SAN JOSE, Calif. Alcatel SA and LSI Logic Corp. this week will release cores that target the high end of the communications market, including the emerging 10-Gigabit Ethernet standard.
Alcatel's Technology Licensing Group (Calabasas, Calif.) will release a media-access control soft core that can handle a single 10-Gbit/second Ethernet stream or the quad option, where four 3.125-Gbit/s transceivers combine with 8-bit/10-bit encoding to form a 10-Gbit/s stream. The core includes the XGMII 32-bit interface that is being developed to connect to the 10-Gbit physical layer downstream.
Meanwhile, LSI Logic (Milpitas, Calif.) this week will unveil its latest GigaBlaze transceiver core, which is designed to handle the Ethernet, Fibre Channel and Infiniband protocols.
The IEEE 802.3ae standard for 10-Gbit Ethernet is still in development and due for completion in 2002. Alcatel plans to update its core as appropriate to keep up to date with the specification as it develops.
Alcatel also has begun revealing pieces of its systems strategy for 10-Gbit Ethernet. The company this week will release the 7670 system for carriers, which is designed for asynchronous transfer mode traffic but has 10-Gbit Ethernet on its road map. In addition, Alcatel plans to develop an enterprise platform that will include the ability to transfer data to a system backplane at 10 Gbits/s, said Ray Hanson, the company's assistant vice president of product marketing.
The backplane connectivity is particularly important because no parts yet exist for backplane switching and connectivity at 10 Gbits/s, Hanson said, adding that such parts are going to be crucial to developing any 10-Gbit Ethernet system. "The notion that people are going to 'upgrade' to 10 Gigabit is a misconstrual of the facts," he said.
For its part, LSI Logic's new GigaBlaze is built on the company's G12 process technology, utilizing 0.18-micron line widths. I t can handle serial data rates of up to 3.2 Gbits/s and is able to handle what company officials claim is a unique combination of transmission standards: Fibre Channel, including the double-speed (2.12-Gbit/s) variant; Infiniband; Gigabit Ethernet; and 10-Gigabit Ethernet.
For the latter, the chip is being groomed to handle the quad option rather than a single, 10-Gbit/s feed. Unlike Sonet users, Ethernet users aren't demanding single-stream 10-Gbit/s transmission the Ethernet standard is "still trying to be more economical, as opposed to Sonet," said Milton Lim, product marketing manager at LSI Logic.
In addition, the G12's buffers come with pull-up resistors for on-chip signal termination. "It just makes for much cleaner signal integrity," said Marc Miller, LSI Logic's director of product marketing.