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First Nitrogen Family Member Will Enable Customers to Develop Home Routers That are Both Cost Effective and Powerful Enough to Run High-Bandwidth Applications

Virata® Corporation [Nasdaq: VRTA] today unveiled its Nitrogenä 210-80 processor – the first member of a new family of high-performance, low-cost communications processors designed for IP switch/router applications. Targeting the growing home router market, the Nitrogen 210-80 processor features a specially-packaged version of Virata’s Integrated Software on Siliconä (ISOSä) platform to deliver the world’s first fully-integrated firewall, first Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) with NAT traversal solution, and the industry’s highest-performing home router solution announced to date.

In a separate press release today, the company also announced a comprehensive suite of Nitrogen 210-80 home router reference designs that can be used with cable, DSL or other broadband access technologies. These reference designs demonstrate the flexibility of the Nitrogen 210-80 by enabling customers to design products using any of today’s home networking standards: Ethernet, 802.11b, HomePNA or HomeRF.

“The Nitrogen 210-80 delivers 10 times the bridging/routing performance of today’s competitive products, which gives the chip the power to run the processor-intensive applications found in the home,” said Trevor Coleman, vice president of product marketing for Virata.

“When combined with our new reference designs and ISOS platform, the Nitrogen 210-80 will provide the core building blocks for designing home routers; and it also features a low bill of materials due to tight software and hardware integration.”

Home routers in development today are stand-alone devices connected to stand-alone broadband DSL, cable or wireless modem/routers. The combination of the two devices represents a residential gateway, with the broadband modem providing the high-speed Internet connection and the home router allowing PCs and other network devices to be locally networked and to share the Internet connection. Virata expects to find its Nitrogen 210-80 processor powering home routers, while its Helium, Beryllium and Aluminum product families will be found on the DSL modem side of the residential gateway. Virata believes that having Virata-Enabledä ISOS solutions in both devices will provide its customers with maximum interoperability, the highest level of configuration, and a common platform that will enable customers to easily expand their product portfolio from DSL modems or home gateways to emerging single-box multi-services gateways.

Added Coleman, “We believe there is strong market for DSL modems and home routers, as well the emerging multi-services gateways that combine those two devices into one product. Our goal is to provide our customers the building blocks for designing all three of those devices.”

Said Chuang Li, VP & GM of Router Products Division at ActionTec, “We selected Virata’s Nitrogen 210-80 because it delivered the processing power we needed at a price that would enable us to compete aggressively in the home router market. In addition, Virata’s ISOS platform was the only solution we evaluated that included all the necessary software components such as UPnP with NAT traversal, an integrated firewall, and powerful management and auto-configuration software.”

Said Paul Tuong at Telmax, "The Nitrogen 210-80 is a complete hardware and software solution that will help us significantly shorten development cycles and lower overall product costs. We also find it extremely beneficial to have a firewall and UPnP support integrated into the ISOS platform, which means we can add these features at no additional cost or manpower."

About the Nitrogen 210-80 Communications processor

With the addition of the Nitrogen 210-80 communications processor, Virata’s customers will be able to develop a wide range of products targeted at the home router/ home gateway product space. The Nitrogen 210-80 features a dual 80MHz ARM7 processor architecture; and contains a network processor that controls and manages the direct connections to Ethernet and USB, and handles Ethernet bridge filtering and advanced DMA functions. The chip also includes a protocol processor that runs Virata’s high-level bridging and routing software as well as management and control functions such as embedded web management and UPnP software.

The entire Nitrogen family takes advantage of Virata’s unique integration of hardware and software to enable multiple Ethernet and USB ports to be individually configured through software as either switched or routed connections. Switched ports give the highest data throughput, while routed ports offer greater security and manageability. The ability to use USB as a router port enables home users to conveniently connect an extra PC without having to purchase an additional Ethernet port. This unique configuration flexibility for Ethernet and USB ports allows system designers to simplify their system designs and reduce their system and development costs.

Virata has included an embedded 10/100 Mbps Ethernet MAC with an MII interface in the Nitrogen 210-80 to allow for connecting to alternate home networking technologies, such as HomePNA, or to allow a glueless connection to a multi-port Ethernet switch. A multi-port Ethernet switch enables multiple devices, such as PCs and printers, to be connected to the home router at the highest LAN speed-100Mbps. The Nitrogen 210-80 also features a flexible multi-mode Peripheral Bus for connecting expansion devices. These devices include Flash Memory for program storage, DSPs to support Voice over IP solutions, and a PCMCIA mode to support I/O cards such as 802.11 WLAN cards.

The Nitrogen 210-80 is pin compatible with Virata’s Heliumä 210-80 processor, which allows developers to begin designing home router products now and provides an easy migration path as the retail market for fully-integrated DSL routers emerges. The Nitrogen 210-80 processor is sampling to customers during September and will be in volume production by December 2001.

Virata’s Market-Leading ISOS Platform

All of Virata’s communication processors are “Virata Enabled” by the ISOS platform, which means that each product is interoperable, field-proven, performance optimized, and empowered with the latest standard networking capabilities. With more than 7 million ISOS broadband CPE products in use today, Virata continues to enable the best price/performance offerings using their combination of hardware and software. Included with ISOS are additional value-added software components, such as firewall, self-provisioning, UPnP and web management (EmWebâ) software. For example, a Nitrogen 210-80 customer may take advantage of Virata’s integrated EmWeb software, which enables end-users to locally or remotely monitor, configure and manage devices or applications using a standard web browser interface.

ISOS also delivers advanced software features such as PPPoE Client, DHCP, RIP, Frame Relay, and Ethernet Packet Filtering, along with other vital networking software, such as pre-ported IP Security options. Since all of these functions are pre-integrated as options in the ISOS software suite, developers are able to utilize whichever feature set they require without spending months creating and integrating new software on a general-purpose processor. Customers can choose to do custom software development and then leverage this across multiple product designs using other ISOS processors. This reduces time-to-market for the first product design as well as subsequent designs by increasing the productivity of customers’ scarce software development resources.

About Virata

Virata provides communications software and semiconductors to manufacturers of DSL, wireless, satellite and other broadband networking equipment. Virata’s suite of processor-independent software products provide developers with complete, field-proven implementations of networking functions, including MPLS and web servers, removing the need to write and validate new software code.

Virata also pre-integrates its extensive suite of communications software with its powerful and cost-effective communications processors to create Virata-Enabled ISOS products. These ISOS solutions assist customers in developing a diverse range of broadband wireless and wireline equipment including DSL modems, gateways, routers, and integrated access devices targeted at the voice and high-speed data network access and customer premises markets. Virata’s products also help equipment manufacturers to simplify product development, reduce the time it takes for products to reach the market and focus resources on product differentiation and improvement.

Virata is a member of the ATM Forum, Bluetooth SIG organization, the DSL Forum, HomePNA, ITU, MPLS Forum, WC3 consortium, and UPnP Forum. A publicly traded company on the Nasdaq Stock Market, Virata was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.

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For more information please contact:

Claire Smither / Sally Bratton
Nelson Bostock Communications
0207 229 4400

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