Broadcom Samples 100Gb Ethernet Silicon

Broadcom is unveiling the BCM88600 chip, which will enable vendors to build 10GbE switches that can be used in highly scalable, high-bandwidth environments to meet the growing demand fueled by the rise of data and video Internet traffic.

Broadcom is showing the fruits of its November 2009 acquisition of Dune Networks with the unveiling of a chip that officials say will enable the creation of Ethernet switches with throughput capabilities of 100 Gigabits per second, with the potential for 100 Terabits per second.

Broadcom officials said Nov. 2 that the company is sampling the BCM88600, a family of chips that will enable greater scalability in various Ethernet network switching solutions, a need that is rapidly growing in demand thanks to the rapidly increasing amount of video and data Internet traffic that is driving demand for high levels of bandwidth.

According to Broadcom, the BCM88600 line of chips-which can be used in data centers as well service provider environments-can process a single stream of 100GbE at Layer 2 through Layer 4 with integrated management capabilities. In some configurations, that capacity could jump to 100T bps, Broadcom officials said.

The chip, which Broadcom says integrates the functions of a high-performance line card, can be used for a range of network switch solutions, including everything from small fixed configurations to large, standalone chassis-based offerings. The BCM88600 also is another tool enterprises can use as they build unified infrastructures within their data centers.

The chip, launched within a year of its acquisition of Dune, also is proof of Broadcom's ability to efficiently integrate acquired companies into its own, according to Martin Lund, senior vice president and general manager of Broadcom's Network Switching business unit.

"With the BCM88600 series, Broadcom has again enabled ethernet to outpace other technologies in terms of bandwidth and performance, providing both the scalability and capacity required to develop ultra high-performance networks," Lund said in a statement. "The introduction of the new product series within just ten months post acquisition underscores our ability to successfully integrate acquired technologies into our portfolio without slowing down the pace of innovation."

Broadcom's technology comes at a time when vendors and enterprises are looking at 100GbE, even as the transition from 1GbE to 10GbE is still underway, and 40GbE is on the horizon. Networking vendors such as Cisco Systems (/c/a/Enterprise-Networking/Cisco-Ethernet-Cards-Will-Exceed-100Gb-Capacity-540239/), Juniper Networks and Alcatel-Lucent in 2009 started showing off 100GbE adapters. In addition, 18 vendors reportedly are readying demonstration of 100GbE networking products compliant with the IEEE's 802.3ba standard at the SuperComputing 2010 show, which starts Nov. 13.