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Broadcom unveils network security chips

The chipmaker plans to announce on Monday a new family of all-in-one processors that the company hopes will drive down costs for security-enhanced network communications.

Chipmaker Broadcom plans to announce Monday a new family of all-in-one processors that the company hopes will drive down costs for security-enhanced network communications.

The chips, part of the company's Sentry5 line of products, combine fast Ethernet and hardware-based security features with a general-purpose processor.

Ford Tamer, general manager for Broadcom's Networking business unit, said the new level of integration will lower the price of routers for home and small-business users.

"Sentry5 meets the demands of our network-equipment customers who require more functionality at cost-conscious price points," Tamer said in a statement.

The new products come as Broadcom is beginning to bounce back after a lack of demand for communications products. The company, which makes chips used in cable modems, set-top boxes and communications equipment, was hit hard by the slow economy and a plummeting demand for Internet infrastructure technology. Broadcom saw its stock drop from a high of $275 in August 2000 to $24.65 on Friday.

The company also offers chips for wireless networking equipment that take advantage of 802.11 wireless technology. The 802.11 standard has become popular in homes and businesses as a way to be mobile but stay connected to the Internet.

The latest chips from Broadcom will focus on home and small-business Internet connections. The processors will allow network hardware makers to build low-cost devices with standard security features.

In addition to having a 200MHz MIPS processor, the chips will include hardware support for the Advanced Encryption Standard and other encryption algorithms, a 5-port 10/100mbps Ethernet switch, and support for a myriad of communications technologies.

The chips are expected to be available in the fall of 2003.