11 March 2020
Inphi launches first 800Gbps PAM4 electro-optics platform for megascale data centers and AI networks
Inphi Corp of Santa Clara, CA, USA (a provider of high-speed mixed-signal ICs for communications, computing and data-center markets) is sampling its new Spica 800G 7nm PAM4 (4-level pulse amplitude modulation) digital signal processor (DSP), which is claimed to be the first 800Gbps or 8x100Gbps PAM4 DSP to enable 800G optical transceiver modules in QSFP-DD800 or OSFP form factors. The highly integrated Spica 800G platform includes Inphi’s high-performance, low-power PAM4 DSPs alongside its companion low-power linear driver and transimpedance amplifiers (TIAs).
Until now, PAM4 optical modules could only support 400G, which limits the density available in a single system. Yet the industry demands more bandwidth as well as lower power and a smaller footprint, driving demand for high-density switching systems. To accomplish this, a new generation of PAM4 DSPs is required to double the bandwidth of each optical module. Each of these new modules will need to support up to 800Gbps of bandwidth with a 100Gbps-per-lane electrical interface. In turn, a 1 RU 32 port switch will then be able to support 25.6Tb/s.
In addition, the performance of graphic processing units (GPUs), network accelerators and artificial intelligence (AI) processors continues to rocket. This leap in performance demands higher speed of electrical and optical interfaces at 100Gbps per lane to achieve the necessary bandwidth for connectivity to transfer the vast amount of data between chips and between AI clusters.
Leveraging seven generations of PAM4 DSP development, the Spica 800Gbps PAM4 DSP platform provides an electronics solution for module design. The new low-power PAM4 DSP with integrated 56GBaud driver enables either 2x400Gbps or 8x100Gbps optical modules with 100Gbps-per-lane electrical interfaces. Customers are now able to develop 800Gbps/8x100Gbps optical interconnects in a compact form factor for applications with single-mode fibers or multi-mode fibers. Together with Inphi’s proven 112Gbps Capella SerDes IP for next-generation AI processors and switches, the new Spica PAM4 DSP enables the critical transition of optical connectivity inside and between AI clusters.
“The delivery of high-performance, high-density and low-power PAM4 800G optical modules is critical to enable the next generation of networking and AI systems,” comments Osa Mok, chief marketing officer of InnoLight Technology. “Inphi’s ongoing commitment to innovation and market leadership will help us to stay one step ahead of the competition and make 800G optical modules a reality,” he adds.
Ranging from power efficiency and direct-drive capability to interoperability and a small form factor, the key product attributes of the Spica platform are as follows:
- low power consumption for next-generation module applications, targeting 14W 800Gbps, 2x400Gbps or 8x100Gbps optical modules with 100Gbps electrical interfaces;
- targeting 8W 400Gbps QSFP112 optical modules with 100Gbps electrical interface;
- integrated 56Gbaud laser driver with direct-drive capability;
- enabling customers to develop 800Gbps/8x100Gbps optical interconnects in a compact form factor for applications with single-mode fibers or multi-mode fibers;
- the supporting 56GBaud linear TIA product family provides packaging flexibility for excellent 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;
- implemented in a small form factor and power efficiency on proven, high-volume 7nm process technology node, ensuring fastest time to production;
- ease of migration with compatible API Software Suite.
Spica linear drivers:
The IN5630SE/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 EML driver in small package or in bare die form.
Spica linear TIAs:
The IN5665TA 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.