» Current | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | Subscribe

Linley Newsletter

Intel Debuts 25GbE NIC

March 21, 2017

Author: Loring Wirbel

As part of a broader 5G-infrastructure announcement, Intel unveiled single- and dual-port versions of a 25G Ethernet adapter that it intends for direct-attach twinax-copper links in servers. The new Ethernet Network Adapter XXV710 can support SFP28 short- and long-reach optics as well, but the company expects copper interfaces to dominate server applications at 25Gbps.

The adapter is based on the XL710 Fortville controller that first appeared in 10GbE/40GbE NICs nearly three years ago. The XL710 uses a PCI Express 3.0 host interface to provide 64Gbps of bidirectional bandwidth. Although the new adapter is optimized for sub-5m copper, the 4x10GbE/1x40GbE controller chip can link to 40GBase-CR4/KR4, and it offers XLPPI/XLAUI for connecting QSFP+ modules. The XXV710 uses an external PHY to convert 40GbE to 25GbE.

By offering single- and dual-port 25GbE NICs using a standard PCIe form factor, as well as a special single-port NIC using the Open Compute Project’s mezzanine form factor, Intel shows it expects the 25GbE adapter to play a broad role in the data center. The company demonstrated its adapters at the recent Open Compute Project (OCP) meeting, in part because it has already delivered the single-port version using the OCP’s mezzanine 2.0 Type 1 form factor.

Intel clearly has a follow-on to Fortville in the works but is wise to offer 25GbE NICs based on Fortville to preserve market share in median Ethernet speeds. Its next-generation Ethernet controller will likely support 50GbE and 100GbE in addition to 25GbE. In the meantime, the XXV710 is a placeholder to preserve market share rather than a radical step up from earlier NIC designs.

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


Linley Spring Processor Conference 2020
Coming April 7-8, 2020
Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, CA
Register Now!
Linley Fall Processor Conference 2020
Coming October 28-29, 2020
Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, CA
More Events »


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