Published in Network

Marvell bakes Alaska

by on27 October 2015

Dual port 100 Gbps Ethernet PHY transceiver

Marvell today announced its integrated dual port 100 Gigabits per second (Gbps) Ethernet PHY transceiver based around the IEEE 802.3bj standard.

Dubbed the Alaska C 88X5121 transceiver, Marvell claims it performs all physical layer functions required to drive 100Gbps Ethernet over a variety of media including optics, backplanes and passive copper cables.

The transceiver also supports 25 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) applications, as well as non-Ethernet applications such as Fibre Channel. The Marvell Alaska 88X5121 currently is sampling to Marvell’s global customers.

Michael Zimmerman, Vice President and General Manager, Connectivity, Storage and Infrastructure (CSI) BU, Marvell said that there was huge transitions in the technology from 10GbE to 25GbE and 40GbE to 100GbE.

“Marvell’s 88X5121 transceiver provides a standards-compliant PHY solution that’s required to enable this transition in datacentres. The 88X5121 builds on Marvell’s legacy of providing best-in-class features that enable customers to expand their Ethernet applications across a broad range of applications and implementations.”

Analyst outfit Dell’Oro Group said that cloud providers are entering an expansion and mega-upgrade cycle, driven by increased demand for capacity and aging infrastructure, that will be served by 25 Gbps server technology and 100 Gbps switch technology.


The gear is made using 28nm lithography, in a 17mm by 17mm package footprint. This allows QSFP28-based high density 100GbE and 25GbE line card designs.

The line interface of the 88X5121 is fully compliant to the IEEE 802.3bj standard that defines the physical layer specifications for 100Gbps Ethernet transmission over backplanes and copper cables.

It supports Reed-Solomon Forward Error Correction (FEC) function required for 100G-CR4 and 100G SR4 operation, as well as auto-negotiation and coefficient training protocol required by the IEEE 802.3 standards.

The 88X5121 connects to a MAC or switch on its host interface over a 4x25Gbps CAUI-4 link. The transmit drive and receiver equalization capabilities of the host interface are compliant to OIF CEI-25G LR specifications, significantly exceeding CAUI-4 requirements.

On the line interface, the device supports a variety of media types including single mode and multimode optical modules, passive and active copper direct attach cables and copper backplanes.

For applications not requiring the FEC functionality, the device also supports a low latency repeater mode where the functionalities associated with the Physical Coding Sublayer (PCS) and FEC are bypassed. In the repeater mode, the device can be used to drive backplanes and cables for non-Ethernet traffic types such as OTN and Fibre Channel. The eight lanes of the device can operate independent of the others in this mode, enabling simultaneous support for multiple standards. The 88X5121 wide band of operation (from 1.25Gbps to 28.05Gbps) supports a wide variety of standards and rates.

Last modified on 27 October 2015
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