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Innovium Delivers 12.8Tbps Switch

May 22, 2018

Author: Bob Wheeler

Late is a relative term, and close often counts in horseshoes and chip-design cycles. Innovium sampled its Teralynx 12.8Tbps switch only one quarter behind Broadcom’s Tomahawk 3. Investors rewarded Innovium with a new $77 million funding round, bringing its total raised to more than $160 million. Walden International joined the latest round along with existing venture firms and strategic investor Qualcomm.

An aggressive startup, Innovium preannounced Teralynx with a 3Q17 schedule for samples. Taping out a brand-new design of this complexity requires a massive verification effort, however, and sampling ultimately slipped into March. In the meantime, Broadcom sampled and announced Tomahawk 3, nullifying Innovium’s first-to-12.8Tbps claim.

Like that competitor, Teralynx implements 128x100G Ethernet ports using 256x50Gbps PAM4 serdes. It also handles 50G, 200G, and 400G Ethernet using PAM4 as well as 25G, 50G, and 100G Ethernet using NRZ. In addition to the 12.8Tbps IVM77700, the Teralynx family includes two 6.4Tbps variants and a 3.2Tbps variant. The 6.4Tbps IVM77500 omits PAM4, offering 256x25Gbps NRZ ports for backward compatibility with QSFP28 and SFP28 designs. The other 6.4Tbps version (IVM77510) provides 128x50Gbps PAM4 ports, serving 50GbE top-of-rack (ToR) systems. Finally, the 3.2Tbps IVM77310 implements 128x25Gbps NRZ ports for 25GbE ToR duties.

Remarkably, Innovium is posing the most direct challenge to Broadcom at the leading edge of data-center switching since the early days of 10GbE. Despite its delay in sampling, Teralynx is well within the window for the first PAM4-based switch designs. And the new funding gives Innovium the resources to support customer production ramps. Customers eager for an alternate vendor can now engage the startup with greater confidence that Teralynx will enable production deployments.

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