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New Chips Support Increased Network Speeds To 400Gbps

By March 26, 2018June 8th, 2022Technology News

Marvell Semiconductor has a new product out, and it’s a game changer.  Their new “Alaska” chip (the Alaska C 88×7120) is the first on the market to support the new 802.3 standard.  The 802.3cd is on tap to eventually replace current Ethernet ports running at 25Gbps to 100Gbps with ports that will run at 50Gbps, 200 Gbps, and 400 Gbps.

The future is now.

Granted, the Alaska chips aren’t for sale just yet, but they are sampling to customers (“Sampling” in the chip world is akin to beta testing in software).  The chip supports sixteen 50 Gbps ports, four 200 Gbps ports, and two 400 Gbps ports, which will quadruple network output.  Even better, the new chips support both copper and fiber-optic wiring, as well as SerDes (long-reach serialization/deserialization) on system and line side interfaces, allowing OEMs to use the chips for wide-area interfaces.

Also of interest, the new chips use PAM4 (pulse-amplitude modulation), which is a four-level signaling scheme that’s designed to replace NRZ (non-return to zero) binary modulation, and even better, the new PAM4 protocol will be backwards compatible with NRZ hardware.

The port density on the new chip has been optimized to enable both Quad Small Form Factor Pluggable – Double Density and Octal Small Form Factor Pluggable port types for 500 GbE, 200 GbE, and 400 GbE deployments.

If all of those technical details make your head spin, not to worry.  The short of it is that once these chips go mainstream, network output is going to increase dramatically, which means that network speeds are about to get even faster.

Unless you run or manage a huge data center, you’ll probably never have direct contact with these chips. However, as big data centers begin deploying them, you’ll absolutely see the benefits.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.