by CIO Staff

Cisco to Buy Ethernet Chipmaker Greenfield

Nov 13, 2006 2 mins

Cisco Systems will add switch-silicon vendor Greenfield Networks to its arsenal for metro Ethernet, a technology many service providers are now rolling out for business customers.

Privately held Greenfield, founded in 2000, makes processors that can handle advanced functions in Ethernet switches and are positioned for carrier Ethernet networks. It is headed by Bill Rossi, former head of Cisco’s wireless networking unit, and several other ex-Cisco executives. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Metro Ethernet extends the familiar LAN technology out to a regionwide scale. Service providers are using it to offer high-speed business services with flexible bandwidth and an interface that enterprise network staffs already understand. Ethernet also generally costs less than traditional carrier network technologies, proponents say.

Cisco is already a major player in metro Ethernet. Greenfield’s technology is complementary and will be integrated with Cisco’s own, helping the company bring out new carrier-class features more quickly, Cisco said. Greenfield’s products support features such as packet prioritization, guaranteed bandwidth, multiprotocol label switching and IP Version 6.

Greenfield is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has 60 employees there and in Bangalore, India. With regulatory approvals, the deal should close in the second quarter of Cisco’s 2007 fiscal year, which ends in January. The employees and products will be integrated into Cisco’s Ethernet and wireless technology group.

-Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau)

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