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Start-up debuts integrated protocol processor

Posted: 18 Dec 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:protocols  carrier Ethernet  telecom systems 

Siverge Networks has announced that it will debut this week a single chip that handles a wide range of protocols for an equally broad target market of wired, optical and wireless telecom systems.

The Griffin SV3640 can process packet, cell and time-division multiplexing (TDM) protocols at the physical and media-access layers at data rates up to 10Gbps. Competing chips tend to require multiple chips to handle a smaller subset of protocols at the transport level.

Israel's Siverge aims to find design wins in multi-service switches and routers as well as other telecom systems used on wired and wireless nets. It is sampling its chips to telecom OEMs in China, Europe and Japan.

"There is a whole world of protocols being implemented in data services, and system vendors typically have to design and manage different solutions for each one," said Yuval Berger, chief executive of Siverge. "This is the main pain point of telecom system developers today," he added.

"They have a device that's more universal and more highly integrated" than established competitors such as Applied Micro Circuits Corp. which use separate framer, mapper and termination devices, said Bob Wheeler, senior analyst with The Linley Group.

"The problem is they are targeting, in part, the traditional TDM space where I would not expect people to invest in a lot of new designs," Wheeler added, noting most new chips are aimed at carrier Ethernet or other packet-centric systems.

Berger said the Siverge strategy is a practical one. "We are not envisioning a futuristic solution, rather an optimal one for the current migration of networks," he said.

Conflicting messages
The start-up debuts at a time when the market is sending conflicting messages about the impact of the global recession on telecom. In a mid-December announcement of plans to lay off 1,000 executives, the newly installed chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent publicly stated he expects the telecom market to decline eight to 12 per cent in 2009.

Earlier this month, AT&T said it would slash 12,000 jobs, about four per cent of the company's total workforce, and will spend less on capital gear in 2009 than it did this year. AT&T said it would provide specific numbers in January.

Nevertheless, two telecom market watchers remain somewhat bullish.

Insight Research Corp. predicted telecom revenues will grow 10.3 per cent on a compound basis from Rs.8,506,186.30 crore ($1.7 trillion) in 2008 to Rs.13,509,825.30 crore ($2.7 trillion) in 2013 with most growth in wireless. "Over the long haul, we expect the telecommunications industry to continue growing," said Insight president Robert Rosenberg.

"As it looks today, the effect of the general economic downturn likely will be minimal on the optical network hardware market, because consumers and businesses continue to demand more bandwidth," said Michael Howard, principal analyst with Infonetics Research, speaking in a research note.

Howard forecasts the overall optical network hardware market will grow to Rs.82,059.68 crore ($16.4 billion) in 2011.

"For now we are not seeing projects being cancelled," said Berger of Siverge.

"I believe the telecom market will not be significantly impacted by this [recession]," he added. "The key drive today is broadband and video apps for consumers, and I don't think this will change significantly."

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