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Innovium Moves Down Market

October 22, 2019

Author: Bob Wheeler

There’s a pregnant pause while the networking industry awaits announcement of the first 25.6Tbps switch chip. Innovium decided to fill that void with new products that move down rather than up in bandwidth. The Teralynx 5 line ranges from 1.2Tbps to 6.4Tbps, extending the company’s portfolio to lower-cost and lower-power systems. The 12.8Tbps Teralynx 7 reached production in 1Q19, and Cisco is shipping it in the Nexus 3400-S family. That OEM is the obvious target for the new low-end chips. Innovium says it also has ODM customers shipping to cloud-service providers.

The Teralynx 5 family comprises five different models with a mix of port counts and speeds. At the top of the line, the IVM55610 and IVM55510 include 50Gbps PAM4 serdes, which enable 400G Ethernet as well as 50G/100G/200G Ethernet. The IVM55610 uses 128 serdes to handle up to 16x400GbE ports. It supports up to 128x50GbE ports, so any or all 400GbE ports can break out to lower speeds. Packing 96 serdes, the IVM55510 handles a 48x50GbE+6x400GbE configuration. The remainder of the Teralynx 5 family implements 25Gbps NRZ serdes, targeting private-cloud and edge data centers that employ a mix of 25GbE and 100GbE. Innovium builds Teralynx 5 in the same 16nm process as Teralynx 7, and it plans to sample the new family this quarter.

When Innovium launched its first chip at the bandwidth leading edge, it faced only a single competitor: Broadcom. By contrast, Teralynx 5 has numerous competitors including Intel (formerly Barefoot), Marvell, Mellanox, and Nephos, as well as Broadcom’s new Trident 4 line. The company hopes to parlay its 12.8Tbps design wins into a broader set of designs. Increasing its revenue will help it bridge the gap to 25.6Tbps switches, which hyperscale-data-center operators should start buying in 2021.

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