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Microchip Brings FlexE to Routers

July 9, 2019

Author: Bob Wheeler

Microchip has elevated the former-Microsemi Meta line from the shadow of Digi OTN products to purpose-built Ethernet PHYs. It plans to sample in 3Q19 the 1.2Tbps Meta-DX1 family, which handles 400G Ethernet as well as Flex Ethernet (FlexE), MACSec encryption, and other advanced features absent from most competing PHYs. Unlike prior Meta products—which derived from Digi designs—the new DX1 omits OTN framing. Like the Digi-G5, it adopts 56Gbps PAM4 serdes for system- and line-side interfaces.

To achieve 1.2Tbps, the Meta-DX1 includes 24 host-side and 24 line-side serdes; they also support NRZ interfaces. Both sides have a multiplexing/crosspoint block for 2:1 gearboxing and signal routing. The host side allows up to 24 Ethernet ports with rates from 10Gbps to 400Gbps, and it handles Interlaken as an alternative interface to packet processors. The line-side PHY block offers direct connection to QSFP-DD and QSFP28 optical modules. The Meta-DX1 family includes the fully featured PM6110; the PM6108, which omits FlexE; and the PM6104, which also lacks MACSec and Interlaken. Microchip withheld package and power-dissipation details for the 16nm design.

With its Meta-DX1, Microchip developed a flexible Ethernet PHY with unique FlexE support. Most competitors focus on high-volume intra-data-center applications, which value low power and cost over advanced features. The Meta-DX1 complements the Digi-G5 OTN line, expanding the company’s portfolio for network-equipment vendors.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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