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Unisphere Networks Introduces Second-Generation Edge-Optimized ASICs

Custom-designed Edge Service Processors Extend Processing Power and Speed Up to 6.2 Million Packets per Second

WESTFORD, MA - January 14, 2002 - Unisphere Networks, Inc., today introduced the Unisphere ESP II (Edge Service Processor), a second-generation, custom-designed ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) for its ERX edge routers. The original edge service processor, Unisphere ESP I, was introduced in the ERX in April 1999, when the company's engineers recognized a need in the market for a custom-designed ASIC that was optimized specifically to meet performance demands at the network edge. The power and speed of the Unisphere ESP I custom ASICs are a driving force behind the performance of revenue-generating services of more than 100 service provider networks worldwide.

Both the first and second-generation of these edge-optimized ASICs are custom-designed by Unisphere Networks and manufactured by IBM Corporation. Pioneers in custom edge routing ASIC design and development, Unisphere Networks has raised the standard for edge router performance by increasing the processing power up to 6.2 million packets per second. This speed is necessary to meet the forwarding demands of the Internet edge and enables providers to deploy revenue-generating services.

"Unisphere Networks' introduction of a second-generation edge service processor demonstrates its continued commitment to service providers' edge and validates its investment in edge-specific ASICs. As service providers seek to overcome their profitability challenges, they will look to innovative, scaleable and future-proofed edge solutions," said Kevin Mitchell, directing analyst, Infonetics Research. "The Unisphere ESP edge-optimized architecture clearly lends itself to helping service providers solve this problem."

Unisphere Networks' custom ASIC-based architecture supports wire-speed forwarding of packets on system interfaces by completing routing and frame processing functions in hardware. Edge routers that rely solely on software-based (RISC) processing are less suited to meet the processor intensive needs of edge functions like IP Quality of Service, MPLS, VPNs, Flexible Bandwidth, Security and Multicast. The use of ASICs benefits Unisphere Networks' customers by increasing routing performance and reducing the overall product size and operational costs.

The Unisphere ESP II ASICs are distributed to each line module within the edge router. This architecture combines the performance benefits of a hardware-based solution with the flexibility of a software-based solution. This gives the ERX family the ability to more quickly and more easily provide support for routing functionality or IP services without requiring a change in hardware. Other edge platforms require a hardware upgrade to support additional functionality such as subscriber management, MPLS or any type of new encapsulation protocols.

"The Unisphere ESP II is a stepping stone toward higher speed interfaces and increased scalability at the network edge," said Jim Dolce, president and CEO of Unisphere Networks. "Service providers are beginning to recognize the limitations of legacy infrastructures that are not based on a custom-designed ASIC architecture. In order to deploy the next-generation services that are central to their business models moving forward, they require routers that are built to both route and classify packets at wire speed."

About the ERX Edge Router Family Unisphere Networks' ERX family of edge routers delivers the next-generation IP infrastructure that enables many of the world's leading service providers to deploy high-speed Internet connections and value-added IP services to both businesses and consumers. The ERX product family provides wire-speed performance, sophisticated routing capabilities, carrier-class reliability and high capacity port density and features leading-edge technologies such as IP QoS, Virtual Private Networks and MPLS. Used in combination with Unisphere Networks' Service Selection Center (SSC), ERX Eedge Routers provide a comprehensive dynamic service creation, activation and accounting system that delivers revenue-generating services, such as tiered Internet and media rich services. Unisphere Networks' ERX product family includes four models: the high-capacity ERX-1440, the mid-range ERX-1400 and ERX-700 and the low-end ERX-705. Each model features a full suite of Internet routing protocols, including BGP-4, IS-IS, OSPF and RIP.

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