Broadcom Offering Low Power Switches


Broadcom is rolling out a host of products to support a unified networking vision both at the core of the enterprise data center and on the edge of business WLANs

Broadcom is playing for both of ends of the enterprise network with a spate of new products and platforms.

Broadcom has rolled out its XGS Core networking fabric architecture armed with new low-power, high-density Ethernet switches for data centres, enterprises and service provider networks. On the same day, Broadcom unveiled a hardware and software solution designed to enable enterprises to take advantage of the 802.11n standard in their wireless networks.

The moves come as network device providers look for ways to offer businesses complete packages to help them cope with the increased traffic generated by the growth of virtualization technology, cloud computing and such bandwidth-intensive applications as video.

Broadcom is combining the XGS Core fabric architecture with its existing StrataXGS switch silicon and software to give OEMs a platform for building new high-performance Ethernet platforms, Broadcom officials said. Using the offering can help keep OEMs and enterprises from having to cobble together a network using ASICs technologies, FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays) and third-party products, according to Martin Lund, vice president and general manager for Broadcom’s Network Switching Business Unit.

“As we have done previously in low and midrange systems, our unmatched integration and executive will drive ‘Ethernet economics’ into high-end networking equipment,” Lund said in a statement.

The offering includes the company’s BCM88200 Series nonblocking interface and traffic manager supporting up to 80G bps of full duplex bandwidth per device, which officials say is important with the growth of 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks and the move later to 40G Ethernet.

Other new technology in the XGS Core comprises the BCM88100 scalable switch fabric, BCM56900 deep buffer manager and a Virtual Chassis Reference System enabling businesses to develop a virtual chassis identical to their own systems that can scale to 10T bps of capacity.

In the WLAN space, Broadcom is bringing together its WLAN silicon, switch silicon and networking software to give OEMs a platform for building unified wireless network offerings.

The goal is to give businesses a wireless networking architecture that can take advantage of the greater performance and bandwidth capabilities the 802.11n standard has over 802.11a/b/g.

“While 802.11n improves Wi-Fi performance and expands wireless connectivity into new applications, it requires a new unified network architecture to avoid inefficiencies and traffic bottlenecks,” Lund said.

Broadcom’s integrated offering lets businesses unify their wired and wireless infrastructures and improves the scalability, management and performance of the Wi-Fi network by enabling them to take advantage of the 802.11n standard, the company said.

Company officials said the market for 802.11n access points is going to grow, citing work by ABI Research predicting that the market would grow from fewer than 1 million units in 2008 to 14 million units by 2014.

Broadcom’s offering comes with the new BCM56520 unified wireless/wire-line switch—the sixth generation of the company’s StrataXGS Ethernet switch family—which lets manufacturers build edge switches that make unified wireless networks economically feasible for enterprises, the company said.

In addition, it includes the BCM4748 integrated 802.11n access point silicon-on-chip product and Version 6.0 of Broadcom’s FastPath unified wireless switching and unified access point software, which manages the WAN (wide-area network) platform. FastPath 6.0 includes wireless virtualisation software for centralised management of unified edge switching, which officials said leads to better scaling.

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