LR Spots IPTV's Weak Link

Developers are straining to keep pace with requirements for higher reliability and more features, according to Light Reading Insider

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

May 4, 2006

3 Min Read

NEW YORK, May 4, 2006 – Efforts by telecom network operators to deliver advanced services like IPTV to residential and business customers may be hampered by design and performance limitations of network line cards, the components that connect telecom switches and routers to end-user access lines, according to the latest report published by the subscription research service Light Reading Insider (

IP Network Line Cards: Next-Gen Challenges analyzes the relationship between emerging network requirements and IP network line card design. It identifies and evaluates the market forces and issues that are influencing line card design, including implications for system, subsystem, and card-level semiconductor vendors.

The 26-page report profiles 20 semiconductor companies in this critical product sector, including an overview of each supplier's networking product portfolio, the applications addressed, and which segments of the network it focuses on. Companies covered in the report include Agere Systems, Advanced Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC), Broadcom, IDT, Intel, and PMC-Sierra.

Delivery of IPTV and other multimedia services is pushing performance requirements beyond what the current generation of IP network line cards can deliver, according to the Light Reading Insider report. "Makers of network line cards are under unprecedented pressure to deliver enhanced services and application-level quality of service, improve security, raise throughput, provide the reliability needed for new content delivery, and at the same time reduce the bill of materials, lower costs, drive down power consumption, and accelerate time-to-market," the report notes. "Today's silicon products are not capable of meeting this challenge."

Silicon design cycles are not yet aligned with market demands, resulting in a time-to-market lag that will continue to pose problems for makers of line cards and the telecom equipment manufacturers they supply, the report continues. "Increasingly function-rich network line cards are a bottleneck in network design," according to the report. "Time-to-market is becoming a serious issue for semiconductor vendors as the design cycle for new network line cards with high-level applications stretches to 18 months or more."

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Product differentiation in the line card sector is now taking place in middleware and software, rather than hardware.

  • Line card manufacturers will face intense cost pressure as more emphasis is placed on access network solutions.

  • Not all semiconductors on today's network line cards offer the reliability required to deliver IPTV service.

  • Features and functions on network line cards are likely to change dramatically over the next three to five years.

IP Network Line Cards: Next-Gen Challenges, a 26-page report, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Light Reading Insider, priced at $1,350. Individual reports are available for $900.

To subscribe, or for more information, please visit:

For more information, or to request a free executive summary, contact:

Jeff Claudino
Director of Sales
Insider Research Services
[email protected]

Press/analyst contact:

Dennis Mendyk
Managing Director, Heavy Reading
[email protected]

About Light Reading
Light Reading Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of CMP Media, is a B-to-B network information provider. Light Reading publishes, the leading global content site for the telecom industry;, a storage networking site;, dedicated to wireless networking; and, an IT security site. Light Reading is also affiliated with, a market research site for quantitative analysis of telecom technology to carriers, service providers, and vendors.

About CMP Media
Through its market-leading portfolio of trusted information brands in the technology, healthcare, and lifestyles industries, CMP Media ( has earned the confidence of more professionals and enthusiasts in these fields than any other media company. As a result, CMP is the premier provider of access, insight, and actionable programs designed to connect sellers and buyers in each of these industries in ways that yield superior return on investment. CMP Media is a subsidiary of United Business Media (, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $3 billion.

About the Author(s)

Dark Reading Staff

Dark Reading

Dark Reading is a leading cybersecurity media site.

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