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Centec Modernizes Enterprise Ethernet

October 31, 2017

Author: Bob Wheeler

Centec has optimized its new Duet2 Ethernet switch chip for next-generation enterprise designs, delivering features unavailable from leaders Broadcom and Marvell. At the same time, the company is expanding its sales and marketing reach, hoping to win new designs beyond China and Korea. This introduction follows last year’s large funding round, part of China’s push to increase domestic chip sourcing.

Sampling now, Duet2 is an evolution of Centec’s GoldenGate switch chip. It adds new Ethernet speeds and interfaces, including 25G and 50G Ethernet as well as multiport USXGMII for 2.5G and 5G Ethernet. The chip also implements MACSec (802.1AE), enabling encrypted links without requiring PHYs that implement this protocol. The 400Gbps switch allows a range of port configurations using integrated 10Gbps and 25Gbps serdes.

In an enterprise switch, Duet2 serves 24x10GbE+4x100GbE designs, with the latter uplink/stacking ports divisible into 8x50GbE or 16x25GbE. It handles a 48x2.5GbE design with 25/50/100GbE uplinks as well. In addition to enterprise access and aggregation, Centec targets chassis switches and carrier access, including packet-transport networks and 10Gbps PON infrastructure.

Even with its unique 2.5GbE density and MACSec support, Duet2 still faces tough competition from incumbent Ethernet vendors. Marvell’s Aldrin switch is about one year ahead, having reached production in 1Q17. Broadcom’s programmable Trident 3 family also serves enterprise designs, but the variant most similar to Duet2 has yet to sample.

Scaling down in bandwidth from GoldenGate, Duet2 broadens Centec’s portfolio for OEMs that desire more than a point product. We expect the company will quickly introduce additional products, as its new funding has enabled it to maintain three development teams.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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