HSINCHU, Taiwan -- Broadcom Corp. is utilizing the wafer fabs of United Microelectronics Corp. for the development of what Broadcom calls the world's first 8-port switch chip for use in Gigabit Ethernet networks.
UMC, the No.2 chip foundry worldwide, is making the Gigabit-Ethernet-based switch-on-a-chip -- code-named BCM5680 G-Switch -- on its 0.25-micron process. The cycle time is 23 days with high yields, according to Hsinchu-based UMC.
"This is indicative of an industry trend where more of our customer base is increasingly represented by developers and providers of communication, data handling, and networking technology," said Jim Ballingall, UMC's vice president of worldwide marketing. "Approximately 40% of UMC's sales are derived from customers supplying the communications markets."
Irvine, Calif.-based Broadcom said last month that the BCM5680 enables OEMs to build an 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch at a price of less than $200 per port. The solution delivers non-blocking, wire-speed performance on every port, simultaneously forwarding, routing, and filtering voice, video and data packets at one billion bits per second.
This is not the first time that UMC has manufactured products for Broadcom. UMC said it has entered volume production for Broadcom's multi-layer, multi-capability networking IC -- the StrataSwitch BCM5600 -- a wire-speed, multi-layer switch that combines switching, routing, and traffic classification functionality into a single monolithic IC.
According to Broadcom, the BCM5680 represents the industry's first 8-port 10/100/1000-BASE-T switch with on-chip packet buffering and multi-layer switching functions. On-chip packet buffering eliminates any requirement for external memory devices in the system design, which reduces the number of chips on the board.
UMC operates fabs in Taiwan and Japan and has two 12-in.-wafer fabs under construction. More than half of the company's forecast capacity of 2.4 million wafers this year will be dominated by advanced 0.18- and 0.25-micron technology.