Broadcom today unveiled what it claims is the world's first Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) chip designed to power next-generation IP phones.
The BCM1103 combines GbE switching, data encryption security, quality of service and management functionality in a single chip.
A Risc processor integrates a GbE (10/100/1000Mbps) switch and two Fast Ethernet (10/100Mbps) transceivers, allowing for the development of traditional Fast Ethernet IP phone designs without adding external transceivers.
"The deployment of GbE connections within most enterprise PC shipments has rapidly occurred over the past year due to the demands for increased bandwidth to support voice, data and video services," said Sean Lavey, a programme manager at IDC's semiconductor research unit.
"IDC forecasts IP phone shipments to grow at a 42 per cent compound annual growth rate during 2004-2008 as more businesses install these feature-rich and more cost-effective VoIP systems.
"With IP phone adoption also on the rise, GbE capability inside these new designs will also become a requirement to ensure that this faster speed will be readily available to the end user."
Broadcom argued that, as networks migrate to GbE, it is becoming essential for IP phones to operate at the same speed.
This capability is, according to the firm, especially important in office environments where IP phones reside between PCs and the network connection.
In this configuration, the integrated switch in the IP phone dictates the speed of the network.
If the network is operating at GbE speeds, it becomes critical for the phone to support the GbE rate to prevent a bottleneck between the local area network and the PC.
"The integration of GbE capability into next-generation IP phones is a natural progression in the evolution of VoIP within the enterprise," said Paul Shore, director of marketing for Broadcom's VoIP client devices.
"In addition to bridging the gap between GbE networks and IP phones, our new chip integrates a number of new features that will help to further accelerate the adoption of VoIP in the enterprise."
The BCM1103 chip has begun sampling to phone manufacturers today in a 420-pin PBGA lead-free package priced at $25 in quantities of 10,000.
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