IBM, Intel and Alcatel have setup an industry group aimed at speeding up the development of next-generation networking and telecommunications products.
The Network Processing Forum (NPF), which includes members including Effnet, Exbit and Phillips Semiconductor, has established working groups in hardware, software, benchmarking and education. It also plans to establish common specifications.
The forum combines industry groups, the Common Switch Interface Consortium (CSIX) and the Common Program Interface Forum (CPIX), which had been working on networking inititatives.
The NPF will carry on with the CSIX's CSIX-L1 specification, which defines a hardware interface between network processors and switching fabric. An updated specification is due to be released late summer.
The specification deals with current network speeds and is expected to work with future networks operating at up to OC-768 or 40Gbps. The agenda also includes garnering industry consensus for network application programming interfaces, high-level programming languages and tool sets for equipment developers.
NPF chief executive, Colin Mick said: "We see tremendous changes in the network processing industry that will soon affect everything from the competitive landscape to the industry players which drive the need for specifications."
According to market researcher Sterling Research, the network processing industry has blossomed into an energised and highly diversified market. Sterling Research analyst John Metz said: "For continued market innovation and growth comes the necessity to adopt universally accepted specifications and industry benchmarks."
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