DesignCon is a great place to find out what’s going on with the next
generation of high-speed Ethernet products. Today they use four to ten
10G serdes ganged together to create 40 and 100G Ethernet links for core
network routers and switches. These are some of the most complex and
costly designs in networking.
That groaning sound you hear around San Jose’s Tasman Drive is the sound
of several hundred comms engineers trying to drive the industry to
25-28G serdes for 4x25G versions of high-speed Ethernet. From what I
hear, progress is good.
A 100 Gbit/second Ethernet test module.
So I am bringing another big question to DesignCon: Is it soup yet?
Experts at an evergreen panel on serdes will have answers—or at least strong opinions. Don’t get your expectations up too high. The title of the panel refers to “closed eyes” at 100G.
If you miss the panel, there are plenty of other opportunities. Look for 28G experts at papers by connector specialist Samtec or serdes designers Semtech. Three other groups will present work in the area—Intel and Altera, Agilent and Xilinx and a team from Dell, Molex and Texas Instruments.
I noticed your comments about materials so here are some thoughts: the industry is moving beyond just using conventional FR4. Most of the
change is geared toward the raw materials, like resin, glass fabrics and
copper, as well as a focus on hybrid constructions that utilize multiple
types of laminates in the same PCB. Spread glass is becoming popular again because of its more consistent rates of the signal speeds. We are also looking at material combinations that may function differently. Some layers of an interconnect may require high-speed materials, while other parts might only require FR4, or you may have a combination of materials on different layers. Another reason for the move to hybrid constructions is to lower costs, as high-speed laminates can reach 15x the cost of standard materials. Additionally, there is usually much more material used on a higher layer board. Another important change is the
move to lead free-assemblies in order to conform with international
standards for eco-friendly products. Dale Kersten, Vice President Operations, Global Engineering, Sanmina
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.