Broadcom Promises 40 Percent Savings With Green Switches

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Ports power off when idle, and reduce power on short cable lengths

A new set of green Ethernet chips from Broadcom could let switch vendors like D-Link wring a 40 percent reduction in system power, the company says.

The set of 65 nanometer eco-sensitive single-chip Gigabit Ethernet products from Taiwan-based semiconductor company Broadcom will provide a reduction in total system power of as much as 40 percent for the company’s OEMs – a list which includes Allied Telesis, Cisco, D-Link and NETGEAR – which choose to use them.

For the eco-conscious consumer, the switches will provide ‘green’ networking by allow features such as automatic shutdown of Gigabit Ethernet ports that are not in use and automatic adjustment of power levels based on cable length. Broadcom also notes its small and midsize business switch products use materials that are free of toxins.

“Broadcom’s green SMB switches deliver business-class networking at price points that are appealing to the cost-sensitive SMB market,” said Hanh Nguyen, Broadcom’s SMB switching director of marketing. “Green technology is also a major requirement in this market, and we are able to offer an environmentally friendly product that not only dramatically reduces power consumption, but also lessens the overall impact on the environment.”

Jun Kohara, Allied Telesis’ vice president of marketing, said small businesses will benefit greatly from green networking due to cost savings enabled by products that operate more efficiently. “Green networking is a growing trend that is impacting all segments of the network,” he said. The company said the switches can also help reduce overall system cost by eliminating the need for a fan and enabling the use of a less costly power supply.

On the technical side, the integrated switch family includes 5-, 8-, 16- and 24-port configurations, with full Layer 2 switching and is now shipping to OEM customers including Allied Telesis, Cisco, D-Link and Netgear. The 65nm Gigabit Ethernet SMB switch family, announced in April 2008, consists of the BCM53310 series for unmanaged and smart switches, and the BCM53118 for unmanaged switches and routers. A third product for wireless home routers and residential gateways, the BCM53115, was announced in November 2007.

Jacky Chang , senior director at networking solutions provider D-Link, said as part of the company’s D-Link Green initiative, it aims to give consumers ecologically friendly choices. “The reduced power consumption offered by Broadcom’s single-chip switch solutions results in an energy-saving device with reduced operating costs,” Chang said. “By combining Broadcom’s switch solutions with our green technology, we have been able to develop our second generation of Green Ethernet switches that provide competitive solutions with enhanced power saving benefits for all of our customers, from home users to enterprise.”

D-Link, which led sales of worldwide Ethernet small enterprise switch port shipments in 2008, also offers a line of “green” switches that automatically detect a device link status and reduces the power usage of ports that are not linked. When detecting a link down, D-Link Green switches conserve power without impacting network performance.

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