August 31, 2009, Updated September 13, 2012

Bid farewell to communications towers, antennas and tangles of wires. A new silicon chip from Israel can provide all your connectivity solutions in one tidy box.

ATM, HDLC, POS, MLPPP. Then there’s IMA. And let’s not forget SONET/SDH, PDH, MPLS, PWE3, Ethernet, EoS/EoPDH, GFP – and, of course, VCAT. Et al.

If these acronyms for network protocols make your eyes glaze over, you may be pleased to know that even network geeks get the blues when faced with all these diverse connectivity protocols.

The scoop is that struggling with network standards and connectivity could become a thing of the past, thanks to Israel’s Siverge Networks.

Siverge president & CTO, Moshe De-Leon, says that the company has come up with a truly visionary invention – a silicon chip that, when included in a networking system such as a router, hub, switch, or other connectivity box, will automatically enable that device to work with any existing networking protocol.

That’s really big news for service providers and vendors who struggle daily trying to fit square pegs into round holes – or, in techspeak, trying to figure out ways to get equipment designed for new technologies to work with old, standard equipment.

A single device that’s compatible with all

In order to sell their services to the established phone companies that are still using the wired PSTN network, the newer companies have to develop hardware that can connect easily to that older network.

Since there are various connectivity protocols in use at phone companies – which are different from those in use by other potential customers, like ISPs, cell phone service providers, GPS service providers, video service providers, etc. – the new system companies have to come up with equipment that can connect with those networks as well.

That’s an expensive hassle, especially for small companies that are already stretching their resources.

Enter the Siverge one-chip solution. It enables systems to connect to any of the protocols mentioned above – and all that connectivity capability is folded into a single chip.

That means that if they use Siverge chips, manufacturers of back-end communication equipment can now be sure that their devices will work anytime, anywhere, with any service provider using network technology developed over the past three decades.

As big as Instant Messaging

Most people aren’t aware of it yet, but the chips developed by Siverge could potentially have as much of an impact on the way companies do business – and the way they provide us with services – as did the invention of Instant Messaging by Israel’s ICQ back in the 1990s, De-Leon tells ISRAEL21c.

For example, he explains, widespread use of Siverge chips could eliminate what has become a major quality of life problem in many residential communities – the proliferation of antennas and towers put up by cell phone service providers to ensure that their customers can connect to users from all networks.

The construction of these towers has led to protests in many communities where residents fear that the electromagnetic radiation that they emit may pose dangers to their health.

The reason companies need all those towers and antennas, says De-Leon, is because they are trying to get their network to connect to the others.

“Service providers use different generations of equipment and everyone needs to ensure that their equipment understands the protocols of other networks. With a Siverge chip, though, a single substation installation – one “box” – could contain all the protocols to connect to all networks, eliminating the need for these multiple installations.”

The same goes for office buildings – or even apartment buildings, adds De-Leon. “Instead of having equipment and wiring for diverse networks for computers, phones, cell phones, and other communication devices and methods, I could provide all services from a single box,” he says.

This would mean savings on the cost of equipment and the elimination of the inevitable tangle of wiring that’s usually stored in the ceiling of a modern office.

The cutthroat world of chips

Located near Tel Aviv in Herzliya Pituach, with a staff of 45, the four-year-old company is working on pilot projects with major international communication giants, and is set to ink some large deals in the coming weeks. But De-Leon won’t reveal any of the details.

It’s not that he doesn’t trust us, he says, it’s just that his description of the chip business is: “cutthroat. Big communication system vendors especially don’t want to disclose whom they are working with, because as soon as they do they face a bidding war, and the fear is that their competitors will use the same chips they do to undermine their markets.”

So it’s unlikely that Siverge will be naming names in their press releases.

It’s unusual to find a small chip-producing startup like Siverge working on the protocol level. That turf usually belongs to the big technology companies like Broadcom and Marvell.

Size has been an issue for Siverge, because, De-Leon says, “big companies prefer to deal with other big companies, not startups.” So Siverge is working on partnerships with big chip sales companies, as well as with those that produce networking equipment.

But De-Leon is full of confidence: “With our chips, communication organizations can save at least between 25 percent and 40% of the money they spend annually on equipment,” he says. “With those kinds of savings in an economy such as the one we face today, the numbers indicate that Siverge has a great future.”

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director