Broadcom uses Perle Terminal Servers in its R+D Labs

Perle Systems Case Study


Broadcom Limited is a Fortune 500 semiconductor manufacturer for wired and wireless communications.

To stay ahead of the competition in the fiercely competitive Telecommunications market, manufacturers spend huge sums on Research and Development. Broadcom spends more than $800 million dollars per quarter on R&D in labs located around the world.

For many years, Broadcom has been using Perle IOLAN Terminal Servers in these labs. Serial data acquired from microcontroller test beds in the lab is sent over Ethernet to remote servers using Perle Terminal Servers as the interface. Broadcom have been using Perle products for years and count on their performance, security and reliability every-day

Thousands of IOLAN Terminal Servers have been installed in numerous Broadcom locations around the world.


About Broadcom:

Broadcom Limited is a diversified global semiconductor leader built on 50 years of innovation, collaboration and engineering excellence. With roots based in the rich technical heritage of technology powerhouses AT&T/Bell Labs, Lucent and Hewlett-Packard/Agilent, Broadcom focuses on technologies that connect our world. With the addition of industry leaders LSI, Avago Technologies and Broadcom Corporation, the company has the size, scope and engineering talent to continue leading the industry into the future.


BT chooses Perle Terminal Servers for remote access and management of LDU’s


iolan-sts8dc_lgThe “residential phoneline” section of BT was operating a mixed X.25 and Ethernet environment. The goal for BT was to get rid of the X.25 WAN and have a direct IP connection to Loop Diagnostic Units (LDU). This would enable them to communicate with the exchanges at a much higher speed, allowing them to service their customers more efficiently and quickly. While moving to an IP Network, it was important not to replace all of the existing infrastructure that was not at the end of its lifecycle.

The Scenario:

A residential customer reports that their phone line appears not to be working. At BT’s headquarters a test of the line, via the exchange, is initiated. To test a phone line engineers connect to a LDU (Loop Diagnostic Unit) at the exchange that checks the line. This first check indicates whether the line is clear and operating or whether further investigation is required and an Engineer needs to be dispatched.

This initial check was previously done across the X.25 Network. A user on a remote network opened an application, entered an IP address and a port number, and sent a command to an LDU across the LAN and then through X.25 pads to a serial connection on the LDU. The LDU communicates via a serial link to request the specific line to test. The HQ gives the LDU the line or a batch of lines, the LDU tests and feeds back to the user on the LAN.

BT wanted a direct IP connection to the LDU, replacing the X.25, which would enable them to communicate with the exchanges at a much higher speed, allowing them to service their customers more efficiently and quickly. There was no requirement to replace the LDU, as this had not reached the end of its lifecycle. However there was a need to be able to access it over Ethernet, securely and remotely.

Most exchange sites have one LDU. Some have more than one requiring a higher number of serial ports. Each LDU has 4 serial ports, consisting of an admin port, a port to the exchange, an Xserver port, and a serial port for Ethernet Connectivity.

Working closely with Perle Systems, a suitable product from the IOLAN Terminal Server range was quickly identified. The selection process focused on key requirements including:

Redundancy – a backup feature to support the LDU’s in the event of loss of power
Security – meeting BT’s “Safe to Connect” Standard
Support – local UK based support.

IOLAN STS 8 DC Terminal Servers were installed at the Exchange sites, and connected to the LDU’s.

IOLAN Terminal Servers from Perle Systems helped BT keep their LDU’s while accessing them over IP remotely.


o meet the redundant power requirement, Perle IOLAN STS8 DC Terminal Servers were connected to 2 fused 50v feeds generated by a dedicated Wind Farm with a centralised earth going into the primary and secondary DC power inputs. The dual feed DC IOLAN Terminal Servers from Perle operate so that in the event the primary power source is depleted, the IOLAN pulls power from the secondary source and is able to switch back and forth as necessary, thereby ensuring continuous operation.

In addition, after extensive testing,  Perle IOLAN STS Terminal Servers underwent and passed BT’s “Safe to Connect” requirements, which is a series of requirements more stringent than normal Telco testing would require. The whole of the IOLAN STS Terminal Server range was tested and met the various standards needed.

IOLAN STS DC Rack Terminal Server is available with 4, 8 or 16 RS232 RJ45 Ports, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, Dual Feed 48v DC power ( 36 to 72v DC range ) and an advanced security feature set.


FarSync T4Ee – advanced PCIe synchronous / asynchronous card

The FarSync T4Ee is a highly flexible PCIe communications card featuring 4 high speed synchronous / asynchronous / bisynchronous ports with NRZ, NRZI, Manchester Encoding, Conditioned Di-Phase, FM0 and FM1 line signal encoding, fully flexible clocking and a full range of interface signals for RS530, RS449, RS232, RS485 (2 and 4 wire), V.35 and X.21.

T4Ee-300x244At the centre of the card design is a FarSite Communication Controller, a high flexible CPLD that allows the extended range of communications facilities to be supported plus having the capability for further modes of operation to be added, including special or unusual protocols on a custom design basis. Line termination can be software configured line by line.

There is a very wide range of internal clock speeds that can be generated, up to 10 Mbits/s with a total card bandwidth of 64Mbits/s plus the capability for custom clock speeds to be supported through simple software configuration. The 5 clock generators on board permit very flexible routing of clocks between ports including multiplication or division of clocks speed while maintaining clock phase and feeding clocks from one port to other ports.

The card is the 4 port big brother for the 2 port FarSync T2Ee.

For further details see FarSync T4Ee or contact us for further information.


FarLinX Connect Mini – A HDLC to TCP Converter and HDLC over TCP Bridge

The FarLinX Connect Mini is a compact multi mode HDLC bridging appliance. It allows HDLC lines to be bridged securely across the Internet or other /IP networks and also enables HDLC connection data to be adapted to operate over a TCP connection.

All this is easy to securely manage from your browser. There are also daily activity logs with a selectable level of detail, automatically archived on a daily basis. The SNMP support provides alerts for numerous different conditions including critical events such as line down and line up. A line monitor supplied permits analysis of the HDLC line.

Key Features

  • FMG_Front_300x120TCP to HDLC conversion with the route created statically or dynamically, handles a variety of modes including: character streaming and frame length defined
    HDLC ? Internet ? HDLC bridging including static or dynamic routing
  • LAN accessible HDLC line as a sharable remotely manageable resource
  • Choice of HDLC network interface connections: RS232 (V.24), V.35, RS422, RS530, RS449, X.21, RS485
  • HDLC line speeds up to 1Mbps and over 1,200 frames per second each way
  • Line Monitor to view HDLC traffic for easy network problem diagnosis
  • Optional support for authentication and data security using IPSEC over TCP
  • IP and IPv6 support
  • Browser graphical configuration, SNMP alerts for critical events and activity logging
  • Real time display of current connections, line performance, errors, connections and much more
  • Small rugged low profile all metal case, low power consumption

Typical Applications

  • Transparently bridge HDLC type lines over the Internet, reducing line rental costs
  • Allow TCP/IP access to a HDLC line where the HDLC line data is provided over the TCP connection
  • LAN accessible and sharable HDLC port resource

For further details see FarLinX Connect Mini or contact us for further information.