TranSwitch, Fulcrum pair on 10GBASE-CX4 switch reference design

September 28, 2006 -- TranSwitch and Fulcrum Microsystems have collaborated on a reference design intended to simplify the development of 10-Gigabit Ethernet switch systems that feature extended-reach physical connectivity over copper interfaces using the CX4 interface standard.

September 28, 2006 -- TranSwitch Corp. recently announced a collaboration with Fulcrum Microsystems on a reference design intended to simplify the development of 10-Gigabit Ethernet switch systems that feature extended-reach physical connectivity over copper interfaces using the widely-adopted CX4 interface standard.

The design, which employs TranSwitch's MY3128 PHY device and Fulcrum's FocalPoint FM2224 switch, extends the reach of standard 24-gauge CX4 cable to 30 meters and supports the new 30-gauge standard up to 15 meters. Additionally, it supports the ad hoc powered CX4 specification, which enables the copper cables to be replaced by low-cost optical connections. The companies say the combined platform ensures the performance required in the data center, offering less than 400 nanoseconds (ns) port-to-port latency. The reference design is available from both Fulcrum and TranSwitch.

"TranSwitch's PHY device has the best drive characteristics for moving data over CX4 cable, along with the lowest power at the lowest cost in the industry," says Hoshang Mulla, vice president of marketing for TranSwitch. "With our reference design, we have proven this high level of performance for easy implementation by customers."

"As the industry continues to adopt 10-Gigabit Ethernet networks, we are making it easy for switch designers to build media flexibility into their systems," adds Mike Zeile, vice president of marketing at Fulcrum Microsystems. "Our ability to use our FM2224 switch in conjunction with the CX4 retimer from TranSwitch enables us to dramatically simplify product development and improve the time to market."

The MY3128 is a fully integrated XAUI to CX4 retimer and continues TranSwitch's "Module-in-a-Chip" concept. Incorporating high levels of integration, the chip also employs a channel swap capability, which allows the user to maintain all high-speed signals on a single PC layer, regardless of connector configurations. According to TranSwitch, this reduces the entire PCB requirement to just four layers, further lowering overall system cost.

The FocalPoint FM2224 is a 10-Gigabit Ethernet switch chip with 200 ns of total latency, aimed at storage, computing and networking backplane, and interconnect applications. The chip features 24 integrated 10-Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, each of which can be configured to operate in 10 Gbit/sec, 2.5 Gbit/sec, and 10/100/1000 modes.

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