Electronic Design

Network Processors Trim System Parts Count And Cost

Two network-processor (NP) families take aim at traditional communications applications and the emerging embedded networking segment. The first of the two new families, Intel's IXP2325 and IXP2350 NPs, go after access and edge apps like DSLAMs, wireless access switches, and enterprise router line cards. The second family, the IXP460 and IXP465, targets lower-performance, cost-sensitive applications.

Designers can use the IXP2325 and IXP2350 to combine data-plane and control-plane processing tasks in a single chip. This reduces board complexity, component count, power consumption, and overall cost. Fabricated on a 90-nm process, they're based on high-performance XScale cores that run at 1.2 GHz and include enhanced memory and caching schemes.

Both chips include a cryptography accelerator that's faster than the accelerators incorporated on previous NPs. Thanks to an integrated pair of 1-Gbit/s Ethernet controllers (including the physical-layer interfaces), they deliver up to 2-Gbit/s line rates. Both devices offer the same hardware and software architecture as the rest of Intel's IXP2xxx product line, so they're backwards-compatible.

To handle the deep packet inspection and traffic management and forwarding, both chips include independent 32-bit multithreaded macroengines and a 256-channel High Level Data Link Control controller. The IXP2325 packs two macroengines for a throughput of 2.5 Goperations/s, while the IXP2350 has four macroengines, enabling it to handle up to 4.9 Goperations/s.

Next, the IXP460 and IXP465 NPs will find homes in network printers, network cameras, and small-office/home-office products. Running at 667 MHz, they pack integrated support for time synchronization and error-checked and corrected memory to improve data integrity.

The IXP460's two macroengines support operations such as IP header inspection and modification, packet filtering, packet error checking, checksum computation, and flag insertion and removal. The IXP465's third macroengine supports a UTOPIA interface and local-area network, wide-area network, I2C, and synchronous serial ports. Also, the IXP465's cryptography engine can handle AES, DES, SHA 1, and other encryption schemes.

In lots of 10,000, the IXP2325 costs between $84 and $101, depending on the speed grade. Similarly, the IXP2350 costs between $95 and $142. The IXP460 goes for between $19 and $55, and the IXP465 costs from $26 to $75. Samples of the IXP2325 and IXP2350 are immediately available, while the IXP460 and IXP465 will be sampled next month.

Intel Corp.

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