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Marvell unveils 5nm 800 Gbps optical DSP

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – March 25, 2024 – Marvell Technology, Inc., a company that designs and makes semiconductors that power the movement, storage, processing, and security of the world’s data, announced Spica Gen2-T, the 5nm 800 Gbps transmit-only PAM4 optical DSP. Designed for transmit retimed optical modules (TRO modules), Spica Gen2-T can reduce the power consumption of 800 Gbps optical modules by more than 40% while maintaining interoperability with conventional optical modules and IEEE 802.3 compliant host devices. With its advanced design, it provides high-speed data transmission with low power consumption and small form factor.

Escalating cloud and AI compute demands are driving service providers to expand the breadth and capacity of their optical interconnect networks and adopt higher-bandwidth optical modules so they can connect a growing number of accelerators into a single logical compute node. With some AI clusters requiring tens of thousands of connections, higher optical interconnect efficiency is critical.

Marvell consistently reduces power and cost per bit across generations of optical DSPs, empowering cloud service providers to optimize infrastructure. Additionally, Marvell develops DSPs fine-tuned for specific operating characteristics and emerging use cases. They cater to new classes like TRO, expanding link types, ensuring full interoperability with existing industry standards.

TRO modules employ transmit-only DSPs for digitizing, processing, equalizing, and amplifying data from hosts, conducting electrical-to-optical conversion during egress. Moreover, they use TIAs only to perform the optical-to-electrical conversion on the ingress path. TROs with transmit-only DSPs can reduce power consumption yet maintain the auto adaptation and compensation capability. This capability minimizes part-to-part, system-to-system variation when deployed in scale, which has become critical for large AI system deployment.

“Industrywide shipments of PAM4 optical DSPs are expected to more than triple by 2029 due to the urgent demand for bandwidth. At the same time, the growing pervasiveness and importance of optical technology in data center architectures will put a premium on efficient solutions,” said Vlad Kozlov, CEO and founder of LightCounting. “With transmit-only DSPs, Marvell is continuing its efforts to expand the boundaries for what can be accomplished with PAM4 technology.”

Spica Gen2-T is the latest member of the Marvell family of 800 Gbps optical DSPs. It is the most widely deployed optical DSP in cloud data centers and AI clusters. The 800 Gbps portfolio also includes Spica, the world’s first 800 Gbps PAM4 for pluggable modules; Spica Gen2, a 5nm bidirectional optical DSP for 500m -10km connections; and Perseus, a 5nm optical DSP featuring integrated TIAs and drivers. Spica, Spica Gen2, Spica Gen2-T, and Perseus are all based on the Marvell industry-leading PAM4 optical DSP architecture. Moreover, Marvell develops a portfolio of products optimized for different use cases from a core set of technologies. This provision of essential ingredients facilitates cost reduction, enhanced utilization, and optimized infrastructure for hyperscale cloud providers and others.

Notable features of Spica Gen2-T include:

  • Enables <8W 800G transmit retimed optical (TRO) module
  • Supports 1x800G, 2x400G, 8x100G connectivity
  • Supports independent lane operation
  • IEEE, MSA and CMIS compliant DSP that supports all 200G/400G/800G applications
  • Low-power transmit path-only DSP with integrated laser drivers for a wide range of optics
  • Advanced diagnostic feature for link monitoring

“Global deployment has seen millions of 800G modules based on Marvell’s Spica product family, responding to the surging demand for AI. As a result, the underlying systems and networks supporting these applications are evolving rapidly,” said Xi Wang, Ph.D., vice president of product marketing for Optical Connectivity at Marvell. “Spica Gen2-T underscores our commitment to improve the performance, efficiency, and reliability of accelerated infrastructure. Moreover, we aim to provide our customers with technology for optimizing infrastructure to suit their unique needs.”

News related to Marvell –

  1. Marvell unveils 200G interconnect tech at 2023 OCP summit
  2. Marvell unveils 5nm multi-gigabit PHY platform
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