Bay Microsystems Inc. will work with Network Equipment Technologies Inc. on the next phase of an effort to develop multiservice switching platforms for the Pentagon’s Global Information Grid and other secure networks operated by U.S. intelligence agencies.
The partners will develop a 2U chassis capable of aggregating Internet Protocol, Asynchronous Transfer Mode and Time-Division Multiplexed traffic.
Bay Microsystems (San Jose, Calif.) specializes in network processors and designing its chips into secure network architectures. It announced a contract in May for a processor chip that will be used as the basis for a secure broadband network managed by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
Bay Microsystems CEO Chuck Gershman said the new contract moves “beyond proof-of-concept to a specific systems architecture."
The unit being developed for NRO and the DoD network nodes is mesh-based and scaleable to higher speeds. NET CEO C. Nicholas Keating said “it absolutely has opportunities in other venues, anytime IP, ATM and TDM traffic is brought together,” though the system under development is strictly for secure government networks.
Gershman said the system will play an important role in bringing storage clusters and high-performance computers together over a network that handles data and video. That's possible through the use of storage-area networks and serial protocols such as Fibre Channel and Infiniband.
NET (Fremont, Calif.) was one of the first investors in ATM in the early 1990s. It has continued to explore how circuit emulation can be performed using a mix of IP and cell-based technologies.
Keating said his company’s involvement in the U.S. project results from a series of fortuitous ties with Bay and intelligence agencies, including the fact that both he and Gershman had worked for ATM chip specialist Integrated Telecom Technology before it was acquired by PMC-Sierra Inc. Before heading NET, Keating also had worked for IP Infusion, whose middleware will be used in Bay processors.