Earlier in the week, eSilicon and IDT announced a collaboration to accelerate development of next-generation RapidIO switches. These are used to meet the higher performance demands required for new wireless, embedded and computing infrastructures. The two companies will initially work together to develop RapidIO switches operating at 40Gbps per port, based on the RapidIO 10xN specification.
The switches developed under this program will be enable the next generation of wireless base-stations, such as cloud-RAN (which I previously wrote about here if you don’t know what it is), LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), and 5G. But it will also find use in emerging architectures such as base stations co-located with high-performance computing (HPC) platforms.
IDT’s production 20 Gbps per port switches are currently the de facto standard for the clustering of DSPs, microprocessors and ASICs in existing 3G and 4G base stations already deployed. Existing RapidIO switches from IDT are in virtually every 4G base station in the world. But a new generation of base stations is on the way requiring higher performance and scalability. Indeed the new switches will not only offer 40 Gbps performance, but 100ns latency and scalable to 4 billion nodes in a network. Wow, that’s a large network.
The plan is to combine eSilicon’s experience with 28nm implementation, including development of fast SerDes and custom memories, and complement that with IDT’s expertise in RapidIO design.
The requirements for RapidIO are largely driven by its need for use in wireless base stations, although it does have applicability in other systems. But base stations used to implement 4G, LTE or WiMAX are a particularly demanding application. They must:
- Maximize the number of subscribers per antenna array/base station
- Support more data bits per subscriber in the form of data and video (beyond narrowband voice)
- Provide real-time data video and voice aggregating to beyond 1 Mbps per subscriber
- Minimize power consumption
- More data per subscriber, up to 100 Mbps
- More processing per data bit per user by FPGA/ASIC/DSP cluster
- Higher-speed handoffs between base stations
- More onerous Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) Physical Layer Protocol (PhY)-based processing compared with current 3G platforms