I want to implement an Ethernet switch using Broadcom's chips. Are singing an NDA and getting the datasheets enough to work with the chips? I have heard that the chips must be programmed by a special OS and software that are not available easily, even by Broadcom!

Could anyone who has worked with Broadcom's Ethernet switching chips explain them and their setting up procedure? What steps are needed to make them work? Is it hard to work with them?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, I thought the chips have something such as I2C interface by which we totally configure them. Is the setting up procedure different from my assumption? \$\endgroup\$ – M.H Jan 21 at 6:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ The best person to answer this question is probably not somebody who, if they knew, would be under an NDA not to tell, but your Broadcom salesperson. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Jan 21 at 6:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ This question is problematic for many reasons - starting with the fact that you haven't identified a specific device or even specific family. Generally if you want to learn about something without formal documentation, buy a product that uses it to analyze. If you are concerned about customization, buy a chip off the shelf and substitute it and see if the product still works (if you can't buy the chip then the whole idea is moot). For a small quantity you should perhaps consider buying an assembled switch to accessorize whatever custom thing you are making. Or chose a chip with data... \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Jan 21 at 7:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ All of the switch devices I have used (including Broadcom's) require set-up, but the interface has always been host independent. Some devices come complete with a microprocessor inside. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Smith Jan 21 at 9:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe some off-topic, but... After Microchip bought Micrel, PMC-Sierra, Microsemi, and Vitesse and opened the corresponding datasheets (most if not all in NDA-free manner), is there any reason to use something NDA-limited, atleast in the area of (wired) Ethernet switches and/or for the task of getting the first experience? \$\endgroup\$ – asndre May 24 at 17:05

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