Silicon Blog

FlexE at SoC IP Days with Open-Silicon

Posted by Daniel Nenni on Apr 2, 2018 7:18:31 AM

Published by SemiWiki.com
Published on 03-30-2018

On Thursday April 5th the Design and Reuse SoC IP days continues in Santa Clara at the Hyatt Regency (my favorite hangout). SemiWiki is a co-sponsor and I am Chairman of the IP Security Track. More than 400 people have registered thus far and I expect a big turnout, if you look at the program you will see why. You should also know that registration is free and the food at the Hyatt is exceptional, absolutely!

In addition to RISC-V, IP Management, Automotive IP, Design Automation, Security IP, eFPGA, NVM, and Video IP, there is an Innovative IP section that features a talk “FlexE IP - A New flexible Ethernet client interface standard” presented by Vasan Karighattam, VP of Engineering, SoC and SSW, at Open Silicon. Prior to Open-Silicon, Vasan led the development of next-generation architectures of MDSL / HDSL transceivers and service framers, and was a key participant in the standards activity for the IEEE 802.17 Resilient Packet Ring MAC in the Optical Components group at Intel Corporation. 

Here is the presentation abstract:

Traditional hierarchical network model with several explicit layers of devices are evolving to more simplified network model with a cloud services layer and a transport layer. FlexE (Flexible Ethernet) is a communications protocol published by the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF). FlexE enables equipment to support new Ethernet connection types enabling simplified packet transport. FlexE allows data center providers to utilize optical transport network bandwidth in more flexible ways. FlexE dissociates the Ethernet rate on the client side from the actual physical interface (also called server) by introducing a new shim through the IEEE defined MAC and PCS layers. FlexE supports bonding, sub-rating, and channelization capabilities.

Open-Silicon’s FlexE IP is fully compliant to the OIF FlexE standard supporting various MAC client rates. Built upon a flexible and robust architecture, Open-Silicon’s FlexE IP core is compatible with various MACs supporting different rates. The FlexE IP supports FlexE aware, FlexE unaware and FlexE terminate modes of mapping over the transport network. Designed to be easily synthesizable into many ASIC technologies, the Open-Silicon FlexE IP is uniquely built to work with off-the-shelf MACs from leading technology vendors. Using vendor-specific proven MACs allows for fast and seamless integration of the FlexE IP into the technology of choice. 

If you need a quick primer on FlexE here is an animated chalk talk from Sebastien Gareau, Hardware Systems Architect at Ciena:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQf1nFt3bdc

You can also see a deep dive FlexE presentation from the Internet Engineering Task Force from March 2017: 

What is Flexible Ethernet

“FlexE refers to a generic mechanism defined in OIF-FLEXE-01.0 implementation agreement for supporting a variety of Ethernet MAC rates e.g.: – 200G MAC through bonding of 100GBASE-R PHYs – sub-rate of 50G MAC over a 100GBASE-R PHY. The FlexE group refers to a group of from 1 to 254 bonded 100G Ethernet PHYs. FlexE utilizes the FlexE group framework to provide the aforementioned flexible MAC rates.”

In addition to the rich technical content, more than 20 of your favorite IP companies will be on hand for networking, demos, and giveaways. Open-Silicon will showcase their Comprehensive IP Subsystem Solution for High-End Networking Applications and demonstrate its Comprehensive High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2) IP Subsystem Solution for 2.5D ASICs using FinFET technologies.

Remember, this is a free event and the food is exceptional. I hope to see you there!

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