At its developers' forum in San Francisco, Intel launched a series of network processors developed using its XScale technology. The processors will be built at the company's Fab 14 at Leixlip in the Irish Republic using 0.13µm equipment that is being moved in.
Designed to operate at line speeds up to 10Gbit/s, XScale technology is based on the concept of 'hypertask chaining' developed by Intel. The processors simultaneously perform a number of operations by distributing tasks across a number of processor engines.
The IXP2800 operates at 10Gbit/s and is designed for network core applications. The IXP2400 performs at 2.5Gbit/s and can be used for multi-service switches and other network edge applications.
The updated architecture brings more memory on-chip to cache packets and reduce the amount of off-chip memory traffic.
Intel also launched the IXP425, based on the same technology, a network processor for equipment bringing xDSL, cable and wireless connectivity to homes and offices.
Frank Casey, European marketing manager of Intel's access and switching group, said: "The processors have both data and control paths. The key mantra is that, to maintain line speed, you need to process on the data path.
"These processors have 8 to 16 microprocessors on the data path. Having the control and data paths on a single chip means the board can be cost-efficient and you can reduce real estate use."
The XScale architecture is Arm-based and compatible with Intel's previous generation of processors. All the devices are to be produced with 0.13µm lithography.
"The network processor market is very competitive," said Casey. "But all our competitors have multi-chip solutions and we see the IXP425 particularly as the market leader. It is very difficult for a company without its own fabs to push to single-chip 0.13µm technology."
The IXP425 was developed by design engineers in Shannon, Republic of Ireland, and will be produced at Leixlip.
"It is a first for Ireland to have a product developed and produced in the country," said Casey.