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HyperTransport adds networking extensions

HyperTransport adds networking extensions

The HyperTransport Technology Consortium has unveiled networking extensions to HyperTransport that are designed to help move the input/output technology into the high-speed networking and telecommunications markets.

By addressing the requirements in those spaces, HyperTransport is looking to gain inroads before rival technologies are positioned to stake a claim.


HyperTransport is designed as a next-generation I/O for chip-to-chip communications and as a network processor bus technology. The technology, originally launched by Advanced Micro Devices, has gained a great deal of industry support, including backing by Apple Computers, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Nvidia, PMC-Sierra, SGI, Sun Microsystems and Transmeta.

The move is not too surprising, considering the number of consortium members that are major players in the networking and communications space, such as Cisco and Broadcom.


The extensions are designed to work with existing HyperTransport products as well as other bus technologies like PCI, Gigabit Ethernet and InfiniBand. The extensions include a message-passing protocol that allows for larger packet size, a new error-handling protocol, and the addition of 16 streaming point-to-point flow-controlled virtual channels that also enable support of millions of end-to-end flow-controlled virtual channels.

It will also feature support for peer-to-peer transfers and 64-bit addresses, and includes increased support for concurrent host transactions. The extensions are expected to be available in the second half of the year.


There are two technologies that will compete in one form or another with HyperTransport.

PCI Express, formerly 3GIO, is the next generation of PCI technology that is being spearheaded by Intel. AMD and other supporters of HyperTransport are also on the PCI-SIG board and approved PCI Express technology. They all claim that the two technologies will coexist, but there are some doubts. Both look to be competing for the role of next-generation I/O in the networking router, hub and switch market.

RapidIO, being pushed by IBM and Motorola, is focused on next-generation communications equipment, an area where both have seen strong sales with PowerPC-based products.


The expansion into the high-speed networking and communications equipment markets is very positive for HyperTransport. With the slowdown in some of these segments, developers will have time to examine and test the technology and still get products out quickly.

By simplifying and reducing the number of interconnects needed, HyperTransport can make it easier to get high-speed equipment to market in a timely manner while also lowering development costs.

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