Take a step down the stack beyond optical networks, switches, routers and software-defined networking to consider the networking system on chip (SoC), the brains of the network infrastructure.
Networking SoCs, integrated circuits (ICs) that combine all components of an electronic system, such as an Ethernet switch or router, onto a single chip, are more complex these days than any one human could imagine. In fact, they have replaced the graphics chips found in mobile phones, personal computers, workstations and game consoles as the largest and most complex chip designs. Project teams report that they consume 500,000 or more application- specific integrated circuit (ASIC)-equivalent gates.
The reasons for the massive size and extreme