ACTON, Mass. ( ChipWire) -- Tenor Networks Inc. here this week will sign a volume ASIC and PowerPC production deal with IBM Microelectronics and a manufacturing outsourcing pact with Jabil Inc., showing apath to full production of its TN250G switch. The 250-gigabit switch handles asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), Internet Protocol and time-division traffic.
Also this week, Tenor will launch a software environment called Tempo that combines element management with service provisioning. Service-provisioning software is showing up in edge aggregation systems, such as the Redback Networks Inc.'s subscriber-management platform and Nortel Networks Inc.' Shasta edge router. But Tenor legitimately can claim that Tempo is the first provisioning tool for mapping disparate traffic types to optical backbones.
Sean Welch, vice president of marketing at Tenor, said that gaining IBM as a partner ensures that the complex ASICs required for multiservice switching will be reliable as they move to high volume. IBM's ability to integrate semiconductors and optoelectronics in a single substrate could prove important over time, Welch added, though he stressed that the first generation of products will switch solely in the electronic domain.
The switching and interface chips for the TN250G, making up what Tenor calls the Quartet chip set, will be manufactured in the 0.18-micron CMOS process with copper interconnect that IBM calls SA-27. IBM also will supply PowerPCs for use as control processors for the TN250G.
Tenor's target market is large regional and national carriers that will offer wholesale bandwidth and services to smaller carriers. Hence, the Tempo software can be simpler in some respects than that required for edge-routing systems, where individual subscriber lines must be provisioned. Tenor uses FedEx's routing form as a template for the type of information that must be in a carrier provisioning system, such as the guaranteed bandwidth and the service-level agreement constraints.
The software will use open standards at every layer: Extensible Markup Language for scripting, Common Object Request Broker Architecture (Corba) for accessing an object-oriented database, Remote Method Invocation for using remote procedure call methodology and Java Foundation Classes as an infrastructural framework.
Tenor is using open standards primarily to ensure interoperability within a multi-vendor environment, Welch said.