Broadcom targets terabit switch markets with fat StrataDNX chipset

It's a mighty fine rack, veep tells us

Broadcom wants a bigger footprint in the router and switch market with the next iteration of its top-line silicon, the StrataDNX line.

While conceding that merchant silicon isn't going to push Cisco or Juniper Networks out of the network core where the biggest traffic flows exist, Broadcom reckons the ability to support beyond-Terabit throughput, huge buffers and highly configurable packet processing, will give StrataDNX will still find a home in data centre, large enterprise and service provider networks.

Speaking to The Register ahead of the launch, Ram Velaga (senior veep and general manager of the company's network switch business) cited top-of-rack and DC core, enterprise aggregation and core, carrier Ethernet, edge router and optical transport as target markets for the device.

These markets, Velaga said, are currently dominated by routers based on custom ASICs.

The StrataDNX comprises two packet processors, Jericho and QumranMX, and the BCM88770 fabric device. The 3.6 Tbps-per-device BCM88770 drives the pitch into the medium-to-large chassis market for Broadcom.

Velaga said this means users are “now able to deliver modular chassis delivering multi-terabits per slot, and single systems delivering over 100 Tbps”.

The matching packet processors, Velaga said, will let OEMs deploy very similar capabilities across different systems without having to design across different silicon.

The idea is that the requirements of (say) a video editing suite – a top-of-rack switch with big buffers – will be different from those of a router, and both of those will be different from an optical interconnect.

However, if the products can be built on the same silicon, Velaga said, there are both revenue and cost positives. Development costs should be lower since the engineers need to know the details of fewer chipsets; and that gives the OEM the chance to expand its product portfolio into new markets.

Broadcom also emphasises the chipset's packet optical capabilities, which means it can be built into both carrier Ethernet and Optical Transport Network kit – again, with the aim of letting OEMs amortise their R&D across multiple markets.

Velaga said with top-tier vendors already sampling the chips, customers should expect to see products shipping within a year. ®

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