UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering University of California San Diego
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Switch Fabric
Invention by Ken Yun Reaches Marketplace

Kenneth Yun thinks the barriers between wireless carriers and optical fiber networks must be broken down—allowing wireless services easy access to fiber bandwidth to offload data on routes where wireline service is more available and economical. The Jacobs School electrical and computer engineering professor is working on technology that could lift that barrier and make it easier for wireless and fiber operators to share each other’s networks.

Yun is no newcomer to invention. In the late 1990s, he created a new type of network switching architecture that is scalable from today’s high-end bandwidth of 40 gigabits per second (Gbps)—to more than one terabit (i.e., 1,000 gigabits) per second. In 1999, he took a leave of absence from the Jacobs School to create a new company with his investment-banker sister, Kay. Barely six months later, they sold that company—YuniNetworks, Inc.—to San Diego-based Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC), a world leader in high-bandwidth optical networking circuits.

Now, AMCC—where Yun is also employed—is in the latter stages of development of a high-end switch fabric that is based on the academic’s architecture. (A switch fabric combines hardware and software to move data coming into a network node out by the correct port to the next node in the network while maintaining the quality of service requirements imposed by subscribers.) Called the nPX8005, the device would be used for high-speed network core switching, but also in metro and access networks. Most importantly, the technology conceived by Yun is scalable, suitable for user bandwidths ranging from just 10Gbps (OC-192), up to 128 times that bandwidth, or 1.28 terabits per second. “It is the first terabit-scale switch fabric on the market,” notes Yun proudly.