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Experts discuss road to 25Gbps backplanes

Posted: 09 Feb 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:25G  Ethernet  serial channels 

"It's really becoming a complex matrix of parameters," he added.

Prepping 25G era
On the silicon front, non-return-to-zero signalling schemes for Serdes chips show the most promise for the 25G generation. However, engineers will need to develop new techniques to handle rising crosstalk while staying within a 1.5x factor of power consumption over today's 10G Serdes, Stauffer said.

"I think we could see 25G Serdes in a year or two if the need is there," he added.

Adam Healey, a systems architect at LSI Corp., said engineers need to define a superset Serdes design that can tackle all four of the copper and optical interfaces defined by the IEEE 802.3ba group drafting the 40- and 100G Ethernet spec. The Optical Internetworking Forum is defining the 25G Serdes now, he said.

The network processors and traffic manager chips processing packets in the 40- and 100G systems will need upgraded memory interfaces, said Goergen of Force10. They will need to carry as much as 100GbBps, up from 10- to 40GB today.

The Jedec group is beginning to address that need, although its main focus is on memory interfaces for videogame consoles.

"We expect to see a lot of serial memory interfaces from Jedec over the next two to four years," he said. "We need them to have much more efficient coding algorithms than the scrambling mechanisms we have today," he added.

Several factors are driving the need for speed, said Ilango Ganga, a server communications architect at Intel. They include the rise of multi-core processors, virtualised CPUs and I/O and converged storage and networking traffic on Ethernet, he said.

Dense blade server designs came out late last year using 10Gbps backplanes. Many of them were designed to accommodate four channels for 40Gbps capabilities in the future.

"We believe 40G adoption will come to servers in 2013," he said. "We thought originally 2012 was a transition time frame, but with the economic downturn we now see it in 2013," he added.

"Obviously everyone is scaling back whether its 1 or 16 per cent," said Goergen. "Despite the recession, I have great faith the telecom sector will not be hit quite as hard as the rest of the world because we have a product people demand—Internet access."

The ramp of 10Gbps Ethernet is just beginning, noted Seamus Crehan, VP of market watcher Dell' Oro Group. About 30 lakh (three million) 10G ports shipped in 2008, most of them in network switches. That's up from about 20 lakh (two million) in 2007, he said.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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