Two year-old start-up Jato Technologies will roll out a revolutionary class of gigabit silicon within the next few weeks to challenge of next generation high performance network interfaces.
Jato, which counts Michael Dell among its investors, will make chips which combine host offload, bus acceleration and high-speed data-transfer engines. The first shipment of these chips is scheduled for this quarter.
Jato executives have outlined the company's road map, which stresses its position on applying network acceleration techniques to emerging Lan technologies. The company is venturing that most Lan equipment OEMs will grasp the idea of a steady migration path from 10/100 Mbps Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet. Jato's chips are aimed at the higher-volume desktop and workstation markets, and applications for these chips include 10/100/1,000-Mbit Lan cards, routers and switches.
Jato executives said its Netcelerator architecture offloads from host processors in a system by embedding TCP/IP protocol processing functions in the chip itself. The Netcelerator architecture makes older Ethernet media access layer and processor-based controllers, which provide limited on-board memory, minimal integration and no host-offload functions, obsolete.
"A network accelerator is basically a superset of a media access layer controller," said Blaine Kohl, Jato's product marketing manager. "We still have the media access layer functionality in the chip, but we also bring host offload functions, intelligent operation, optimised systems interface and bus accelerator engines onto the chip.?
The media access layer defines the protocols that control communications over an Ethernet link. Gigabit Ethernet will require minor media access layer changes. Jato, a fabless IC design company, will compete against vendors such as Hewlett Packard, LSI Logic and Packet Engines in the small but growing list of vendors looking at the Gigabit chip market.
According to projections for Gigabit Ethernet, market research firm Dataquest, recently downgraded its forecast for Gigabit Ethernet. Jeremy Donovan, an analyst at the San Jose based research firm, reported that while predictions of an overall market of nearly $3 billion by 2002 for 10/100/1000 Ethernet silicon aimed at controller, transceiver and switch applications, Dataquest reports media access layer use at a relatively modest $39 million segment.
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