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GbE PHY enables seamless 10- to 100Gbit migration

Posted: 15 Jul 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PHY? datacenter?

NetLogic Microsystems Inc. claims the industry's lowest power 10/40/100 GbE PHY for next-generation datacenter applications.

The quad-port NLP1342 PHY device integrates receive equalization and transmit pre-emphasis technologies with ultralow latency to address new datacenter opportunities. It supports 10Gbit/s SFI-to-XFI, 40Gbit/s XLPPI-to-XLAUI and 100Gbit/s CPPI-to-CAUI modes to enable seamless migration of datacenters from 10Gbit to 100Gbit throughputs.

The demand for online video, IPTV, social networking, peer-to-peer and virtualization services causes network bottlenecks in datacenters that serve these media-rich content and services. Thus, datacenter managers need to upgrade servers and networking equipment from 10Gb links to 40- and 100Gb to support the throughputs required for next-generation services. As datacenters continue to grow in size and capabilities, the aggregation of such large amounts of communications equipment provides many challenges in regards to minimizing power, latency and cost.

Minimizing the latency in transmitting network traffic is one of the most important performance metrics in the datacenter because of its effect on overall application performance. This is very important because datacenters are responsible for managing mission critical and time sensitive transactions such as financial trades, web-based services, and video content delivery. Unlike enterprise or telco infrastructure networks that transmit packets over longer distances, datacenter devices are usually only a few meters apart so every micro-second reduction in latency has a very large impact on the overall application performance.

The ability to drive 10/40/100Gbit/s transmission over either twin-ax copper or optical cable makes NetLogic Microsystems' NLP1342 PHY suited for next-generation datacenters because of the lower latency the device offers. The NLP1342 device integrates an enhanced equalizer front end that enables lower jitter, lower latency as well as communications over extended cable distances. In addition to the superior performance of the PHY device, optical fiber and twin-ax copper inherently offer significantly lower latency when compared to traditional Cat 5/Cat 6/Cat 7 copper cabling. For example, the latency with SFP+ over the cost-effective twin-ax copper is 0.1?s compared to 1.5-2.5?s for Cat 5/Cat 6/Cat 7 copper, a 15x to 25x improvement.

Aside from lowering latency, minimizing power consumption is also critical for successful datacenter deployments given the large amount of high performance equipment concentrated in a small area. However, as datacenters move to 10Gbit/s and faster speeds, more power is required to transmit at such higher speeds. NetLogic Microsystems' NLP1342 PHY device helps minimize this impact by delivering an ultralow-power profile of 0.5W/channel, making it the lowest power dissipating 10/40/100 GbE PHY device in the industry to enable energy-efficient datacenters. This again compares favorably when compared to other optical and twin-ax cabling PHY devices, as well 10GBase-T PHY devices.

"The new NLP1342 device further extends our market and technology leadership in 10/40/100 GbE PHYs by having features, interfaces and optimizations that are specific to next-generation datacenter Ethernet," said Stefanos Sidiropoulos, VP of physical layer products at NetLogic. "By offering our industry-leading performance, jitter, latency and power dissipation in a quad-port device that can simultaneously support 10Gbit/s, 40Gbit/s and 100Gbit/s, we enable our customers to develop highly differentiated datacenter switches and servers.

In addition to lower power and lower latency, the direct-attach, twin-ax copper cabling offers a cost-effective medium for 10/40/100 Gbit/s communications over distances of 10meters. This makes the NLP1342 device suitable for communications from top-of-rack (TOR) switches to rackmount and blade servers. And because the enhanced equalizer front end also supports SR/LR optical cabling, the NLP1342 PHY enables server to end-of-rack (EOR) switch and TOR to EOR switch communications.

The NLP1342 PHY device exceeds all the electrical parameters of the nPPI interface as defined in Annex 86A and is fully compliant with the CR4/CR10 PMDs as defined in P802.3ba Clause 85. The device also offers high levels of integration with dedicated pins for SFP+ management and control, dedicated general purpose I/Os, clock synthesizers and highly flexible and programmable Ethernet frame generators and checkers, BER calculators and link margining tools, all in a low pin-count package ideally suited for SFP+/QSFP+ designs. In addition, the PHY solution is offered in Pb-free packaging to allow customers to develop environmentally friendly system solutions that comply with certain green-initiative regulations.

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