Cisco enters chip market with network processor

December 16, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
Cisco enters chip market with network processor
Cisco Systems has announced it is shipping a network processor called the Silicon One or Q100. Cisco also announced the 8000 router using the silicon.

Cisco had previously been a customer for network processors. Reportedly the Silicon One is not only powering Cisco hardware, such as the Cisco 8000 router but also shipping to Facebook and Microsoft.

The company has reportedly spent $1 billion on developing a new approach to networking and the design of the Silicon One ASIC. Cisco's approach is now characterized as "silicon plus optics plus software."

Cisco's 8000 router is designed to support 400 Gbps and higher port rates.

The Silicon One is intended to be a universal networking processor that can be deployed in data centers, in modular networking equipment and in enterprise routers. It operates at 10 terabits per second and is expected to scale up to 25 Tbps.

The chip seems to be descended from Cisco's acquisition of Leabe Semiconductor Ltd. (Caesarea, Israel) in March 2016.

Cisco does not appear to have disclosed what foundry is manufacturing the chip or what manufacturing process is being used. As the technology is likely to be close to the leading edge the likely candidates are TSMC and Samsung and in a FinFET manufacturing process.

www.cisco.com


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