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Marvell Stacks Up Enterprise Switches

August 18, 2020

Author: Bob Wheeler

Wi-Fi 6 is vying to replace Ethernet as the default when connecting PCs to enterprise networks. It sounds like bad news for Ethernet-switch vendors, but all those Wi-Fi access points (APs) still use Ethernet backhaul. Furthermore, as Wi-Fi technology advances, backhaul bandwidths are exceeding Gigabit Ethernet’s capacity, pushing access ports to the newer 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps (multigigabit) rates. In their first-generation multigigabit switches, OEMs often allowed only a subset of access ports to handle the new rates, employing 10GBase-T PHYs with 2.5/5GBase-T on these selected ports. Enterprise customers, however, want their networks ready for a future where most PC users connect via Wi-Fi, so they want all ports multigigabit enabled.

To protect customers’ investments, Marvell introduced a plethora of Prestera switches and Alaska PHYs optimized to meet these future needs. The new products span access, aggregation, and core layers, updating network interfaces from bottom to top. For example, customers can build a premium access switch using the new Prestera DX4590 switch and Alaska E2540 PHY. This system provides 48 access ports for AP and PC connections operating at up to 5Gbps over Category 5e and Category 6 unshielded-twisted-pair (UTP) wiring. Boasting 800Gbps of stacking bandwidth, four such systems can stack without meaningful oversubscription. Four uplink ports offer connections to aggregation switches and can operate at up to 50Gbps.

Marvell also announced Prestera DX35xx and DX25xx switches for low-density networks that require less stacking bandwidth or fewer access ports. For the aggregation and core layers, the new EX56xx provides up to 192x25Gbps downlink ports plus up to 3.2Tbps of bandwidth for 100/200/400GbE uplink ports. Four new Alaska PHYs round out the lineup, spanning 1000Base-T to 10GBase-T for UTP as well as 100GbE optical ports.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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