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Startup applies DSP to compensation markets

Posted: 03 Sep 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:scintera networks? dsp? fiber optic device?

A Silicon Valley startup will demo a DSP-based platform that performs dispersion compensation at both the enterprise and metropolitan-network levels at the National Fiber Optic Engineers. Scintera Networks Inc. promises to have standard CMOS devices for 10Gb compensation ready for delivery early next year.

Executives at Scintera Networks Inc. claim that offering effective compensation in low-power CMOS sets the company apart. Making simultaneous introductions in metro and enterprise markets should help Scintera's short-term outlook as well.

Scintera was co-founded two years ago by chief executive officer Abijit Phanse, who worked on National Semiconductor Corp.'s Gigabit Ethernet effort, and Abijit Shanbhag of Qualcomm Inc.'s wireless-basestation design group. August Capital and Sevin Rosen Funds oversaw an $8.2 million initial funding round in late 2001.

The company signed a manufacturing pact to use Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg Co.'s 0.13?m CMOS process and signed with ASE Inc. for packaging. Scintera's algorithm development team has garnered more than 15 key patents.

Phanse said the design platform is based on adaptive conditioning of both linear and nonlinear operations, particularly fast time-varying channels, using methods that require no training sequences.

"We are focused on 10Gb applications in metro and enterprise, and on developing cost-effective CMOS solutions in those markets," Phanse said. First-generation 0.13?m parts are designed to scale to 90nm processes in the future.

Common to both enterprise and metro products is the Electronic Dispersion Compensation Engine (EDCE). In enterprise applications, Scintera has developed prototypes of the SCN3142 EDCE, correcting for impairments and dispersion over 300m of multimode fiber.

The chip can be used with either 10Gb Ethernet or Fibre Channel protocols and performs blind adaptive equalization in tens of microseconds, a target time Steve Kubes, vice president of marketing at Scintera, called "absolutely essential" in the design of 10Gb enterprise networks. Scintera promises power dissipation of less than half a watt for the 3142,and has designed the engine to fit in Xenpak, X2, XFP, and XPAK transceiver modules. By pricing the chip in the $150 range in high volumes, Scintera says, it will be possible to design modules with $500 price tags.

The equivalent product for metro markets is the SCN5028 EDCE. In typical metro topologies, 10Gb transmission can be extended over single-mode fiber from 80km to over 140km. The 11.1Gb aggregate throughput is said to provide enough overhead for Sonet OC-192, STM-64, and 10Gb Ethernet Extended Reach protocols.

The 5028 compensates for both chromatic and polarization-mode dispersion, improving optical signal-to-noise ratios. Like its enterprise counterpart, the SCN5028 comes in a 32-pin QFN package that will fit into Xenpak, XPAK, X2, and XFP modules. The metro product will be priced at $495 each in 1,000-unit quantities.

- Loring Wirbel

EE Times

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