SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Marvell Semiconductor Inc. here has entered the switch-chip business, rolling out an integrated solution for low-cost systems in Ethernet- and Fast Ethernet-based networks.
The new product from high-flying Marvell will compete in the switch-chip market against the likes of Broadcom, Galileo, Intel, Lucent, and a slew of Taiwanese vendors that have recently entered the fray.
Built around Marvell's digital signal processor (DSP) technology, the new 88E6050 is a five-port product that integrates several components on the same device. The functions include five 10BaseT/100BaseTX transceivers, five independent Fast Ethernet media access controllers (MACs), a non-blocking switch fabric, an address look-up engine, and 1-megabit of embedded frame buffer memory.
The 88E6050 also features what the company claims is true "plug and play" networking installation. Based on the company's Automatic-MDI/MDIX crossover technology, this "plug-and-play" feature enables systems to automatically detect wired cables, making installation easier and less expensive for the end-users.
"A critical factor in the high-volume, cost-sensitive SOHO market is to ensure ease of installation," said Weili Dai, executive vice president and general manager of the Data Communications Group at Marvell. "Marvell's integrated, DSP-based Ethernet switch, targeted at end-users that may not have access to an IT support infrastructure, is a true 'plug and play' solution," he said.
Marvell's product is compliant with the applicable sections of IEEE 802.3, 802.3u, and 802.3x standards. The device can be configured as a standalone, five-port 10/100BaseTX switch. The fifth port can be used as a 100BaseFX fiber uplink.
The shared memory-based switch-fabric utilizes Marvell's switch architecture. The look-up engine allows for up to 4,096 active nodes to be connected with the switch.
The chip is now available in a 128-pin PQFP package, but the company did not disclose pricing.