Many of the world's top experts in high-speed chip and board design will convene in Silicon Valley this week at DesignCon to explore the engineering zen of life at 28 Gbit/s and beyond.
The event gathers signal and power integrity specialists to explore every technique for squeezing an extra drop of link budget to enable ultra-fast connection. Topics span everything from signaling techniques to channel materials, the latest in gigahertz testers, and new modeling and simulation software. Here are just eight of the several dozen sessions at the show that give some flavor of the need for speed in today's leading-edge designs.
Engineers from Cisco, Intel, Marvel, and other companies will give an update on the 100 Gbit/s Ethernet backplane standard, a.k.a. IEEE 802.3bj. Their focus is on signaling techniques for tight link budgets. In a separate session, Cisco engineers will talk about hitting acceptable bit-error rates on 100G designs.
The rise of Internet traffic, especially over mobile systems, is driving a need for 100G links in core networks. Those links are primarily built up from four 25G connections based on 28G SerDes. Several sessions will explore the nuances of taming 28G SerDes, including one from SiSoft.
LSI engineers will push beyond some of the 28G work in a talk on a 56 Gbit/s chip-to-module link that gives a look at what's coming next. Similarly, Rambus will take a look into the future in a session on optimization techniques for a package-to-board interface of a 50 Gbit/s medium-reach SerDes channel.
Nvidia engineers will explore what's beyond today's 10 Gbit/s memory interfaces for bandwidth-starved graphics processors. The session ambitiously refers to future terabit-class systems.
The IEEE 802.3bq standard for delivering 40G of Ethernet 30 meters over copper twisted pairs is the subject of a talk by Cisco. Two engineers from Ericsson will talk more broadly about issues getting high-speed serial links into production systems.
Experts from Altera, Broadcom, Huawei, Juniper, and Samsung will also present their work. And, as usual, there will be a solid collection of high-speed design consultants, the firemen who step in when designs just aren't working.
I don't expect I'll be able to get to even half of these sessions, which are just some of the cream of the conference. If you are showing or seeing something cool at DesignCon, jump on the message boards here or around one of our other stories on the event, and give us the benefit of your perspective.