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10Gbps network processor

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Intel today announced what it bills as the industry's first network processor for secure content processing.

The Intel IXP2850 network processor features high-performance packet processing with security features in a single chip and is designed for applications such as Virtual Private Networks, Web services and Storage Area Networks.

Hardware mechanisms within the chip enable popular encryption standards such as 3DES and the recently introduced Advanced Encryption Standard to be implemented at speeds up to 10Gbps, according to Intel. The company is positioning the part as an alternative to customised ASICs commonly found in current high-speed firewall/VPN appliances from the likes of NetScreen.

The Intel IXP2850 can also be programmed to accelerate content-rich services such as load balancing among multiple Web servers.

Intel says the chip offers reduces lead time and cuts the cost of developing high speed communications equipment, a potentially attractive pitch at a time when the networking market is stuck in the doldrums. Certainly there's no lack of commitment on Intel's side of the equation.

To develop the market for the processor, Intel is beefing up its suite of hardware and software development tools, as well as introducing professional design services geared around the platform.

The IXP2850 will be available in the second quarter of 2003, with prices from $725 (for high volume orders). ®

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