPS-X5 cycles are spent on protocol and audio tasks and not on data movement. When used with 8x8's Veracity VoIP software, the T2 Core can implement a
two-channel IP phone or telephone gateway without external RAM, which 8x8 claimed to be unique in the industry.
Veracity software is also avaliable for license to companies developing standards-based IP
telephony products. STMicroelectronics NV has licensed Veracity and other 8x8 technology as part of its equity investment in the Santa Clara, Calif., company (see Feb. 23 story).
"8x8 offers the full range of VoIP protocol stacks today, including H.323v2, MGCP and SIP," said Barraclough, "and with our vocoder software and embedded OS technology, 8x8 is a one-stop shop for embedded VoIP applications. IP communication product requirements are evolving so fast that most equipment vendors find it hard to keep up. By licensing 8x8's software, they can quickly deploy equipment that can run multiple protocols and vocoders."
The Audacity-T2 Core is a fully synthesized design described in Verilog HDL. 8x8's implementation comprises 15 million transistors in a 0.18-micron CMOS process fabricated by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. in Hsinchu, Taiwan. 8x8 licenses the T2 core as a
"soft macro," which can be re-laid out with additional customer-supplied circuitry. The T2 design can be clocked at speeds up to 200MHz, allowing it to run two channels of ITU-standard audio with full-duplex echo-canceling and VoIP protocol software.
The Audacity-T2 Core license is available today. Pricing depends on the customer requirements and will include a license fee and per-unit royalty.