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EZchip Semiconductor, Ltd. (EZCH)
Overview

EZchip Technologies is a fabless semiconductor company providing Ethernet network processors. EZchip's network processors integrate packet processing, classification search engines, traffic management and OAM (Operation, Management and Administration) offload in a single chip, at throughput rates ranging from 1-Gigabit to 200-Gigabits per second.

EZchip’s network processors feature highly-flexible packet processing and fine-grained traffic management to enable a wide range of applications and services in Carrier Ethernet Switches and Routers (CESR) in emerging carrier edge, metro, and access networks, as well as data centers and the enterprise backbone.

EZchip Technologies was formed as a spin-off in 1999 and is fully-owned by EZchip Semiconductor (NASDAQ: EZCH; formerly LanOptics Ltd.).

Background

The demand for intelligent, increasingly complex high-speed packet processing has led to the advent of network processors (NPU). Programmable network processors provide system flexibility while delivering the high-performance required to process packets at increasing speeds. Consequently, network processors are becoming the silicon core of next generation networking equipment.

Carrier Ethernet networks are fast growing worldwide as the vehicle to deliver triple-play services of voice, data and video. The switches and routers that build the carrier Ethernet networks have evolving market requirements to provide new services, better QoS (quality of service) and support new protocols. This makes them a perfect fit for being built with programmable NPUs, and the NPU is becoming the key component on modern line cards of Carrier Ethernet Switches and Routers.

Technology

EZchip has developed a new breed of network processors that integrate multiple TOPs (Task Optimized Processors) rather than generic RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) processors, to provide the performance required for next-generation networking products. EZchip's breakthrough Task Optimized Processing technology (TOPcore®) employs fast, efficient and flexible processors designed and optimized for packet processing. This technology enables highly integrated chips that provide very high throughput rates.

In addition, EZchip’s network processors integrate extensive traffic management capabilities to provide Quality of Service (QoS) and enforce for users and applications. Effective traffic management is crucial for making Ethernet a carrier-grade infrastructure, suitable for enforcing Service Level Agreements (SLA) and delivering triple-play services.

EZchip Products
  • NP-3 is a 30-Gigabit network processor with integrated hierarchical traffic management. It furthers the integration of EZchip's earlier NPUs with three 10-Gigabit interfaces, higher throughput, OAM processing offload and enhanced traffic management.
  • NP-2 is a 20-Gigabit network processor with integrated traffic management. It offers integrated hierarchical traffic management as well as 1-Gigabit and 10-Gigabit Ethernet MACs. Scaled down version for smaller applications are also offered.
  • NP-4 is a 100-Gigabit network processor, currently in design, that features integrated hierarchical traffic management, OAM processing offload and enables direct connection from the line card to Ethernet-based switching fabrics.
  • NPA is family of network processors targeting Ethernet Access applications with several models offering combinations of 100-Megabit, 1-Gigabit and 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports and an aggregate throughput of up to 10-Gigabits. The NPA features the same programmable processing architecture, integrated traffic management and full software compatibility with EZchip’s higher-speed network processors.
  • NP-1c provides fully programmable 7-layer packet classification, modification, forwarding and policing at wire speed. NP-1c is EZchip’s second generation 10-Gigabit NPU and follows the NP-1 which was the first 10-Gigabit NPU introduced to the market. (Note that NP-1 and NP-1c have both reached End of Life.)
  • EZdesign toolset allows designers to create, verify and implement applications to meet specific functionality and performance targets. EZdesign includes a simulator, compiler, extensive debugging facilities and traffic and database generators.
  • EZdriver SDK facilitates the development of the control path software for systems based on EZchip’s NPUs. It enables applications that run on the host CPU to communicate with the EZchip network processor.
  • Applications Library featuring production code and tested reference code to help its customers simplify their development efforts and expedite the time-to-market of their system products.
  • Hardware Platforms for software applications vendors based on an EZchip network processor. The systems are provided in stand-alone, self-contained boxes with multiple 1-Gigabit ports and/or 10-Gigabit ports and can be tailored by software vendors to a wide variety of networking applications.
  • Evaluation Systems are available to expedite development of network processor based systems. Evaluation systems are available with a choice of 1GE and 10GEports.
Applications

The flexibility and integration of EZchip’s NPUs allow system vendors to deliver cost effective solutions that can easily adapt to changing market requirements. Typical systems that use EZchip’s NPUs on line cards in modular chassis and pizza boxes:
  • Metro Switches
  • Edge and Core Routers
  • Ethernet Aggregation Nodes
  • Variety of Ethernet Access applications:
    • Optical access (GPON/EPON OLT/ONT)
    • Copper access (DSLAM)
    • Ethernet Access Devices and Demarcation
    • Aggregation & Backhaul of 3G/4G and WiMax Base Stations
  • Ethernet to SONET/SDH Switches
  • Enterprise Backbone Switches
  • Content Inspection and Network Monitoring
  • Server Load Balancing Switches
Clear Product Differentiation

EZchip's network processors scale from 1Gbps to 200Gbps and offer greater processing flexibility, integration and overall lower system cost to enable networking equipment vendors’ support of new protocols and applications for the dynamic and evolving environment of next generation carrier networks.
  • Product Offering – EZchip’s NPUs utilizes a common architecture to implement a series of NPUs with throughput ranging from 10Gbps to 200Gbps and with software portability among the various NPUs. This enables EZchip's customers to design and easily port their design to implement a variety of product lines based on the different NPU models.
  • Flexible Packet Processing – A flexible architecture ensures that changing market demands for new applications and features can be met simply through software upgrades. A wide range of applications and advanced services can be implemented through a simple programming model.
  • Integrated Traffic Management – A hierarchical traffic management, with support for a large number of users and services, congestion management and congestion avoidance features are available for switch/router vendors to provide guaranteed SLA and QoS on a per user/flow/application basis.
  • Lower System Cost – Integration of all the major line-card functions on a single chip (processing, classifying, traffic management and Ethernet ports) offers significant savings in the system's overall board space, power dissipation and cost when compared to alternative solutions. In addition, low cost DRAM technology for storing lookup tables offers extensive headroom for growth when new applications require new and larger lookup tables.
Key Market Forces
  • Surging deployment of Carrier Ethernet networks.
  • Necessity for flexible packet processing for adapting to evolving new protocols and services.
  • Acceptance of merchant silicon as a replacement for networking vendor's ASIC designs.


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