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Innovium Debuts 25.6Tbps Switch

May 26, 2020

Author: Bob Wheeler

Innovium is first to announce a 25.6Tbps Ether­net switch chip using next-generation 100Gbps PAM4 serdes. Teralynx 8 doubles the per-lane data rate of its pre­decessor, yielding up to 64x400G Ethernet ports. The new chip includes features that appeared first in Teralynx 5, which sampled in late 2019. The startup plans to sample Teralynx 8, its first 7nm design, in the second half of this year. As Figure 1 shows, it will then offer distinct 6.4Tbps, 12.8Tbps, and 25.6Tbps products. The company expects Teralynx 8 will initially serve leaf, spine, and data-center-interconnect (DCI) switches in the largest data centers while prior Teralynx chips per­form top-of-rack (ToR) duties. It will also of­fer 8.0Tbps and 12.8Tbps Teralynx 8 chips, how­ever, for next-generation ToR switches that handle 100G Ether­net server connections.

Although Broadcom was first to sample a 25.6Tbps switch chip, Tomahawk 4, it implements 512x50Gbps PAM4 serdes to achieve that bandwidth. The chip is compatible with shipping 400GbE optical modules using 8x50Gbps electrical lanes, but it pushes the serdes-density limit. By contrast, Teralynx 8 works with next-generation optical modules that employ 100Gbps electrical I/O and that should begin sampling in the same timeframe as the new chip. Announcing first doesn’t guarantee sampling before competitors—the startup was first to announce a 12.8Tbps switch but delivered samples after Tomahawk 3.

Although the market for data-center switch chips has become crowded, Innovium now stands out as the remaining startup. It’s now large enough to manage multiple projects and customers, and funding has yet to become a constraint. Having preannounced Teralynx 8, however, it must now execute well to stay ahead of the pack. By delivering multiple product generations at the leading edge, Innovium can separate itself from others attempting to disrupt Broadcom’s dominance in data-center switching.

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