Terabit-scale Ethernet PHY allows highest-density 400GbE and FlexE connectivity

03-06-2019 | Microchip Technology | Subs & Systems

Microchip, via its Microsemi subsidiary, claims to be the first to enable a unique set of abilities with its META-DX1 family of Ethernet Physical-Layer (PHY) devices. The family lets telecom service providers build out networks employing routing and switching platforms that lessen costs, optimise bandwidth and boost capacity, security and flexibility.

Integrated into a single chip, the family consolidates Ethernet ports from 1GbE to 400GbE, FlexE, MACsec link encryption and nanosecond timestamping accuracy at terabit capacity.

The industry is transitioning from 100GbE to 400GbE to bolster traffic within hyperscale data centres. The META-DX1 allows line cards to quadruple in capacity, from 3.6Tbps to 14.4Tbps with 36 ports of 400GbE or 144 ports of 100GbE, while supporting key features required by service providers.

The MACsec engine secures traffic leaving the data centre or enterprise premises. FlexE allows both cloud and telecom service providers to satisfy capacity demands while lessening fibre-plant capital expenditures by optimally configuring links exceeding today’s fixed-rate Ethernet so they can use low-cost, high-volume optics. The device family uniquely combines MACsec and FlexE into one solution to satisfy the next phase of capacity scaling in DCI buildouts.

Further differentiating the solution, its integrated, flexible crosspoint switching ability makes it simpler for OEMs to navigate the market transition from 25Gbps NRZ and 56Gbps PAM-based architectures by allowing them to support a single design or SKU for both 100GbE (QSFP28) and 400GbE (QSFP-DD) optics. By offering high-performance timestamping with nanosecond-level accuracy on every port, the solution also ensures network buildouts will fit the challenging timing demands of 5G mobile base station deployments.

By Natasha Shek