Atheros unveils 10G EPON OLT, ONU chips - Lightwave

Atheros unveils 10G EPON OLT, ONU chips

JANUARY 31, 2011 By Stephen Hardy -- Atheros Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHR), leveraging its acquisition of Opulan, has announced what a company source termed the first 10G EPON ASSP chipset that includes devices for both the 10G EPON optical line terminal (OLT) and optical network unit (ONU).

According to Dong Liu, marketing manager with the Access Business Unit of Atheros and a former Opulan employee, Atheros already has received purchase orders for the devices, which are available for sampling. While the OPL08850-AC2B ONU chip is the second 10G EPON ONU semiconductor on the market (behind a device from Broadcom), the OPL08865-AC2B OLT system-on-chip is the first such ASSP available, Liu asserts.

Both devices will support asymmetrical 10G EPON applications, with 10 Gbps downstream and 1 Gbps upstream. Chips that support symmetrical 10-Gbps operation are in development. However, Liu says that asymmetric applications will dominate 10G EPON deployments for the next two or three years at least. Liu expects the 10G EPON chips to support fiber to the building (FTTB) deployments, first in China and next in Japan. He also expects cable operators in the U.S. to adopt 10G EPON to support delivery of business services, probably in the form of systems that comply with the new DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON standards.

The chipset is designed to integrate all of the media access, traffic management, and switching components needed to build OLT and ONU equipment, including the 10G and 1G EPON media access controllers (MACs), a MIPS24KEc processor, configurable DDR2 and DDR3 controllers, a serializer/deserializer (SerDes), and standard 10G Ethernet, SGMII, and XAUI interfaces. Liu says that one of the strengths of the offering is the company’s proprietary packet processing/traffic management hardware engine that supports the TR-156 standard.

Atheros said in a press release that the chips will be in volume production “soon.” A reference design is also available.

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