Zarlink Expands ClassSwitch Ethernet Platform with New Devices Targeting Triple Play and Enterprise Services

- New ClassSwitch devices featured at Globalcomm 2006

OTTAWA, Canada, May 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Zarlink Semiconductor (NYSE: ZL) (TSX: ZL) today expanded its ClassSwitch Ethernet platform with two new devices enabling lower cost design and faster deployment of network access equipment that must aggregate, inspect and modify real-time traffic in triple play and carrier- grade Ethernet VLAN (virtual local area network) applications.

Seeking new ways to deliver the complete range of applications over more efficient network architectures, carriers are deploying PON technology to carry triple play voice, video and data services over fiber networks. Carriers are also transitioning traditional enterprise services, such as leased lines, to converged end-to-end private VLAN services.

Building on the previously released ClassSwitch devices, the new ZL(TM)33032 and ZL33050 chips are the industry's first Ethernet switches integrating embedded memory with patent-pending protection switching and enhanced per-flow QoS (quality of service) features - key elements in the delivery of advanced services including IPTV (Internet Protocol television) and end-to-end private VLAN. The devices deliver the critical switching and aggregation performance required for IP-DSLAMs (IP-digital subscriber line access multiplexer), MTU/MDU (multi-tenant/multi-dwelling unit) switch systems, PON units, and micro-MSPPs (multi-service provisioning platforms) carrying Ethernet services over SONET/SDH networks.

The ZL33032 embedded memory switch is a fully featured device with 24 FE (Fast Ethernet) + 4 GE (Gigabit Ethernet) ports. The ZL33050 delivers the same features and port configurations, with the option to add external memory to support applications requiring additional traffic burstiness, more complex congestion control and advanced traffic shaping.

"Zarlink's ClassSwitch platform supports robust traffic management and enhanced user policy provisioning, such as service level agreements with programmable packet analysis, required to carry emerging services over last mile networks," said Mauricio Peres, product line director, Packet Switching, Zarlink Semiconductor. "Delivering unparalleled integrated features, including embedded memory and Ethernet-based protection switching, these devices help equipment manufacturers increase reliability and lower development costs for 'last mile' high-performance systems."

Integrated failure detection and protection switching

Zarlink's new ClassSwitch devices integrate rapid failure detection and protection switching features to identify network errors and minimize frame loss. Unlike common "link" based failure detection mechanisms, the ClassSwitch devices feature integrated "protocol" based protection, enabling the user to detect failures at the far-end of the network. The devices incorporate an algorithm capable of periodically sending programmable packet beacons (for example, ping packets) across the network using specialized built-in hardware, without requiring CPU intervention. If a failure occurs in the far-end system all packets belonging to the session can be rapidly diverted to a backup path.

The ClassSwitch devices' internal "path monitoring" timer allows users to program failover response performance. This programmability enables the user to meet current telecom standards for protection switching while ensuring network failures are virtually transparent to the end user.

Bandwidth management and QoS for IP-based applications

Carriers are generating additional revenues by charging a premium for higher bandwidth services, such as VoD (video-on-demand) and enterprise VLAN services. This requires high-intelligence Ethernet switches that can better regulate bandwidth and meet strict SLAs (service level agreements).

Key features integrated into the ZL33032 and ZL33050 ClassSwitch devices, including input/output rate control and per-flow QoS traffic policing, allow carriers to precisely control bandwidth, bill customers for the exact amount of bandwidth used, and improve network bandwidth management.

Programmable rate control can be applied to every 10/100 port independently for incoming and outgoing traffic to ensure customers receive only their subscribed bandwidth. The average traffic rate is reduced to below full wire-speed, and port rate can be flexibly configured in 64 Kpbs increments. On the input side, flow control will be applied on the traffic's source port until the arriving traffic conforms to the configured rate. On the output side, data will continue to be buffered inside the ClassSwitch device until it can be transmitted to the destination at the requested rate.

Integrated flow-based QoS features allow service providers to maintain secure connections for their customers and control access by detecting unique traffic streams and limiting data rates for specific applications. Packets entering the device are classified to a flow based on user-defined rules, using information such as frame source and destination addresses or applications using the Layer 2 to Layer 7 fields of incoming packets. Up to 1,024 distinct flows can be created per device. The architecture supports per- flow two rate, three-color metering and policing. Scheduling algorithms, such as SP (strict priority) and WFQ (weighted fair queuing), manage packets and prioritize traffic.

Flow metering also enhances network security by detecting and discarding illegal or harmful traffic. To further protect against viruses and malicious attacks, ClassSwitch devices integrate a hardware-based DoS (denial of service) attack-flow engine.

Support and availability

Zarlink's ZL33032 and ZL33050 ClassSwitch devices are supported by a full SDK (software development kit) including device driver source code, BSP (board supporting package) for the ClassSwitch evaluation system and a comprehensive set of APIs for chip configuration to simplify the programming of the chip registers and enable faster system development. Evaluation boards cab be ordered with plug-in modules for 100/1000 Ethernet transceivers as well as CPUs based on PowerPC, ARM and MIPS.

The ZL33032 and ZL33050 devices are available now, priced at US$74.00 and US$80.91 respectively at 10 K volumes. Other port configuration such as 16 FE+4 GE and 8 FE+4 GE will be available soon.

For more visit A whitepaper on Zarlink's ClassSwitch technology and advanced MDU/MTU PON systems is also available at,

About Zarlink Semiconductor

For over 30 years, Zarlink Semiconductor has delivered semiconductor solutions that drive the capabilities of voice, enterprise, broadband and wireless communications. The Company's success is built on its technology strengths including voice and data networks, optoelectronics and ultra low- power communications. For more information, visit

Shareholders and other individuals wishing to receive, free of charge, copies of the reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Regulatory Authorities, should visit the Company's web site at or contact investor relations.

Certain statements in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks, uncertainties and assumptions include, among others, the following: rapid technological developments and changes; our ability to achieve profitability and generate positive cash flows in the future; our exposure to product warranty claims resulting from product defects or failures; our dependence on our foundry suppliers and third-party subcontractors; increasing price and product competition; our exposure to currency exchange rate fluctuations and other factors inherent in our international operations; and other factors referenced in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended March 25, 2005. Investors are encouraged to consider the risks detailed in this filing.

Zarlink, ZL and the Zarlink Semiconductor logo are trademarks of Zarlink Semiconductor Inc.

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