IBM plans high-speed chips for telecoms

Big Blue is set to announce it has signed deals to build high-speed processors for Alcatel and Nortel Networks, which will use the chips to build equipment that speeds Internet delivery.

IBM today will announce it has signed deals to build high-speed processors for telecommunications equipment makers Alcatel and Nortel Networks.

Alcatel and Nortel will use IBM's new network processor to build equipment that Internet service providers and telecommunications carriers use to speed the Internet, an IBM spokesman said.

IBM competes against Intel, Lucent Technologies, Motorola and others to supply chips for the booming communications market. These companies are building a new breed of fast and programmable chips that will power equipment built by networking firms. The new chips will allow service providers to increase Net bandwidth and offer better security and new services, such as phone calls over the Net.

At the Networld+Interop trade show in Las Vegas today, IBM will also announce new software development tools and services that will aid network equipment makers in using IBM's chip, called the Power Network Processor.

IBM has released new tools and testing equipment that networking firms can use to quickly build new services, such as improved security, into their networking gear, the IBM spokesman said. To help networking firms use its processor, Big Blue is opening several consulting offices throughout the world, including one in Raleigh, N.C.

The company also announced it is integrating Nortel's network routing software into its processor. The routing software, which directs network traffic, was previously licensed by Intel for its own network processor.

Competition among chipmakers has begun heating up in recent months as the networking processor market begins to consolidate. Established chipmakers Lucent, Motorola, Conexant and Vitesse Semiconductor have acquired networking chip start-ups in the last six months.

Intel last week said it had begun mass production of its own network processor.

IBM's network processor, currently available as a sample, will ship in mass quantities in the third quarter.