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Entries in FPGA (8)


PCI Express back on track with latest specifications 

Richard Solomon and Scott Knowlton are waiting for me in the lobby of a well-known Tel-Aviv hotel overseeing the sunlit Mediterranean Sea.  

Richard SolomonSolomon, vice chair of the PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG), and Knowlton, its marketing working group co-chair, are visiting Israel to deliver a training event addressing the PCI Express (PCIe) high-speed serial bus standard. 

With over 750 member companies, PCI-SIG conducts several training events around the world each year. The locations are chosen where there is a concentration of companies and engineers undertaking PCIe designs. “These are chip, board and systems architects,” says Solomon. 

PCI-SIG has hit its stride after a prolonged quiet period. The group completed the PCIe 4.0 standard in 2017, seven years after it launched PCIe 3.0. The PCIe 4.0 doubles the serial bus speed and with the advent of PCIe 5.0, it will double again.

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SDM and MIMO: An interview with Bell Labs  

Bell Labs is claiming an industry first in demonstrating the recovery in real time of multiple signals sent over spatial-division multiplexed fibre. Gazettabyte spoke to two members of the research team to understand more.


Part 2: The capacity crunch and the role of SDM

The argument for spatial-division multiplexing (SDM) - the sending of optical signals down parallel fibre paths, whether multiple modes, cores or fibres - is the coming ‘capacity crunch’. The information-carrying capacity limit of fibre, for so long described as limitless, is being approached due to the continual yearly high growth in IP traffic. But if there is a looming capacity crunch, why are we not hearing about it from the world’s leading telcos? 

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Altera’s 30 billion transistor FPGA 

  • The Stratix 10 features a routing architecture that doubles overall clock speed and core performance 
  • The programmable family supports the co-packaging of transceiver chips to enable custom FPGAs  
  • The Stratix 10 family supports up to 5.5 million logic elements
  • Enhanced security features stop designs from being copied or tampered with      

Altera has detailed its most powerful FPGA family to date. Two variants of the Stratix 10 family have been announced: 10 FPGAs and 10 system-on-chip (SoC) devices that include a quad-core 64-bit architecture Cortex-A53 ARM processor alongside the programmable logic. The ARM processor can be clocked at up to 1.5 GHz.

The Stratix 10 family is implemented using Intel’s 14nm FinFET process and supports up to 5.5 million logic elements. The largest device in Altera’s 20nm Arria family of FPGAs has 1.15 million logic elements, equating to 6.4 billion transistors. “Extrapolating, this gives a figure of some 30 billion transistors for the Stratix 10,” says Craig Davis, senior product marketing manager at Altera. 


Altera's HyperFlex routing architecture. Shown (pointed to by the blue arrow) are the HyperFlex registers that sit at the junction of the interconnect traces. Also shown are the adaptive logic module blocks. Source: Altera.

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Altera optical FPGA in 100 Gigabit Ethernet traffic demo

Altera is demonstrating its optical FPGA at OFC/NFOEC, being held in Los Angeles this week. The FPGA, coupled to parallel optical interfaces, is being used to send and receive 100 Gigabit Ethernet packets of various sizes. 

The technology demonstrator comprises an Altera Stratix IV FPGA with 28, 11.3Gbps electrical transceivers coupled to two Avago Technologies' MicroPod optical modules. 


"FPGAs are now being used for full system level solutions"

Kevin Cackovic, Altera



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Transport processors now at 100 Gigabit

Cortina Systems has detailed its CS605x family of transport processors that support 100 Gigabit Ethernet and Optical Transport Network (OTN).

The CS6051 transport processor architecture. Source: Cortina Systems

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FPGA transceiver speed hikes bring optics to the fore 

Despite rapid increases in the transceiver speeds of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), the transition to optical has begun.

FPGA vendors Xilinx and Altera have increased their on-chip transceiver speeds four-fold since 2005, from 6.5Gbps to 28Gbps. But signal integrity issues and the rapid decline in reach associated with higher speed means optics is becoming a relevant option.

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Altera unveils its optical FPGA prototype

Altera has been showcasing a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chip with optical interfaces. The 'optical FPGA' prototype makes use of parallel optical interfaces from Avago Technologies.

Combining the FPGA with optics extends the reach of the chip's transceivers to up to 100m. Such a device, once commercially available, will be used to connect high-speed electronics on a line card without requiring exotic printed circuit board (PCB) materials. An optical FPGA will also be used to link equipment such as Ethernet switches in the data centre.

"It is solving a problem the industry is going to face," says Craig Davis, product marketing manager at Altera. "As you go to faster bit-rate transceivers, the losses on the PCB become huge."

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