Broadcom officials are introducing its latest StrataXGS chip that will enable wireless carriers to better address the capacity and management challenges caused by the rapid growth in mobile and video Internet traffic, the number of connected mobile devices and changes in the mobile backhaul network.
The company's StrataXGS BCM56450 switch, armed with an integrated traffic manager and other new capabilities, also will bring a 40 percent I/O bandwidth increase over current Broadcom offerings. In addition, Broadcom's offering will give carriers real-time monitoring capabilities and the ability to create more dense cellular networks with more than twice the amount of user capacity.
Broadcom's target for the new chip isn't necessarily the wireless networks, but the wired mobile backhaul networks that run behind them, according to Nick Kucharewski, senior director of Broadcom's Infrastructure and Networking Group.
The demands on the mobile backhaul are increasing, due in large part to the growing use of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets and in the growth of data usage per device. Using numbers from ABI Research and Cisco Systems, Broadcom officials said sales of smartphones will rise 24 percent while tablet sales will jump 43 percent between 2010 and 2014. Smartphones use 24 times more data than traditional cell phones, while tablets use five times as much data as smartphones.
All that equals skyrocketing traffic growth over wireless networks, Kucharewski told eWEEK. Citing Cisco figures, he noted that by 2015, 1 million minutes of video content will cross the network every second, and that worldwide mobile data traffic will jump 26 times between 2010 and 2015. In addition, by 2015, the number of devices connected to IP networks will be twice the global population.
"In some regions, mobile devices are really the main devices used for accessing the Internet," Kucharewski said.
There also are new trends that are happening in the mobile backhaul network space that are driving up the need for more bandwidth, he said. One is the move to 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks, and another is the growth of small cell sites. While these sites may be smaller than macro base stations, there are more of them, driving up the need for more bandwidth and more nodes, which calls for more links to the nodes from the backhaul network.
In addition, the use of video streaming is increasing, which means the need for more bandwidth and greater quality of service, he said.
Because of all these trends, service providers need increased capacity, reliability and manageability, which Broadcom is looking to offer in a single, highly integrated chip. Along with the integrated traffic manager, the StrataXGS BCM56450 includes enhanced operation, administration and maintenance (OAM) functions, an integrated packet timing solution, integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and an on-chip ARM-based CPU.
The 56450 is sampling now and will go into full production in the first half of 2014.
The chip also will give Broadcom a completely refreshed portfolio of StrataXGS backhaul offerings. Over the past year or so, the company has rolled out the 56240 for 1 GbE small cell environments, the 56540 for 40GbE fixed aggregation, and 56640 for 100GbE modular aggregation. The 56450 will fit into the 10GbE access pre-aggregation environments.