Agere shows off fast switching chip

Agere Systems Inc. on Monday announced a new switching chip for communications equipment that it says switches communication signals four times faster than competing products and delivers dramatic cost savings.

The new chip switches traffic at a minimum of 40Gbps, which is four times faster than competing single chip offerings, Agere said in a statement. The competition would need three or more chips to achieve the same performance, making competing products about 70 per cent more expensive, according to Agere.

Switching chips are a core part of communication equipment, moving signals through network systems. Agere is among the world’s largest switching chip vendors.

The chip, called the Protocol Independent Stand-Alone Switch (PI-40SAX), is targeted at manufacturers of routers, radio network controllers, digital subscriber line access multiplexers (DSLAMs), and other communications hardware. Users of those products are, for the most part, telecommunications service providers.

Service providers can also save on real estate, power and operational costs, according to Agere. Communications equipment can be made much smaller because of the high throughput on a single chip, Agere of Allentown, Pa., said.

Zhongxing Telecom Equipment Corp. of China already is designing equipment around Agere’s new chip, Agere said.

The PI-40SAX supports multiple protocols, including asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) cells, time division multiplex (TDM), and Internet Protocol (IP) and costs US$520 when bought in production quantities of 10,000, Agere said.