» Current | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | Subscribe

Linley Newsletter

Nephos Attacks Data-Center Switching

November 7, 2017

Author: Bob Wheeler

A new company backed by MediaTek, Nephos is quietly attacking the market for data-center switch silicon. It will soon qualify for production a 16nm switch family called Taurus that scales to 6.4Tbps, matching the throughput of Broadcom’s Tomahawk 2. This offering follows the 2016 introduction of the company’s first-generation Ethernet switch, Aries. Focusing exclusively on sales to large customers, Nephos has yet to formally announce either of these chips.

The company spun off in 1Q16, but MediaTek maintains a controlling interest. Taking advantage of its parent’s relationship with TSMC, Nephos adopted a novel multidie approach to its Taurus design. Each die implements up to 128x25Gbps serdes for 3.2Tbps of throughput. The company then uses TSMC’s wafer-level fanout (WLFO) to connect two die in a package, forming a 6.4Tbps switch chip. Externally, the NP8369 presents 64 ports of 100G Ethernet, looking much like Tomahawk 2. The single-die NP8367 provides 32x100GbE ports, whereas two derivatives of that chip serve top-of-rack duties with fewer 25GbE or 10GbE ports.

Nephos enters an increasingly crowded space, as both large and small competitors vie for sales to cloud-service providers (CSPs). Impressively, the newcomer will bring Taurus to production shortly after leader Broadcom did with Tomahawk 2. The only other vendor with a 6.4Tbps switch chip in production is startup Barefoot Networks, which offers a highly programmable design. Nephos stands apart from VC-backed startups, however, as its connection to MediaTek provides massive design and manufacturing resources.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

Subscribe to the Microprocessor Report and always get the full story!

Purchase the full article

Events

Linley Processor Conference 2017
Covers processors and IP cores used in deep learning, embedded, communications, automotive, IoT, and server designs.
October 4 - 5, 2017
Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, CA
More Events »

Newsletter

Linley Newsletter
Analysis of new developments in microprocessors and other semiconductor products
Subscribe to our Newsletter »