Optical ASICs


The growing demand of high-speed internet and wireless broadband is putting a strain on the existing infrastructure. Enterprise and carrier networks can no longer satisfy demand with a 10Gb/s interface and are starting to migrate to either 40Gb/s, 100Gb/s or even 400Gb/s based standards. Although it is possible to reach a 100Gb/s data transfer rate with copper-based cable using multiple lanes in parallel, the distance it can travel is very limited. Combining state-of-the-art signal processing with high-quality, but expensive, copper cables, a few meters of extension can be achieved. The length of the copper cable may be long enough for connection within a rack, but it is insufficient for clusters within datacenters or server farms. Because of the inherent inverse bandwidth-distance relationship of copper cable, cluster server designers have to embed signal repeaters, amplifiers, or similar devices for longer reach, all adding to the cost and difficulty of deploying and maintaining large, high-speed datacenters.

Optical-based cable has emerged as a suitable replacement for copper-based cable for high-speed network communications as it has multiple advantages: longer reach, higher bandwidth, limited EMI/RFI, lower BER, and it is physically lighter and smaller than copper cables. In order to make the new optical cable compatible with existing interfaces or protocols, optical ASIC is needed to translate electrical signals to optical signals and then back to electrical. Traditionally, the optical ASIC inside the Active Optical Cable works together with a discrete VCSEL driver, as well as a discrete TIA. GigPeak, the world leader in optics, is taking a step further to integrate the VCSEL driver, as well as the TIA, into the silicon. The end result is an integrated solution that’s has a much smaller footprint, power consumption, and cost. This low-cost optical ASIC has multiple applications, such as InfiniBand, Ethernet, Fibre Channel, SAS, HDMI, USB, Thunderbolt, or DisplayPort. The reduced footprint and power consumption also enable more channels to be combined into a single cable to further increase bandwidth and reduce cost.

With Ultra HD TV in the horizon, everything from camcorders to content delivery systems need to be able to deal with large amounts of data. Active Optical Cables are in a good position to take over the market because of their ability to transport large amounts of data economically. GigPeak is able to offer a complete solution for your optical ASIC needs. We will work with you from product concept to production with our veteran ASIC and Optics Team and support you every step of the way. For more information regarding GigPeak optical ASICs, please contact our sales team.

Design Flow

GigPeak spends considerable development effort to ensure that taping out an ASIC design is straight forward, predictable, and low risk. GigPeak utilizes industry standard tools from Cadence, Synopsys, Magma (now Synopsys), Syntest, and Mentor Graphics, and follows silicon-proven reference flows from foundries.