Inphi boosts PAM4 portfolio, intros new 800G DSP and Gen3 Porrima platform

Created March 12, 2020
Technologies and Products

High speed data movement interconnect specialist Inphi Corp has announced it is sampling its new Spica™ 800G 7 nm PAM4 DSP, along with its new Porrima™ Gen3 Single-Lambda PAM4 platform. The new DSP product is billed as the world’s first 800 Gbps or 8 x 100 Gbps PAM4 DSP to enable 800G optical transceiver modules in QSFP-DD800 or OSFP form factors. The second new product is designed to reduce the total module power consumption, lower total cost of ownership, enable the use of a wider range of lasers, and is optimised for hyperscale datacentre networks..

Spica 800G

Inphi points out that, until today, PAM4 optical modules could only support 400G, which limits the density available in a single system. However, in order to support current demands for more bandwidth and the desire for lower power and a smaller footprint, a new generation of PAM4 DSPs is required to double the bandwidth of each optical module. Each of these new modules will need to support up to 800 Gbps of bandwidth with a 100 Gbps per lane electrical interface. In turn, a 1 RU 32 port switch will then be able to support 25.6 Tbps.

Leveraging seven generations of PAM4 DSP development, the low power Spica 800G PAM4 DSP platform with integrated 56 Gbaud driver, enables either 2 x 400 Gbps or 8 x 100 Gbps optical modules with 100 Gbps per lane electrical interfaces. Customers are now able to develop 800 Gbps/8 x100 Gbps optical interconnects in a compact form factor for applications with single mode or multimode fibres. Together with Inphi’s proven 112 Gbps Capella™ SerDes IP for next generation AI processors and switches, the new Spica PAM4 DSP enables the critical transition of optical connectivity inside and between AI clusters.

“The delivery of high-performance, high density and low power PAM4 800G optical modules is critical to enable the next generation of networking and AI systems,” said Osa Mok, chief marketing officer of optical transceiver producer InnoLight Technology (pictured). “Inphi’s ongoing commitment to innovation and market leadership will help us to stay one step ahead of the competition and make 800G optical modules a reality.”

Porrima Gen3

Based on 7 nm, Porrima Gen3 offers an expanded feature set and enhanced direct drive capability, further expanding the range of lasers that can be used with the integrated laser driver. The new platform is also designed to reduce total module power consumption to less than 8 W for 400 Gbps DR4/FR4 mode in the QSFP-DD form factor.

Other key Porrima Gen3 attributes include:

  • Compatible API and software suite with Porrima Gen1 and Gen2
  • Backward pin-to-pin compatibility, allowing minimum hardware changes on module design
  • Power consumption enabling < 8 W 400 Gbps, 4 x 100 Gbps optical modules with 8 x 50 Gbps electrical interfaces
  • Integrated 56 Gbaud laser driver with direct-drive capability
  • Numerous self-test and loopback modes, allowing diagnostic monitoring of channel and system parameters
  • Modular API software suite that covers link margin and stress testing, along with data and error analytics.

“Once again, Inphi demonstrates market leadership with its ongoing commitment to reduce both the footprint and power of its PAM4 solutions,” said Andrew Schmitt, directing analyst at Cignal AI. “Inphi’s PAM4 DSP is well-positioned to address the need for standards-based 400GbE connectivity as well as the customised, high volume hardware requirements of large cloud operators.”

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This article was written
by John Williamson

John Williamson is a freelance telecommunications, IT and military communications journalist. He has also written for national and international media, and been a telecoms advisor to the World Bank.