13 March 2018
Inphi announces first 400Gbps PAM4 platform for hyperscale cloud data-center networks
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
In booth #4013 at the Optical Networking and Communication Conference & Exhibition (OFC 2018) in San Diego (13-15 March), Inphi Corp of Santa Clara, CA, USA (a provider of high-speed mixed-signal ICs for communications, computing and data-center markets) has announced its 16nm 400Gbps Porrima single-lambda pulse amplitude modulation (PAM4) platform, the first complete 56GBaud platform solution for wired network infrastructure including hyperscale cloud data-center, service provider and enterprise networks. Leveraging Inphi’s fifth-generation digital signal processoer (DSP)-based PAM4 technology, the new PAM4 DSP platform delivers what is claimed to be unprecedented performance and power efficiency.
The 16nm Porrima platform represents what is claimed to be the first sampling platform that includes field-proven PAM4 DSP technology, a linear transimpedance amplifier (TIA) and driver for up to 400G client optical modules. Leveraging experience from five generations of DSP development, each of which have been field deployed starting in 2016, Inphi says it has developed optical platform expertise and an API-based DSP software suite that can achieve quick time to market with the right trade-offs in power and performance for data-center optical interconnects. The Porrima platform also supports a wide range of 25/50/100/400Gbps optical interconnects for hyperscale cloud data-center, service provider and enterprise networks.
The growth of hyperscale cloud networks is at an inflection point, with the number of cloud data centers expected to more than double by 2021, and the amount of traffic within such data centers expected to quadruple over that period, according to Cisco’s 2018 Global Cloud Index Forecast. The existing megatrends of cloud services, Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT) are now being overlaid with a new set of trends like the transition to 5G, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) that demands a major leap in bandwidth to 400GbE PAM4 optical interconnects.
“The latest generation of 12.8Tb/s Ethernet switch silicon will support 32 ports of 400GbE and is expected to ship in late 2018,” comments Andrew Schmitt, lead analyst at Cignal AI. “These advanced switches require 400GbE DR4/FR4 optical modules built from reliable, low-power PAM4 silicon. The arrival of Inphi’s 400G PAM4 platform solution will boost the 400GbE market and allow optical components vendors and their customers to successfully transition to 400G speeds,” he adds.
“Leveraging from all our prior PAM4 DSP experience, Inphi is offering a fast time-to-market platform solution that spans EML [electro-absorption modulated laser]-, DML [directly modulated laser]- and silicon photonics-based optical front ends for upcoming 12.8T switch generation,” says Siddharth Sheth, senior VP, Networking Interconnects at Inphi.
Key attributes of the 400Gbps Porrima PAM4 platform include:
- low power consumption for next-generation module applications, enabling <10W DR4/FR4 optical modules per IEEE standards and MSA;
- enables DR1/FR1 optical modules for legacy 3.2/6.4T switches while offering an upgrade path for 12.8T switches;
- optimally designed DSP and TIA receive chain for power-performance trade-offs;
- enables customers to develop a 400Gbps optical interconnects in a compact form factor for applications with up to 10km;
- the supporting IN563x linear driver and IN566x linear TIA provide packaging flexibility for linearity, high bandwidth, adjustable gain to optimize the PAM4 system performances and wide dynamic range to meet the different performance and link requirements for optical applications; and
- implemented in small form factor and power efficiency on proven, high-volume 16nm process technology node, ensuring fastest time to production.
Porrima 16nm product family:
Porrima PAM4 DSP IC provides a full bi-directional interface with host ASICs that have 28GBaud PAM4and NRZ electrical interfaces while bridging to 56GBaud optics. The product family can support PAM4 or NRZ signaling, and both retiming and gearbox functionality with packaging specifically designed for the following optics modules:
- Porrima 400G – 8x56Gbps PAM4 <-> 4x100Gbps PAM4 for QSFP-DD/oSFP/COBO;
- Porrima 100G – 4x25Gbps NRZ <-> 1x100Gbps PAM4 for QSFP; and
- Porrima 100G- 2x50Gbps PAM4 <-> 1x100Gbps PAM4 for QSFP/uQSFP/SFP-DD.
Additional technical features include:
- fifth-generation InphiNity DSP Engine with a unique mixed-mode DSP architecture for high-performance, low-power applications needing adaptability and configurability;
- numerous self-test and loopback modes that allow diagnostic monitoring of channel and system parameters;
- modular API software suite that covers link margin and stress testing along with data and error analytics; and
- forward error correction (FEC) functionality for 100G and 400G optics are integrated.
IN563x linear driver product family:
The IN5630DE/IN5634SE is a 56GBaud low-power single/quad linear driver for PAM4 optical modules. Features include:
- excellent linearity, high bandwidth, adjustable gain to optimize the PAM4 system performances; and
- low-power modulator driver in small package or in bare die form.
IN566x linear TIA:
The IN5661TA/5664TA is a 56GBaud low-power single/quad linear TIA for PAM4 optical modules. Features include:
- wide dynamic range to meet the different performance and link requirements for optical applications;
- excellent signal integrity necessary for PAM4 modulation schemes; and
- low-power and small form factor.
Inphi is now sampling its 400Gbps Porrima PAM4 platform, including PAM4 DSP, linear TIA and drivers to qualified customers.