Broadcom Unveils Terabit Speed SoC


By: Michael Vizard

Broadcom (AVGO), which continues the fight in its controversial bid for Qualcomm (QCOM), today advanced its campaign to replace proprietary ASICs in networking equipment by shipping a pair of system-on-chip (SoC) offerings based on commercial silicon capable of supporting terabits of throughput.

Part of the 16 nanometer StrataDNX switch family of offerings developed by Broadcom, Jericho2 is a 10 Tb/s packet processor and traffic manager that comes DNX fabric interfaces. The FE9600 is a switch fabric device for modular systems capable of providing 9.6 Tb/s throughput per device.

Broadcom claims the 100/200/400 Gigabit Ethernet Jericho2 SoC delivers five times more bandwidth using 70 percent less power per gigabit than the previous generation of Jericho processors. Broadcom also claims Jericho2 is the world’s first 10 Tb/s switch-router on a chip, integrating a multi-terabit fabric interface, Elastic Pipe packet processing, hierarchical traffic manager, and scalable packet buffer memory within a SoC.

Those capabilities will transform everything from edge and core routers to cloud data centers and campus networks, says Oozie Parizer, senior director for the Switch Products Group for Broadcom.

“You’ll see racks on networking equipment that took up as much as 21ru reduced to 1ru,” says Parizer.

Naturally, it may still take a while for the manufacturers of switches and routers to bring those products to market. But the same scale of consolidation that has occurred within servers in the data center is about to be applied to networking, says Parizer.

Broadcom, along with Intel, has been making the case for relying on commercial silicon for networking equipment with moderate success. Most cloud service providers rely on networking equipment based on commercial silicon. But much of the networking equipment used in the enterprise and telecommunications carriers is still largely based on proprietary ASICs developed by vendors such as Cisco (CSCO) and Juniper Networks (JNPR). Broadcom is betting that the transition to 5G will result in more carriers relying on less expensive networking equipment based on commercial silicon, while at the same time hoping more enterprise IT organizations decide to embrace open networking alternatives based on its processors.

Of course, the rate at which that change may occur may not be fast. But as is often the case, any real permanent change to the networking infrastructure landscape takes time and patience to achieve.