|Standard ICs Integrated||
ASSPs for multi-port Ethernet switches are widely available from different vendors and can be used to meet the requirements of a number of applications. However, these ASSPs are designed for typical networking applications and do not provide good solutions for applications that require specific features, such as ports of varying speeds or an odd number of ports. With a programmable logic-based architecture, a highly customized Layer 2 Ethernet switch can be easily implemented that also increases integration by incorporating Ethernet MACs, bridges to other communications protocols, and processor functionality.
To overcome the limitations of Ethernet switch ASSPs, MorethanIP, an Altera partner, developed a flexible Ethernet switching engine based on Altera® FPGAs. The adaptable engine enables designers to develop optimal solutions for the following customization scenarios:
- Additional functions such as PCI or POS-PHY/system packet interface (SPI) are needed to complement the Ethernet switch
- Connectivity to a large number of standard parts such as SONET/SDH framers or VoIP processors is required
- Connectivity to systems such as proprietary backplanes or host computers via PCI/PCI-X is desired
Figure 1: Ethernet Switching Engine Block Diagram
When implemented in Altera’s high-performance FPGAs, the Ethernet switching engine provides up to 8-Gbps switching capabilities. This bandwidth can be distributed flexibly among any number of ports to meet the specific needs of custom applications.