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Network Processors in Your Home or Office?

Network processors are coming to your home or office. That is astounding because network processors were originally developed for Internet switching, and the first words that come to mind when thinking about network processors are “expensive” and “complex.” All of that is about to change.

Multi-channel HDTV streams and other triple-play applications are creating a need for switching higher speed data streams in home and small office networks. ARM® and Parallogic Corp. have announced a collaboration that will meet this need, bringing the capabilities of easily programmed network processors into home or office networks at a reasonable price.

ARM has introduced the ARM11™ MPCore™ multicore processor, which has scalability up to four CPU cores. Parallogic supplies StriaEdge software. The combination creates an opportunity for makers of the next generation of gateways, routers, set top boxes and other network switching products in the SOHO market.

The ARM multicore processor provides the computing power needed to switch data streams in excess of 400 Mbps (megabits per second).

The Parallogic software creates the ease of programming. Software developers for multicore processors usually have to deal with a myriad of problems with timing and other issues in order to get the different cores to work together. The StriaEdge software eliminates those problems. Using the StriaEdge software, a developer can program the ARM11 MPCore multiple core processor exactly as if it were a single core processor. The Parallogic software takes care of all of the multicore issues involved.

Semico Spin

ARM and Parallogic, wisely, are ahead of the curve with this collaboration. The first reaction, on hearing about a network processor intended for SOHO switching applications is that it is not needed, but that is not true. Higher resolution digital still pictures, video streaming; and, most especially, multiple HDTV streams are going to require higher data rates in the home. VPN (Virtual Private Networks), VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), video conferencing, firewall protection, anti-virus protection, encryption and many other features are going to require higher data rates in small offices.

Intelligent packet processing is going to be needed to support the vision of transparency between computers, entertainment centers and other nodes in the digital home or office of the future. The ARM/Parallogic provides that intelligent packet processing in an easy-to-design, affordable package.

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