Electronic Design

Communications: Upgraded Network Processor Accelerates System Throughput

The APP650 network processor offers twice the classification and traffic shaping performance of the APP550, along with increased data-processing capabilities, improved policing, and better buffer management. To keep system costs down, it uses off-the-shelf DRAMs rather than the costlier content-addressable memories. To improve the chip's throughput, multiple packet programmable hardware engines work in parallel to double the overall productivity. The chip also handles multilevel packet extraction and data manipulation via a pre-queuing modifier block, which offers pre- and post-queuing data modification and manipulation while reducing processing time by as much as 50%. Its designers additionally increased the policing and buffer manager compute engine throughput by almost 50% by upping the clock speed from 266 to 400 MHz. The available WarmStart software can trim the cost of downtime during telecom system resets. It lets service providers dynamically reset the host chip processors controlling their network equipment with no interruption in user traffic. Prices for the APP600 series network processors range from $260 to $596 each in lots of 10,000 units. Contact the company for software licensing terms.

Agere Systems

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