Communication processors are devices in communication systems that carry out operations on data such as processing or modifying the data or transferring data to different parts of the system. These processors are specifically optimized to support communication systems. The optimizations are built inside the processor’s software and/or hardware which enables it to perform its tasks in an efficient manner.
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Communications processors interface peripheral devices such as tape units, disk units, printers, terminals, and different networks with the host computer. Data transfer between the communications processor and the host computer is achieved through a high speed parallel interface, while the processor interacts with peripheral devices through serial interfaces and communications networks. Communications processors manage computer communications such as error check and correction, network control, protocol processing, data buffering and routing, and data format conversion. Thus, the use of such processors off-loads the host computer from tasks such as, transmitting/receiving messages and managing peripheral devices. A fundamental responsibility of these processors is traffic management which includes establishing and controlling communications between data terminal equipment, switching devices, intranet, and a host computer. Continuous research and development has resulted in the development of advanced communications processors with utilities for monitoring response time, event logging, diagnostic testing, system administration, and terminal status indication. Depending on the configuration, vendor, and the environment, communications processors are referred to as gateway switches, communications servers, hubs, front-end processors (FEPs), and controllers.
Communications processors are classified on the basis of their flexibility, features, and capabilities. These include the type of terminal equipment supported, aggregate bandwidth, and the host interfaces and protocols supported. To create a required configuration, the communications processor application software is customized, and this process is referred to as system generation. The growing need for multi-functionality on devices is the primary factor driving the communications processor market. Rising demand for wireless communication and the rapid growth of the global consumer electronics market is further fueling the demand of communications processors. The emergence of cloud computing and virtualization is further likely to boost the communications processor market. Multicore communications processors enable better network visibility, scalability, and manageability in supporting software defined networking (SDN) and the adoption of network functions virtualization (NFV) by telecom operators, cloud and web service providers. Such multicore processors are expected to further drive the global communications processor market.
The communications processor market can be segmented on the basis of communications systems, layer in the communication system, applications, and regions. On the basis of communications systems, the market can be further categorized into wired and wireless. Furthermore, on the basis layer in the communication, the market can be segmented into the physical layer, the control layer, and the network layer. Also, on the basis of applications, the market can be further sub-segmented into communications network infrastructure, consumer electronics, computer hardware, automotive, medical/healthcare, and industrial control and automation systems. Geographically, the market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and South America.
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The major players in the communications processor market include Avago Technologies, A Broadcom Limited Company, Cavium, NXP Semiconductors N.V., Intel Corporation, IXYS Corporation, Marvell Technology Group, Ltd., Microsemi Corporation, Qualcomm Inc., Texas Instruments, Inc., and Motorola, Inc.
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