Vitesse addresses space-efficient network equipment with new PHY transceiver

APRIL 6, 2009 -- The semiconductor supplier says its gigabit PHY extends battery life and lowers operator costs for Ethernet modems.

APRIL 6, 2009 -- Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (search Lightwave for Vitesse), a supplier of advanced IC products for carrier and enterprise networks, has unveiled a new small-form-factor version of its SimpliPHY VSC8641, a IEEE 802.3-compliant Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) PHY transceiver. Geared toward space-conscious consumer electronic designs, the device is housed in an 88-pin QFN package that reduces required board space by 30%.

The built-in energy management, cable diagnostic, and self-correction features of the VSC8641, says Vitesse, enable designers to more efficiently tackle next-generation network deployment in power-sensitive applications such as cable modems and PON optical network terminals containing batteries for E911 compliance during power outages.

Among its features, the VSC8641 includes EcoEthernet features to reduce overall network energy use. ActiPHY is an automatic power savings mode that can detect unused Ethernet ports on network devices and power them down or place them in standby mode, which can result in up to 75% savings in energy compared to a gigabit PHY operating at full 1000Base-T data rate, says the company. PerfectReach is an intelligent algorithm that actively adjusts the power level needed based on cable length. According to the company, by combining these features into customer premises equipment (CPE), an OEM can upgrade to GbE speeds yet minimize impact on overall power consumption during times when batteries are employed to ensure E911 compliance is met.

"The VSC8641 PHY transceiver is the answer for electronics designers who are struggling to produce high-speed Ethernet access equipment for the consumer and simultaneously meeting the growing demand for green electronics," says Jason Rock, product marketing manager for Vitesse. "This device can now allow formerly 10/100 Ethernet designs to upgrade to gigabit technology."

The VSC8641 employs SimpliPHY patented, fully balanced, voltage-mode line driver technology suitable for various environments where CPE may be located for LAN access. The company claims the device's fully adaptive equalization and timing recovery algorithms provide greater noise tolerance performance than competitive technologies, enabling the technology to help ODMs and OEMs meet radiated emissions standards such as FCC Class B and helping reduce overall system bill-of-material (BOM) costs. Board designers also can design for electrostatic-tolerant designs that meet the IEC 64000-4-2 requirement with the PHY.

The PHY device also includes proprietary digital signal processing (DSP) technology for greater tolerance to clock frequency offsets and cable noises associated with voltage and temperature variations that may disturb both the cabling and access equipment. To successfully link and interoperate with various LAN cables, including ones that do not meet the required cabling specification, VeriPHY technology can correct cable polarity errors and cable pair mismatches.

VeriPHY is Vitesse's cable diagnostics suite that provides a service operator, via remote access, network and cable operating and status information such as the cable length, connection termination status, and open/short fault location. The real-time cable diagnostics are similar to handheld cable test equipment and reportedly eliminate the need for an on-site technician to be present. The device also implements HP Auto MDI-X, a feature that allows a PHY to successfully connect to either a straight or crossover cable.

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