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Spectra7 Sets Sights on 56Gbps PAM4 Server Connectivity with Three New Reference Designs

Nvidia, Broadcom and Intel Set to Rollout New Higher Speed Network Interface Cards that Will Drive Need for Spectra7 Enabled Data Center Interconnects

Spectra7 Microsystems, a leading provider of high-performance analog semiconductor products for broadband connectivity markets, announced three new reference designs targeted at new server connectivity needs implementing 56Gbps PAM4 signaling on Ethernet Network Interface Cards (NICs). The leading suppliers of these cards, Nvidia, Broadcom and Intel, are all gearing up to release new products using this higher speed signaling.

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The data center Ethernet NIC market revenue is set to grow 28 percent in 2020 with growth accelerating through 2024, driven by server shipments and the adoption of higher speed offload and programmable NICs. This market is poised to hit $4.5 billion by 2024. With virtualization, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning driving up server workloads, the network connection is becoming a bandwidth bottleneck. These NICs are used in servers by Hyperscalers such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Tencent, and Alibaba.

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As servers adopt higher bandwidth ports that utilize 56Gbps PAM4 signaling, passive cables cannot serve all lengths needed. Instead of deploying optical interconnects that are much higher power and more costly, operators are looking to Active Copper Cables (ACCs) to serve this growing need. One example is Tencent who demonstrated a Spectra7 enabled ACC for server connectivity in September at China’s Open Data Center Committee (ODCC) conference. The 200Gbps demonstration showed a Spectra7 enabled ACC “splitter cable” connecting from a 200Gbps top-of-rack (ToR) switch port to 2 separate servers with 100Gbps NIC ports. The signaling in the cable was 56Gbps PAM4. This “splitter cable” architecture is being widely planned both in the US and in China for next generation deployments.

Spectra7 is announcing immediate availability of three reference designs to support this critical need. All designs utilize Spectra7’s Dual Channel 56Gbps PAM4 technology.

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