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Switch chip based on Zurich's Prizma switch architecture moves network traffic four times faster

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Zurich, Switzerland, September 2001—IBM announced a new packet routing switch (PRS) based on the Prizma Switch architecture developed at IBM Research - Zurich. The new chip, PowerPRS Q-64G, performs four times faster than the previous generation, yet does so with a far more compact design.

IBM's previous generation of switches moved data at up to 128 gigabits per second (Gbps). The new high-integration IBM PowerPRS Q-64G chip, however, enables the development of scalable single-stage switch fabrics with an aggregate throughput of up to 512 Gbps and does so in a single board with only eight compact, highly integrated chips.

"Some of our competitors need 200 or more chips on as many as 16 boards to achieve the same comparable throughput and number of ports," said Gilles Garcia, packet routing switch marketing manager, IBM Microelectronics. "This enhancement is designed to meet the need for integrated, compact solutions using a proven architecture."

The latest generation of the IBM family of packet routing switch products is an easy-to-use, easy-to-implement solution that fits into a wide range of applications, including enterprise and WAN edge, Web content routers, SANs, multiservice backbone switches and mobile base stations. It allows customers to deliver highly demanding bandwidth applications in a very compact switch fabric board form factor and to evolve to a higher aggregate throughput and number of ports without replacing entire systems.

The IBM PowerPRS Q-64G features up to 32 ports at 10 Gbps (OC192c standard). Because a switch fabric-based port can also be configured as 4 subports at 2.5 Gbps/OC48c each, the IBM technology can provide up to 128 ports on a switch fabric. The switch can be configured as 16 x 16 OC192c/10 Gbps ports in a 4-chip configuration, yielding 256 Gbps aggregate throughput or 32 x 32 OC192c/10 Gbps ports in an 8-chip configuration, yielding 512 Gbps aggregate throughput.

Zurich's Prizma switch architecture is not only fundamental for most advanced switching components in the networking industry, it has also provided artistic inspiration to Professor Bernhard Korte of the Research Institute for Discrete Mathematics, who created the physical design tools used by IBM's Böblingen development lab to layout the chip. Professor Korte presented an artistic rendition entitled "Johannes 2" to Johannes Rau, President of the German Federal Republic, see the online report published in the "General-Anzeiger" in Bonn/Germany (image of the design included).

Press contact

Nicole Strachowski
Media Relations
IBM Research - Zurich
Tel +41 44 724 84 45

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