Massively parallel network processor uses scores of ARC[tm] microprocessor cores
Elstree, England, 15 October 2001 - ARC International plc (LSE: ARK), trading through its subsidiaries as ARC Cores, has announced that the new NPE10 network processor from Internet Machines Corp. (Agoura Hills, Calif.) contains scores of ARC microprocessor cores. The massively parallel NPE10 is a fully programmable, single-chip processing engine capable of delivering wire-speed packet processing at full-duplex OC-192c (10Gbps) rates. It's part of Internet Machines' recently introduced IMpower[tm] family.
Previously announced network processors and SoCs from other ARC customers have packed as many as 16 ARC cores on a single chip. The NPE10 far surpasses that level of chip integration. Internet Machines plans to disclose more details about the NPE10 - including the exact number of ARC cores in the design - shortly before delivering the chip early in 2002.
"We chose the ARC microprocessor core because it was very small and easy to work with," said Chris Haywood, vice president of engineering at Internet Machines. "It has great performance per gate and is easy to configure and extend. We liked the auxiliary register space, which provides a direct, fast, inside-the-pipeline interface to hardware. Close integration with hardware was the essential requirement. The ARC core is much more open to low-level hardware interfacing than other configurable processor cores."
The NPE10 can look deeply into packet headers to analyze, prioritize, and tag incoming streams of network traffic while forwarding the packets toward their destinations. It can simultaneously support multiple types of protocols and services on different subchannels. Yet despite its powerful architecture, the NPE10 is easy to use. It has a straightforward, single-threaded programming model that simplifies design integration, and programmers can use familiar, off-the-shelf GNU compilers, assemblers, and other development tools.
Industry analysts are praising the NPE10. Eric Mantion, senior analyst for networking technology at Cahners In-Stat, said the NPE10 "will be hitting the market at the sweet spot of the curve, just as the OC-192 NPU market starts climbing rapidly to $2.8 billion in 2005. Internet Machines understands the two most important - but often overlooked - truths of the network processor world: without well-written software and a strong connection to a flexible switch fabric, an NPU is just an expensive, eight-gram paperweight."
As many embedded-system developers are discovering, the user-customizable ARCtangent[tm] core lends itself to powerful multiprocessor designs. "While some competing vendors are only now introducing features to make their cores suitable for complex SoC designs, the ARCtangent core and our software-development tools have supported large-scale chip multiprocessing for a long time," said Wasim Ahmed, product marketing manager.
Notes for Editors
OC-192c is an optical-carrier transmission level for fiber-optic networks. It is part of the SONET (Synchronous Optical Network) standard defined by the Exchange Carriers Standards Association (ECSA) for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Before SONET, first-generation fiber-optic networks used proprietary specifications; SONET defines industry standards for transmission methods and equipment. The SONET base signal (OC-1) is 51.84Mbps. Higher OC levels are multiples of the base signal. Hence, OC-192 is 192 x 51.84Mbps, or 9,953.28Mbps (about 10Gbps). OC-192 is an extremely fast transmission level intended for the core of large networks such as the Internet. For more background, see the tutorial at the International Engineering Consortium web site: http://www.iec.org/online/tutorials/sonet/topic01.html
About ARC International
ARC International plc is a leading developer of user-customizable, high-performance microprocessor cores, including the ARCtangent[tm] processor, and related intellectual property that enables designers to reduce time to market for their system-on-chip products. More than 50 customers use ARC's technology, including: Austria Mikro Systeme, BrightCom, Conexant Systems, Cypress Semiconductor, Fujitsu Microelectronics, IBM, Infineon Technologies, QLogic, SanDisk, Texas Instruments, and VTech Communications. Products available based on ARC's technology include digital still cameras, set-top boxes, and network processors.
MetaWare Inc., Precise Software Technologies Inc., and VAutomation Inc. are wholly owned subsidiaries of ARC International, providing software development tools, hardware and software intellectual property and real-time operating systems for an integrated approach to system-on-chip development. ARC's third-party partners include Cadence, Flextronics, Intrinsix, Synopsys, TSMC, UMC, Wind River, and Xilinx.
With headquarters in Elstree, England, ARC International plc and its group companies employ more than 200 people in research and development, sales, and marketing offices across North America, Europe, and Israel. ARC International plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:ARK). The company's web site is at www.arccores.com.
Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts include forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ from those indicated by such forward-looking statements include, among others, market acceptance of the ARC technology; fluctuations in and unpredictability of the Company's quarterly results; general economic and business conditions; regulatory policies adopted by governmental authorities; assumptions regarding the Company's future business strategy; changes in technology; competition; ability to attract and retain qualified personnel; risks associated with the Company's international operations; and other uncertainties that are discussed in the "Investment Considerations" section of the Company's listing particulars dated 28 September 2000 filed with the United Kingdom Listing Authority and the Registrar of Companies in England and Wales.
ARC International (UK) Ltd. and ARC Cores, Inc., both of which are wholly owned subsidiaries of ARC International plc, trade under the name of ARC Cores. ARC, the ARC logo, ARCtangent, ARCangel, ARCompact, ARChitect, ARCform, BlueForm, and CASSEIA are trademarks of ARC International (UK) Ltd. All other brands or product names are the property of their respective holders.