Fulcrum, Solarflare Create 10GBASE-T Switch Reference Design

Fulcrum Microsystems(R) and Solarflare(R) Communications announced they have collaborated on a new 10GBASE-T switch reference design that is the highest density, most cost-effective 10G Ethernet switch on the market today. The two companies are demonstrating this switch at Interop(R) Las Vegas in Solarflare Communications’ booth #1774.

Code named “San Marino,” the new platform combines Solarflare’s 10Xpress(TM) 10GBASE-T physical layer PHY technology with Fulcrum’s FocalPoint FM2224 24-port, low-latency Ethernet switch chip to create a 1U-high switch that features 20 10GBASE-T ports and four XFPs. The fully functional platform enables OEMs to rapidly enter the market with price-competitive solutions that lead the market in performance, integration, latency and 10GBASE-T standards compliance (100-meter reach over Category 6a or 7 cable). Switching system industry leader SMC(R) Networks will be the first OEM customer to take San Marino to market.

“SMC’s commitment to 10Gigabit networking is strong,” said Iain Kenney, director of product marketing for SMC Networks. “We’re pleased to add the industry’s first multi-port combination 10GBASE-T and 10G fiber XFP network switch to our 10G arsenal — the industry’s most comprehensive set of standards-based 10G networking products.”

“San Marino offers the right combination of performance, flexibility and cost-effectiveness to allow 10-Gigabit Ethernet to take off in the enterprise,” said Mike Zeile, VP of marketing for Fulcrum Microsystems. “The switch can serve as a network backbone or as a rack switch for interconnecting computing and storage resources in the data center. This is the platform that enables our customers to give enterprises the performance and cost they need to migrate their networks to 10-Gigabit Ethernet.”

“To date, the 10G switching market has experienced modest growth and addressed limited applications because it has been limited to low-density, expensive 10G switches,” said Bruce Tolley, VP of marketing for Solarflare. “This high-density 10GBASE-T solution will allow our switch OEM customers to lower switch port prices by 50% and enable IT managers to build 10G inter-switch and switch-to-server links over the installed copper cabling infrastructure. San Marino with its density and support for plug and play RJ-45 copper will drive the expansion of the Ethernet market.”

Fulcrum’s FocalPoint, a breakthrough 10-Gigabit Ethernet switch chip family, features the industry’s highest density and performance, lowest latency, and greatest power efficiency for 10-Gigabit Ethernet switching. The flagship FM2224 chip features 24 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, which are all independently configurable for operation at standard line rates from 10Mbps to 10Gbps.

Solarflare’s 10Xpress is the industry’s first standards-compliant 10GBASE-T PHY chip, demonstrating distances over 100 meters of Category 6A link in worst-case conditions as mandated by IEEE 802.3an-2006. 10Xpress enables 10-Gigabit connectivity via twisted pair copper — a cost-effective alternative to expensive fiber infrastructures — while providing the familiar ease-of-use, which has helped copper fuel past Ethernet expansions. 10Xpress’s tested, robust performance, along with full reference design support, allows it to be integrated with existing 10Gbps Ethernet designs for minimal bring-up time.

About Solarflare Communications, Inc.
Solarflare Communications Inc. is a leading silicon vendor delivering Ethernet products that enable the rapid adoption of 10 Gigabit for data center and enterprise networks. Solarflare was the first company to demonstrate and sample to customers a 10GBASE-T PHY reaching 100 meters over a Category 6A link. The company’s high-performance Ethernet solutions will lower the cost of 10 Gigabit networking for data center and enterprise customers. The privately held company is headquartered in Irvine, California with a development center in Cambridge, UK.

About Fulcrum Microsystems
Fulcrum Microsystems Inc is a fabless semiconductor company focused on developing interconnect switch chips for next generation board and system designs. The company’s devices change the paradigm for interconnects, offering low latency, fine-grained flow control, and high throughput, which combine to simplify the board design and to build in more flexibility and higher performance.