SAN JOSE -- Power X Ltd., the British supplier of switch fabric chips formed out of the acquisition by Fujitsu of computer maker ICL Ltd., today announced it has formed a U.S. subsidiary, Power X Networks Inc., with headquarters in San Jose.
The company, privately owned, has plans to go public later in about a year, with the possible result that the U.S. company will become the flagship and incorporate the British parent, according to Robert Frostholm, president and CEO of Power X Networks. Frostholm 20-year veteran of the chip industry, was formerly vice president of sales and marketing at Seeq technology, and also worked at Philips Semiconductors, Siliconix, and National Semiconductor.
Power X Networks also announced its first product today, the TeraChannel chip set for high-performance switching, routing and optical transport. The chip sets have been delivered to alpha customers and will be generally available in the second quarter, Frostholm said.
TeraChannel is built on patented technology that hides the complexity of a switch fabric within a simple-to-use interconnect subsyste, Frostholm said. Optimized for OC-48 (2.5 gigabits per second) data rates, the TeraChannel chip set will allow a 32-port system to pass data at 80 Gbits/sec. using only five fabric switch chips. This results in a level of functional integration 5 to 10 times that of other approaches, Frostholm said.
"Other companies have attempted to create high-performance switch fabrics for this space," said Frostholm. "But our TeraChannel technology, protocol independence, and CSIX-compliant interface gives us an advantage -- Power X is the only switch fabric supplier that gives customers complete freedom to choose the best combination of components, add proprietary value, and get to market ontime."
Power X calls the TeraChannel a router, "but it's really a signal processor," said Frostholm. "It's protocol-agnostic so it can work with any network processor."
The first-generation TeraChannel targets the higher volume, high-value carrier edge market where Power X Networks positions it as a compact, cost-effective solution within Sonet and IP-based networks. According to Frostholm, 95% of the TeraChannel's market is in North America, and the company thinks it can grab 5% to 7% of the $7 billion communications IC market.
"Power X is deeply committed to the success of the North American communications market," said Phil Mercer, CEO of Power X Ltd. in Manchester, England. "Two years ago, we pioneered the CSIX Consortium in Silicon Valley to establish an open switch interface, and CSIX has since been adopted as a standard by the leading IC network processor vendors." CSIX currently has 35 members.