Crossbeam Selects Altera FPGAs for X-Series Security Services Switches

Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) announced that Crossbeam Systems is incorporating Altera(R) devices in its next-generation line of X-Series security services switches to achieve a level of performance and functionality not possible with alternative solutions. Crossbeam’s X-Series switches are the industry’s only open and scalable security platforms with carrier-class availability running multiple security applications from leading vendors. These switches are being used by companies worldwide, including CheckFree, Scottrade, and H&R Block.

Crossbeam, the leader in enterprise and carrier-class unified threat management (UTM) solutions for the world’s largest networks, uses several Altera devices, including Stratix(R) II GX FPGAs, in each of its new switches. The devices provide high-speed links between sub-systems, reducing latency and increasing availability. The Stratix II GX FPGAs implement PCI Express x8 interfaces and a custom 4-Gbps serial interface that enables high-speed communication between system modules. The 4-Gbps serial interfaces can also run in a 2-Gbps mode to allow the next-generation modules to communicate with legacy modules. Crossbeam chose Altera’s industry-leading transceiver-based FPGAs to deliver speeds and functionality that are not possible with other vendors’ solutions.

“Altera’s technology and design support helped us confidently achieve the highest possible speed and flexibility for our intersystem data communications, which is critical for our X-Series switch,” said Chet Gapinski, vice president of engineering of Crossbeam. “They are the only FPGA supplier who met our performance requirements, and their reliable delivery of industry-leading transceiver technology enabled us to meet our aggressive development cycles. As a result, we’re delivering ground-breaking communications security systems for enterprise and carrier networks with superior functionality, performance and scalability, ahead of competitors.”

After a thorough evaluation of competing solutions, Crossbeam adopted the Stratix II GX devices to allow its designers to meet aggressive product rollout schedules and complete the development of their latest product in the shortest time. Altera’s PCI Express x8 solution, including MegaCore(R) intellectual property (IP), worked flawlessly in Crossbeam’s application, further shortening development time. To accomplish reliable data transmission at the 40-Gbps system throughput rate achieved by the X-Series, Crossbeam requires the highest degree of signal integrity, which is provided by Stratix II GX devices. Crossbeam leverages FPGA reconfigurability to enable seamless interoperability with their legacy products. Upon installation, boards configure themselves to recognize legacy versus new add-in cards.

“In developing its X-Series switches, Crossbeam challenged the FPGA industry to deliver a solution that provided high performance and allowed a robust set of features in their products,” said Arun Iyengar, senior director of Altera’s communications business unit. “We worked closely with Crossbeam to ensure that the Altera solution didn’t just meet their expectations, but exceeded them.”

In addition to Stratix II and Stratix II GX devices, Crossbeam also uses Altera’s Cyclone© II FPGAs, MAX(R) II CPLDs, and MegaCore IP, including PCI Express, SPI-4.2, and high-performance memory interfaces.

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