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Applied Micro aims at 100G optical networks

Posted: 31 May 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:100Gbps networks  multiplexer  25G channels 

Applied Micro Circuits Corp. releases the S28010 Gearbox multiplexer chip that is said to be one of the first CMOS chips to support 28Gbps signalling aimed at enabling next-generation 100Gbps optical networks.

The S28010 is the first of a new family of high-speed optical networking chips AMCC plans. It translates a 10 lane, 10Gbps CAUI electrical interface to four lanes operating at 25Gbps, a data rate the latest CMOS silicon is just beginning to tackle for the first time.

The 40nm chip probably will see its first use in OTU4 optical transport networks, but eventually could be used in data centres to carry 100G Ethernet, Fibre Channel or Infiniband traffic. The part is among the first devices to comply with both the IEEE 802.3ba standard for 40/100G Ethernet and CFP multi-source agreement for 40/100G modules.

Existing multiplexers that handle 28G serial data rates typically are made in BiCMOS or silicon germanium, require at least two chips consuming a total of up to 8W and cost about Rs.45,000 ($1000). The S42810 is a single chip that consumes less than 4W and will cost Rs.33,000 ($750) when it samples in September.

The first generation of 100G optical networking chips generally used 10 lanes running at 10G, but the parts were relatively large and power hungry. "Everyone believes four lanes of 25G is going to be where the future is, and in four or five years it will be mainstream," said Tim Warland, product manager at AMCC.

The multiplexer sits on a CFP module and takes in 10G signals, typically from a network switch chip. It spits out four 25G channels and links to an optical module, sending data over distances up to 10km on a single-mode fibre.

The chips will be used in core routers for carrier networks or aggregation switches in large data centres, both interested in moving up to 100G data rates. AMCC has an early lead in the shift from the old Sonet standard to the newer Optical Transport Network (OTN) technology carriers are adopting.

The company claims that this year it hit a milestone of enabling with its chips one million OTN ports to date. Volumes of the new CFP modules are ramping up to tens of thousands per month now and will hit a quarter million modules per month soon, said Warland.

- Rick Merritt
  EE Times

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