Electronic Design

Scale From Gbits To Tbits With Minimal Logic

This shared-memory switch-fabric chip with 64 3.125-Gbit/s SERDES ports scales data throughput from 640 Gbits to 40 Tbits.

Scalability and longevity are two vital aspects of products that go into the network infrastructure. As network traffic increases, the data throughput of switch fabrics and line cards must be scalable to handle the increased amount of data. The systems must also be able to grow without having to replace the switch fabric and line cards that make up the switching system. The just-released FE switch fabric developed by Dune Networks Inc., along with a soon-to-be-released traffic-management chip, promise such scalability and long life cycles.

The SAND (scalable architecture for networking devices) chip set provides a complete solution for nonblocking switching fabrics, as well as ingress/egress traffic management and scheduling. The switch fabric enables system designers to build a platform that can dynamically scale bandwidth and enhance port rates, port counts, and service schemes. Pipe rates can scale from 10 to 40 Gbits/s to 100 Gbits/s and beyond, all interconnecting through the same FE200-based switch fabric.

The FE200 fabric chip employs a shared-memory architecture and integrates all of the high-speed I/O ports—a total of 64 bidirectional channels that can each transfer data at 3.125 Gbits/s in each direction—needed for 640-Gbit/s total data throughput. At the pipe count level, the number of pipes in a system can then scale from a single pipe to tens, hundreds, or up to 2048 pipes.

At the service level, the SAND approach is a "scheduled fabric." It provides deep buffering capabilities that systems may require, as well as the fine-grained shaping needed at the output. As a result, the architecture potentially gives each port in the system different scheduling and buffering capabilities, such as those needed for asynchronous transfer mode, time-division multiplexing, Ethernet, and others. By using the novel distributed architecture approach, a chassis that reaches capacity can be linked to another chassis so the switch still behaves in a nonblocking mode.

Samples of the FE200 switch fabric will be available this quarter, while samples of the traffic manager will not be ready until late in the third quarter. Pricing has yet to be determined.

Dune Networks Inc.
(818) 735-0848

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