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Broadcom CTO talks future of Ethernet

Posted: 24 May 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Ethernet? silicon photonics? MOST?

As the industry celebrates the 40th anniversary of Ethernet, Broadcom co-founder and chief technology officer Henry Samueli spoke with EE Times about where he thinks the technology is heading to next.

We start with the car. Broadcom is a relative newcomer to automotive electronics, but it has set up an alliance to drive Ethernet into tomorrow's cars using Broadcom silicon. It competes with the Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) group formed in 1998.

"We will see a transition to Ethernet in automotive [because] as we've seen in every other market, Ethernet always wins," said Samueli. "We are doing extraordinarily well with 100-plus members in our allianceevery major auto maker behind a single copper pair for 100 Mbit/s Ethernet in automobiles.

"This year BMW will deploy it in some models," Samueli said. "It's taking off better than expected, and in five plus years it will the de facto standard in cars," he predicted.

MOST has been around the automotive market longer, recently boosted its data rates to 150 Mbit/s and claims support for Ethernet.

"MOST is the incumbent and has a lot of backers, but Ethernet always winsit has a massive installed base and ecosystem that keeps driving costs down," he said.

Silicon photonics has gotten a lot of attention especially for use in the data centre. Recently, Intel announced a 100G technology and Mellanox acquired start-up Kotura.

"Silicon photonics is a very important technology for the concentration of data rates in network switches," Samueli said. "Our Trident 2 switch chip has up to 1.28 terabit/s of data coming on and off the chip in real time and its getting more and more expensive in power dissipation and consumption to do that electrically, so moving optics closer to silicon makes senseit will happen as we move beyond Tbit," he said.

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