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Interop: Broadcom Says 40 Gbps Ethernet Coming Soon

Broadcom expects to ship 40-Gbps network switches and controllers by late 2009, before a final standard is approved in 2010.

Broadcom on Tuesday said the IEEE group working on 40-Gbps Ethernet is likely to settle on a standard by midyear, with final approval of the technology by the international standards body expected by early 2010.

Broadcom, however, expects to ship network switches and controllers that implement the pre-final standard by late 2009. "You don't want to get too far ahead of the standards body," Nick Ilyadis, chief technology officer for Broadcom's Ethernet group, said during an interview with InformationWeek at the Interop conference in Las Vegas.

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The demand to move more data around faster is increasing with the emergence of mega-data centers run by Internet companies like Google, Amazon, and eBay. In addition, growing corporate data centers and emerging technologies like Internet television are also putting a strain on network infrastructure.

Broadcom is among the key players in the development of 40-Gbps and 100-Gbps Ethernet standards. The company makes semiconductors found in set-top boxes at the home, and a variety of networking equipment used in the data center and by Internet service providers.

Implementation of 40-Gbps technology will go into "top of rack" (TOR) switches that aggregate data from servers, and into core controllers that aggregate feeds from those TOR switches, Ilyadis said. The core controllers are often involved in the bidirectional flow of data from hundreds of thousands of Internet users, or branch offices of an international corporation.

The current 10-Gbps standard is the fastest Ethernet technology available today, but companies are expected to look to tech vendors for help in reaching faster speeds as data demands on wide area networks continue to grow. "When you get to the point where the current infrastructure gets stretched, then technology is expected to come to the rescue," Ilyadis said.

In the meantime, Broadcom on Tuesday launched at Interop the StrataXGS 4, the company's latest line of single-chip switches that leverage Broadcom's 65-nanometer processors. Because the chips fit more transistors on a core, they deliver better power-performance ratios than previous generations.

The switches introduced at Interop include the BCM56624 and BCM56720. A third switch, the BCM56820, which was unveiled in November, completes the new product line. Pricing was not disclosed.

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