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  Date: 21st Mar 2012

FPGA and optical transceivers in single package for higher data-speed

Altera said it has demonstrated Optical FPGA technology developed in conjunction with Avago Technologies to increase interconnect bandwidth while reducing overall system complexity, power, and price.

Altera has integratedprogrammable devices and optical transceivers within a single package.

"The Optical FPGA technology demonstration underscores Altera's commitment to develop innovations that address major industry challenges and ultimately, enable new innovations," said Bradley Howe, vice president of IC Engineering at Altera. "As data rate demands continue to rapidly increase, engineers need to look beyond copper and traditional optical solutions in order to meet the performance, cost, and power demands of next-generation video, cloud computing, and 3D gaming applications."

Altera explains: In a loopback configuration, the demonstration shows 100GbE traffic of assorted packet sizes sent and received using the chip's internal traffic generator. The data path is sent back and forth through the FPGA transceivers and optical modules to achieve a bit error rate (BER) of 10^-12 or less. The short routing distance keeps signal integrity high and the emitted electromagnetic interference very low. Digital diagnostics monitoring (DDM), such as module case temperature and laser bias current, is also shown detecting potential issues and preventing link loss. This is especially critical for data center applications where link downtimes can equate to millions of dollars in lost revenue. Finally, the demonstration shows the optical FPGA's unique heat-sinking capability, which ensures the optics stay within the standard 0°C to 70°C temperature range.

"As the world leader in Data Center optics, Avago worked with Altera to combine our proven MicroPOD optical modules with their Stratix FPGAs, taking the concept of embedded parallel optics to the next level of integration," said Philip Gadd, vice president and general manager of the Fiber Optics Product Division at Avago. "This will allow FPGA users to utilize the high bandwidth and compact size advantages of parallel optical interfaces that are currently used in data centers."

Xilinx 7 series FPGA
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