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Mysticom sets watermark for 10GbE over copper

Posted: 02 Oct 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mysticom? ethernet? copper wire? communications design conference? transceiver?

Mysticom Inc. demonstrated a transceiver that set a new watermark for high-end Ethernet signaling over copper wires at the Communications Design Conference on September 23, sending 10Gbps signals over 25m copper using Infiniband cables, and over 10m using Cat.5 unshielded twisted pair.

Pushing full 10Gbps Ethernet over 100m of standard Cat.5 copper cables is currently a Holy Grail in Ethernet design, and a goal that some - including Mysticom's engineers - say cannot be commercially reached with the current standard.

Category 5 cables are the most inexpensive and widely used cables linking systems in businesses today. But attenuation and crosstalk of high-frequency signals on the unshielded cables prevent the fast links and require a move to more expensive optical fiber or the new thickly shielded Infiniband copper cables.

Mysticom's new transceiver uses multiple 3.125Gbps Ethernet serdes channels which can also push the signals up to 70 inches over copper traces on a standard FR4 PCB.

Ultimately, Mysticom believes it can push 10GbE up to about 50m over copper. However, the commercial goal for its next-generation transceiver is for longer optical fiber stretches rather than copper ones.

"We do not see any customer interest in 10GbE over 100m of Cat.5 wire, but we do have interest in transceivers for longer fiber and Infiniband cable links," said Amir Bar-Niv, director of engineering at Mysticom.

Mysticom's next-generation transceiver, which has already taped out, will replace the XAUI interface with a proprietary encoding scheme which will enable signaling to extend 600m-to-800m over low-grade fiber.

One router maker is interested in that capability as part of a 10GbE backplane, and a switch maker wants to use the chip for fiber or Infiniband cable links between distributed switches in a data center which might stretch between multiple buildings.

Bar-Niv estimated the new transceiver would probably allow 10GbE signaling to extend about 20m over Cat.5 cables.

Looking further ahead, Mysticom's follow-on effort will be to design a 10GbE-based on 5Gbps serdes channels. "We do not see a lot of demand for that now, but in four years time, we probably will," said Bar-Niv.

- Rick Merritt

EE Times

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