Ishoni Networks Launches Gateway on a Chip

BANGALORE, INDIA (03/22/2000) - Flush with a fresh injection of venture capital money, ishoni Networks Inc. yesterday announced what it calls "Gateway-on-a-Chip" technology for manufacturers making broadband customer premises equipment for Internet service providers and end users.

The ishoni technology integrates, on a single system-on-a-chip (SOC), a variety of processors, including an in-house designed voice DSP (Digital Signal Processor); MIPS Technologies Inc. RISC (reduced instruction set computer) processors for data and control processing; an encryption engine for wire-speed VPN (virtual private network) applications; and commonly required interfaces for xDSL (digital subscriber line), cable and wireless modem chips, Ethernet, USB (Universal Serial Bus), DRAM (dynamic random access memory) and flash memory technology.

The Gateway-on-a-Chip technology is implemented in silicon and software, and ishoni will license the software to OEMs and also sell them the silicon, which will be manufactured at a semiconductor lab in Taiwan. OEMs are expected to sell the customer premises equipment (CPE) built on the technology directly to users or through service providers.

"We are focused on the access part of the networks in the last mile subscriber loop," Prakash Bhalerao, chief executive officer of ishoni Networks, told IDG News Service during a recent visit to Bangalore, where ishoni has a design and development subsidiary. "The idea is to develop an integrated broadband platform so that, for small business users and homes, you can bring in a pipe -- either a DSL, cable, optical, or wireless pipe -- and then split it into voice, data and maybe video at a later point."

The first generation of the platform does not support video, according to Bhalerao, as the bandwidth offered by xDSL does not support DVD quality video.

The architecture is modular, and, depending on their target broadband markets, OEMs will use certain parts of the gateway solution. A FlexibleWAN engine on the silicon gives OEMs the flexibility to offer connectivity to cable, xDSL or other broadband technologies.

"By combining a number of components into a single chip, we are cutting down on the cost of the overall solution," said Satish Sabraya, managing director of ishoni's design and development subsidiary in India. "It also enables OEMs to take this chip and design an entire product range to target various markets, from low-end data markets to high-end voice and data markets."

Most of the silicon design was done by ishoni in the U.S., while the Indian operation in Bangalore developed most of the software component of the solution.

According to Sabraya, the software for the ishoni Broadband Engines (SiBE) technology consists of a C-based software platform architecture with support for off-the-shelf, popular real-time operating systems like Wind River Systems Inc.'s VxWorks and networking protocol stacks, enabling OEMs to write new applications or port their current applications to differentiate their products.

According to Bhalerao, service providers are also likely to want to port their own applications to the platform to offer value-added services such as toll-grade DSL. Another advantage of partitioning the development in silicon and software is that the solution can be quickly upgraded to take advantages of emerging broadband standards. "Software gets you the flexibility to make modifications quickly," added Sabraya.

Ishoni claims to have commitments from some key OEMs in the U.S. Bhalerao, however, declined to disclose the names of these customers. Last week, however, ishoni announced that it has raised $9 million in a second round of funding. A key investor was Lucent Venture Partners, the venture capital arm of telecommunications manufacturer Lucent Technologies Inc.

"Ishoni's silicon and software platform will allow OEMs to combine the functionality of multiple networking systems into one gateway device that is simpler and more cost-effective for the residential and small business buyer," said Neil Vasant, a partner at Lucent Venture Partners.

Ishoni Networks, in Santa Clara, California can be reached at +1-408-350-5800 or on the Web at http://www.ishoni.com/.

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