Silicon Labs and Calnex simplify SyncE applications at 25G and 100G Ethernet rates

Silicon Labs and Calnex Solutions announced a proven reference design for ITU-T G.8262-compliant Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE) applications at 25G and 100G Ethernet rates. The solution is based on the Marvell® Alaska® C family of high-speed Ethernet transceivers, Silicon Labs’ Si5348 low-jitter network synchroniser clock and the Calnex Paragon-100G test platform.

Cisco VNI forecasts mobile data traffic is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 46 percent between 2016 and 2021. This transition is driving service providers to deploy higher capacity 25GbE and 100GbE links to backhaul mobile data from wireless base stations to metro/core optical networks.

4G and 5G networks have stringent requirements for phase and frequency synchronisation to mitigate interference and more effectively share user bandwidth between adjacent cell sites. Mobile backhaul and fronthaul networks will use a combination of IEEE® 1588 and SyncE to distribute phase and frequency synchronisation across the network.

The joint Silicon Labs and Marvell solution enables equipment providers to extend SyncE to their highest speed backhaul and fronthaul networks and design with confidence using a proven solution for packet network synchronisation.

“Carriers and data centre operators are responding to the insatiable demand for video streaming and mobile data by transitioning to higher speed Ethernet networks,” said James Wilson, senior marketing director for Silicon Labs’ timing products. “Silicon Labs is excited to partner with Marvell and Calnex to offer a proven, SyncE-compliant solution for 25/50/100/200/400GbE designs.”

The joint solution uses Silicon Labs’ Si5348 low-jitter network synchroniser in combination with the Marvell Alaska C 88X5123 and 88X5113 25GbE/100GbE industrial temperature-capable Ethernet transceivers. The Si5348 synchroniser, a part of Silicon Labs’ growing portfolio of high-performance network synchronisation products, is the industry’s lowest jitter, most highly integrated clock solution for Synchronous Ethernet.

The device’s industry-leading jitter performance of 100 fs rms (typ) optimises transceiver performance and helps minimise system-level bit-error rates. The device supports three fully independent, frequency flexible DSPLLs, enabling a single clock IC to support SyncE clock synchronisation and clock generation as well as general-purpose timing for FPGAs, processors and other devices.

James Wilson

The solution was tested using the Calnex Paragon-100G, a fully SyncE-compliant test platform that provides automated wander, jitter, transient and IEEE-1588 precision time protocol testing with industry-leading measurement precision. The overall solution, including the network synchroniser and Ethernet transceiver, was fully tested for compliance with ITU-T G.8262.

Test results show that the solution has significant margin to G.8262 Ethernet Equipment Clock (EEC) Option 1 and Option 2 jitter generation and jitter tolerance requirements. The design is optimised to minimise phase transients caused by a protection switch (e.g., a fiber cut). The resulting solution provides significant margin to both current ITU-T G.8262 specifications as well as the more stringent G.8262.1 enhanced EEC standards currently in development. For a copy of this SyncE compliance report, click here.

“Mobile backhaul is becoming an important application for Marvell’s Alaska C 100GbE/25GbE transceivers, and Marvell is delighted to be a part of the Silicon Labs’ ITU-T G.8262 compliant solution for this market,” said Ron Cates, senior director for Marvell’s Ethernet PHY product line.

“Clocking technologies like SyncE and precision time protocol (PTP) give carriers, webscale companies and data centers the ability to offer high-value services for applications like video and mobile data,” said Anand Ram, vice president of Marketing at Calnex.

“This approach only works if the performance of SyncE and PTP is proven at higher speeds including 25G, 100G and beyond. With this testing project, Silicon Labs, Marvell and Calnex have proven that we fully comply with SyncE standards, enabling hardware engineers to design 25GbE/100GbE systems with confidence using this joint solution.”

For more information about the Calnex Paragon-100G, click here.

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