Marvell Aims to Enable 25 GbE Adoption

Silicon vendor announces new Prestera switches and Alaska Ethernet transceivers

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Oct 24, 2016
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For data center networking, the 25 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) standard serves an important role, offering more bandwidth than legacy 10 GbE, but with less complexity and cost than 40 or 100 GbE.

To help fully enable the promise of 25 GbE requires silicon vendors, like Marvell, to step up to the plate to help enable an easy transition. To that end, Marvell announced on October 24 new Prestera switches and Alaska Ethernet transceivers.

The new Prestera 98CX84xx switch family is being targeted for Top of Rack (ToR) switches, which are likely among the most common use cases for 25 GbE, helping to aggregate rack server traffic.

Among the key promises that Marvell is making with the Prestera is a low power profile. According to Marvell, with Prestera, data center operators will only need 1 watt of power per per 25 GbE port when used in ToR applications.

With the Alaska C 88X5123 Ethernet transceiver, Marvell is helping to enable 25 GbE deployment with existing ASIC silicon. Typically new ASICS (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) are required to enable new types of Ethernet standards.

Additionally Marvell has announced the Alaska C 88X5113 Ethernet transceiver, which can be used to take a 40 GbE data stream and convert it into a 25 GbE stream. According to Marvel, the Alaska C 88X5113 is a bid to help accelerate deployment of 25 GbE by enabling existing 40 GbE Network Interface Card Controllers to be able to support 25 GbE.

"I believe Marvell’s 25GbE-optimized devices are a significant contribution to the industry, helping drive the adoption of 25GbE server access to meet increasing bandwidth demands in data centers," Michael Zimmerman, vice president and general manager of Marvell's Connectivity, Storage and Infrastructure (CSI) Business Unit, said in a statement.

The 25 GbE bandwidth speed is actually made up of two different IEEE standards including IEEE 802.3bp, IEEE 802.3by, which were ratified in July 2016. IEEE 802.3bq is titled, "Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Physical Layer and Management Parameters for 25 Gb/s and 40 Gb/s Operation," while 802.3by is titled, "Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Media Access Control Parameters, Physical Layers and Management Parameters for 25 Gb/s Operation."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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