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Altera eyes high-bandwidth direct optical interfaces

Posted: 01 Apr 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:direct optical interfaces  system interconnect technologies  transceivers 

Altera announces optically interconnected programmable devices that will allow a wide range of applications to significantly increase their bandwidth capabilities while also reducing overall system complexity, cost and power.

With the ever-growing bandwidth demands of applications such as high-definition video, cloud computing and 3D gaming, reliance on traditional copper-based interconnects has proven to be an obstacle to innovation. Altera is thus utilising its extensive knowledge of system interconnect technologies to enable direct optical interfaces in future device packages, and break through the bandwidth and SI barriers inherent in copper technology.

For computer and storage-intensive applications such as data centres, the integration of optical interfaces into device packages could replace pluggable optics and reduce power by 70 to 80 per cent while increasing port density and bandwidth by orders of magnitude.

In backplane applications in the military, communications infrastructure and broadcast areas, these connections will replace expensive board material and connectors, increase bandwidth significantly and eliminate the SI issues associated with using copper-based solutions.

The ability to drive a high-quality optical signal is directly related to the speed and quality of the signal coming from the transceiver at the on-chip electrical-optical interface. Altera's transceivers have continuously delivered the industry's highest data rates to support the widest range of protocols, while at the same time delivering superior signal integrity.

"Altera has a strong history of delivering industry-leading technologies for today's design challenges, while at the same time developing breakthrough technologies that unlock new possibilities for the future," said Bradley Howe, vice president of IC engineering at Altera. "These direct optical interfaces have the potential to future-proof backplanes and deliver the vast quantity of available bandwidth long sought by application and content developers."

- Clive Maxfield
  EE Times

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