Re: Nothing new really
"Not really, the big driver was cost reduction."
Back in the 1980s the development team were designing a new Ethernet bridge. Unfortunately the required computing power meant upgrading to the latest, expensive Intel microprocessor. That would also require a larger custom case - which would require extensive certification hoops.
The answer was to use the existing design and box - with a modification of an added FPGA handling the lan filtering.
A quick development cycle. As a bonus the competition had all gone down the raw cpu power route. They established the market pricing - and we enjoyed an unusually large margin with our lower development and production costs.