Infineon PHY enables small footprint, low power for Gigabit applications

AUGUST 4, 2009 -- The company says its device is the world's first Gigabit PHY compliant with new energy-efficient Ethernet guidelines, with power consumption reduced by up to 90%.

AUGUST 4, 2009 -- Infineon Technologies AG (search Lightwave for Infineon) has announced what it claims is the most energy-efficient Gigabit Ethernet physical layer (PHY) IC available. The new XWAY PHY11G is reportedly the first IC compliant with Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) guidelines for energy efficiency, with a small footprint for Gigabit home networking applications. The IC targets all major broadband applications, including xDSL and PON routers in home gateways, IP phones, PC motherboards, and consumer applications such as IP TVs, IP set-top boxes, game consoles, and printers.

The PHY enables high-speed data transmission at throughputs of 1 Gbps, which is the next-generation standard for future broadband connectivity compared to today's 100-Mbps networks. With Gigabit Ethernet, copying the content of an 8-Gbyte flash card to a network attached storage drive requires less than two minutes compared to more than 20 minutes with current generation Fast Ethernet connectivity.

The XWAY PHY11G implements the Energy Efficient Ethernet guidelines, which are based on the upcoming IEEE 802.3az standard. The IC reduces its energy use by up to 90% (50 mW instead of 500 mW) during idle periods, when there is no data traffic over the Ethernet link. Typical Gigabit PHY ICs do not have this low-power mode. When operating under full load, the Infineon technology consumes at least 25% less energy compared to existing devices, spending less than 400 mW in total.

According to market studies, typical households have their home networks turned on 24/7, whereas the actual usage is less than 1%. With EEE implemented, devices enter low-power mode when no data is sent.

"Support for Energy Efficient Ethernet is the most important feature of the XWAY PHY11G, since it will help our customers deliver value in terms of actual energy savings for purchasers of home network gear. For example, if the 150 million PHYs in home networks today were replaced by our Infineon solution, it would save 500 Gigawatt-hours a year, which is equivalent to the yearly capacity of a coal-burning power plant," says Christian Wolff, president of the Wireline Communications Division at Infineon Technologies.

The XWAY PHY11G family includes single-port Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) PHY ICs supporting half- and full-duplex modes at 10Base-T, 10Base-Te, 100Base-TX, 1000Base-T, and 1000Base-X exceeding the IEEE standards performance requirements. The device is manufactured in 65-nm process technology and available in two small packages: the VQFN-48 and the LQFP-64 package at footprints of 7x7 mm and 12x12 mm, respectively. The IC can be operated out of a single power supply ranging from 2.5 to 3.3 V using its integrated DC/DC switching regulator at minimal external cost.

Infineon also offers the XWAY PHY22F, a dual-port Fast Ethernet PHY with the same EEE features. Samples of the XWAY PHY11G and XWAY PHY22F will be available in 4Q09 with volume production expected to start in 1Q10.

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