Retimer supports 800G AECs to meet the rise of generative AI networks

The rise of generative AI and AI/ML technologies is fuelling demand for more high-speed connections, which is in turn driving 800G connectivity in back end data centre networks and applications. Microchip said this can be optimally addressed using active electrical cables (AECs) and announced that it has created an accelerated development path for these quad small form factor pluggable double density (QSFP-DD) and octal small form factor pluggable (OSFP) AEC cable products using its META-DX2C 800G retimer. The retimer is supported by a hardware reference design and complete common management interface specification (CMIS) software package to minimise development resources needed for cable manufacturers.
“The newest and most compact member of our META-DX2 Ethernet PHY family leverages Microchip’s . . . microcontrollers and other key components to provide a complete reference design that accelerates AEC product development, reduces resource investments and simplifies supply chain management,” said Maher Fahmi, vice president for Microchip’s communications business unit. “The META-DX2C retimer enables AEC connections for the high-density networks that are needed for generative AI applications,” he added.
The META-DX2C retimer uses high-performance, long-reach 112G SerDes that can support up to 40dB reach, enabling the design of thinner and longer AECs that are crucial for dense hyperscale infrastructure buildouts. Microchip also offers a fully validated paddle card hardware reference design and a software package that implements the CMIS software in a Microchip 32-bit PIC32 microcontroller. Microchip’s META-DX2C compact retimer can also solve similar connectivity challenges in high-capacity data centre switches and routers where high density and data rates create signal integrity problems.
Alan Weckel, co-founder and analyst with the market research firm 650 Group, believes generative AI is impacting how data centre infrastructure is being built and the amount of network connectivity that is required “in a big way”.
“To address this challenge, hyperscalers need solutions that are very high bandwidth as well as low power and low cost. We are seeing a transition to active electrical cables as the optimal solution for this challenge. Microchip’s META-DX2C 800G AEC retimer is aligned with this trend and is the type of solution needed to enable growth in this area,” he said.
Microchip ’s META-DX2C 800G AEC solution is supported by a paddle card reference design that includes the META-DX2C retimer, PIC32 microcontroller, with Microchip’s oscillators, buck regulator and linear voltage regulator. Having these elements available from a single supplier can simplify a customer’s supply chain management, noted the company. The included software development kit supports the CMIS 5.2 specification.
The META-DX2C retimer, part #PM6254, with hardware reference design, firmware solution and software development kit (SDK), is available now.

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