SAN JOSE, Calif. Five technology companies are rolling out a new alliance that aims to accelerate the deployment of high-speed backplane technologies for communications systems. The Road to 100G Alliance will demonstrate at the NXTcomm conference in Chicago Tuesday (June 19) a proprietary 40 Gbit/second line card based on silicon and software from its members.
The design includes components from each of the five founding members--Bay Microsystems, Inc.; Enigma Semiconductor; Integrated Device Technology, Inc.; IP Infusion, and Lattice Semiconductor. The group hopes to deliver a variety of follow on reference designs for Ethernet and proprietary networks, eventually hitting data rates up to 100 Gbits/second.
Today major networking systems makers are beginning to announce high-end routers and switches they say will be upgradeable to internal speeds of 100 Gbits/s. Top tier OEMs such as Cisco and Juniper typically design their own ASICs for such backplanes, but second tier players relay on merchant chips.
To date no one has put together a reference card design with all the components needed for such backplanes, said Bill Weisinger, chairman of the alliance, and a vice president of marketing at Bay Microsystems.
"Everyone wants a quicker turn around through a systems solution not just piece parts," said Weisinger. "We are already seeing announcements from Juniper and others talking about their 100G-ready systems," he added.
The group's 40 Gbit/s demo card includes a Lattice PLD as an interface to framer chips and optics, a Bay Microsystems network processor, IDT search acceleration chips for packet classification and lookup, an Enigma proprietary 40G switch, and control plane software from IP Infusion. All the components are existing products of the companies integrated on one card for the first time.
Weisinger said the group is in discussions with several service providers and OEMs about becoming members of the alliance. The group is also actively seeking other component members, especially makers of optical modules.
Once the group rounds out its membership, it plans to begin defining a road map for other reference designs it will create. "We have no final decision about a next milestone, but we would like to broaden our membership to get more ideas for what's next," said Weisinger.
The group will remain agnostic about what sorts of signaling technologies it supports. It is monitoring efforts in the IEEE to define a version of Ethernet with data rates beyond 10 Gbits/s. Separately it is tracking efforts at the ITU and Optical Internetworking Forum to define next generation optical and copper interfaces.