FEBRUARY 4, 2008 -- Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (search for Vitesse) has announced the VSC3406, a 6.375-Gbit/sec multi-rate backplane transceiver. The VSC3406 is the first in a family of CDR products to feature Vitesse's new VScope waveform viewing technology that embeds an oscilloscope function into the receiver of input CDR circuits. (See story here.) This signal integrity chip is designed to give engineers a single device that enables both a high-speed transceiver function and verification mechanism.
"Embedded oscilloscope functionality can potentially lower network testing and maintenance costs, an ongoing concern for anyone who manages a network," said Aileen Arcilla, senior analyst - semiconductors: networking, broadband, and storage for International Data Corp. (IDC). "Providing this means of remote diagnostic capability can offer telecom carriers and data center managers a more direct way to verify signal integrity within the data path itself and take corrective action in a timelier manner."
The VSC3406 multi-rate, multi-function backplane transceiver has six high-speed differential transmit and receive interfaces, complete with on-chip termination for interfacing to a variety of media such as PCB traces, cables, or optoelectronic devices connected to optical fiber. The chip features a 2:1 rate multiplier mode that allows data "multiplication" up to 6.375 Gbits/sec, doubling bandwidth over existing backplanes. A typical application includes XAUI rate-doubling for efficient transmission in high-speed backplanes over half the number of wires. Coupled with the signal equalization function, these rate multiplier modes can be used to run double and quadruple the amount of bandwidth over existing copper traces, Vitesse asserts. This feature will give OEMs the ability to field upgrade equipment to handle greater bandwidth by upgrading line cards and switch cards in existing equipment, the company adds.
With a single reference clock input, the VSC3406 achieves what Vitesse labels "highly advanced operations at any data rate" between 0.125 and 6.375 Gbits/sec. The company also says the multi-rate CDR of the VSC3406 makes it well suited for next-generation backplanes and communication equipment running a variety of protocols, including Gigabit Ethernet, XAUI, Fibre Channel, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), Serial ATA (SATA), and PCI Express (PCIe).
A fully non-blocking, multicast architecture allows the VSC3406 to be user-configured via a simple, two-wire serial interface for a broad range of signal conditioner, retimer, crossbar, or rate multiplication applications. A high degree of signal integrity is achieved by means of configurable input and output equalization, the company says. Cost-effectiveness is realized because engineers can use one product across multiple applications and platforms allowing for maximum re-use and research and development savings, Vitesse concludes.
General samples of VSC3406 devices will be available in the second quarter of 2008. The VSC3406 is priced at $60 in volume quantities and is available in an 81-pin, 10x10-mm FCBGA package.
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