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Broadcom Unveils 100-Gbps Ethernet Chip

Anticipating the insatiable hunger of data centers and networks, Broadcom has unveiled Ethernet switching silicon with the capability of delivering scalable modular switching platforms with 100-Gbps to 100-Tbps capacity. Announced Tuesday, the Broadcom BCM88600 is aimed at handling the surge of data expected to flow from increased video and other traffic by improving scalability and ultra-high bandwidth.

In an e-mail, Broadcom's Martin Lund said the chip is already sampling to early access customers, which he described as networking and telecom original equipment manufacturers. Lund, who is senior VP and general manager of Broadcom's network switching business unit, noted that the BCM88600 relied heavily in its development on the firm's acquisition of Dune Networks last year.

"We expect to see system vendors to start shipping products based on the new product sometime next year," he said, adding that "these system products (are expected) to be used in data center, service provider networks, and enterprise networks."

Broadcom noted that the increased appearance of large data centers with thousands of servers will require 100-Gbps network connectivity in their core and for interconnecting data centers. Large service provider networks will also need core routers with 100-Gbps interfaces.

About the 100-Tbps capability of the new chip, Lund said: "Massively scalable systems are required for very large data centers," and that "100 terabit is the theoretical limit." If networking follows its traditional trajectory, 100-Tbps interfaces will eventually be developed by system integrators and others. The BCM88600 can be used to create a variety of network switching systems ranging from small fixed configurations to large standalone modular chassis-based solutions. A unified infrastructure in the silicon will pave the way for vendors to build a single and scalable product line with the same switching infrastructure, Broadcom said.