Tech achieves 100G switch connectivity over copper

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QuantumStream technology delivers single-lane 100Gbit/s direct attach solution using Globalfoundries' 56Gbit/s SerDes.

Industry watchers have projected that only optical connectivity will serve the needs of 100Gbit/s and beyond. However, most direct server and storage Ethernet network connections in "hyperscale" data centres are currently within 3m, according to Crehan Research. Responding to this industry trend towards higher density switch and server configurations, a number of optical solutions have already been proposed for 100G. But optical interfaces are relatively expensive.

Now, Aquantia Corp. has announced its QuantumStream technology, which offers a complementary 100G product for mass server and switch connectivity at shorter reaches over copper lane implementations. This delivers lower cost per gigabit compared with optical fibre. And the lower prices will transform the economics of in-rack connectivity in hyperscale data centres, according to the company's press statement.

Inside the IP

A Serialiser-Deserialiser (SerDes) IC is a fundamental building block responsible for the transport of data between switches, servers, routers and storage equipment in data centres and IT environments, over a variety of channels such as optical fibres, electrical copper cables, and backplanes.

Globalfoundries’ FX-14 ASIC platform, designed on the company’s 14nm "Low Power Plus" (LPP) process, delivers an IP portfolio, including SerDes that is capable of transporting data at speeds of 56Gbit/s. Globalfoundries has licensed this IP to Aquantia and Aquantia has combined the core with its patented Mixed-Mode Signal Processing (MMSP) and Multi-Core Signal Processing (MCSP) architectures for high-speed interconnect over copper. The end result is a 100G interconnect SerDes IP.

The two companies are collaborating further: Aquantia will provide access to its QuantumStream IP to Globalfoundries for incorporation into its customers’ ASICs.

The QuantumStream technology can be leveraged to deliver multiples of 100Gbit/s of bandwidth on conventional DAC cables:

  • 100G over 3m Direct Attach Cable SFP
  • 400G over 3m Direct Attach Cable QSFP
  • 800G over 3m Direct Attach Cable OSFP

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