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Retimer chips achieve new levels of integration for CX4, LX4 apps

Posted: 25 Feb 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mysticom semiconductor? mysticom? retimer chip? chip? xenpak?

Mysticom Semiconductor has introduced a pair of new retimer chips for Xenpak, x2 and xfp modules that incorporates its third generation 10GbE transceiver technology. The new chipsthe MY3128 designed for 10GBase-CX4 over Infiniband cable and the MY3129 designed for10GBase-LX4 over multimode fibertout the highest levels of integration and industry's smallest footprint. For systems designers, this means fewer components, lower costs and shorter development cycles.

These new retimer chips, based on Mysticom's Module-in-a-Chip concept, offer significant improvements over second-generation parts. The most significant enhancements include a small 12-by-12mm footprint, and a channel swap capability that reduces board layer count. In addition, the design of the MY3129 chip eliminates the need for limiting amplifiers typically found in the optics module, and offers significantly lower power dissipation.

Each chip integrates a 10GbE core, each containing four channels; a Xenpack block including the digital optical monitoring (DOM) for the MY3129, and PLL multiplier circuitry. The architecture supports the use of a low power, low-cost 62.5MHz oscillator.

Bob Frostholm, VP of sales and marketing for Mysticom, said these new retimer chips have simplified Xenpak and X2 module design efforts by reducing the number of external components required and shrinking the chip's footprint by 36 percent compared to other solutions.

The smaller footprint is particularly important for LX4 applications in X2 form factors because the available PC-board space is about 1-by-3-inches. Frostholm said this board is packed with the PHY chip, and optical subassemblies including optical mux/demux devices, quad laser drivers and four trans-impedance amplifiers as well as other external components, so it's an extremely tight design. The smaller footprint frees up board space and allows designers more flexibility in how they layout their boards, he said.

The MY3129, which is optimized for small form factor X2 optical LX4 modules, integrates MSA registers and advanced DOM capabilities. The device also features a real-time signal quality indicator (SQI), a system tool for real-time performance and power consumption optimization. In addition, it features the lowest available power dissipation of less than 500mW per core, with total power dissipation in the neighborhood of 900mW, to meet end-of-life power specifications.

LX4 modules require a total power dissipation of less than 4W at end of life, and as optics degrade over time, power consumption increases, explained Frostholm. "Until now it has been difficult to achieve lower dissipation because the optics used in the LX4 modules are power-hungry devices, but with advances in optics and silicon we're able to ensure any module maker that uses our silicon to hit that difficult point of sub-4W power dissipation at end of life," he said.

In addition, Mysticom has redesigned the MY3129's receive front ends to reduce their sensitivity levels down to about 20mV to 25mV, which eliminates the need for four external limiting amplifiers. "There are four limiting amplifiers that buffer the signal from the optics on the receive channel to the receive side of the retimer and by increasing the receive sensitivity of the chips, we were able to eliminate the need for those limiting amplifiers, which translates into a more simplified design as well as fewer components required," Frostholm said.

Both chips features a channel swap capability that allows the user to maintain all high-speed signals on a single PC-board layer, regardless of connector configurations. This reduces the entire PC-board requirement to four layers, from six layers typically needed for current designs, to lower overall system cost. "We reduced the size of the package and reconfigured ports 0 to 3 to better align with the configurations of various connectors in the marketplace," Frostholm said.

"This allows customers to keep all of their high-speed signals on a single plane on the PC-board and eliminate the need for additional traces, and therefore reduce the board layers from six to four, and that translates into cost savings for the end users," Frostholm said.

Mysticom also offers complete design services, where the company provides a portion or all of their customers' board layout and subsystem design work. This gives them a faster time to market as well as a board that is fully optimized for their 10Gb design, said Amir Bar Niv, director of applications.

Packaged in a 196-pin BGA with a 0.8mm pitch, the MY3128 is priced at $51 and the MY3129 is priced at $60, both in sample quantities. Samples will be available late in first quarter 2005. Production volume will begin in the second quarter of 2005.

- Gina Roos


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