Marvell unveils PAM4 optical DSP integrating 200 Gbps electrical and optical interfaces

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Marvell Technology, a developer of data infrastructure semiconductor solutions, has announced the Marvell Nova 2, the industry's first 1.6 Tbps PAM4 optical DSP featuring 200 Gbps electrical and optical interfaces.

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Designed to meet the escalating performance demands of accelerated infrastructure, generative AI, and high-performance computing, the Nova optical DSP, a 1.6 Tbps device with 100 Gbps electrical and 200 Gbps optical interfaces announced last year, is now generally available.

Described as a breakthrough in optical connectivity technology, Nova optical DSPs enable module manufacturers to develop a wide range of industry-standard form factor optical modules that deliver 2x more bandwidth than current 800 Gbps optical modules for the transition to 200G interfaces in accelerated infrastructure.

By doubling optical module and interface bandwidth it greatly increases the amount of network traffic that can be managed within the same physical space, thereby paving a pathway to scale capacity and increase return on infrastructure investments.

"200 Gbps signalling will be a defining feature for the next wave of AI clusters and cloud data centres and provide the performance needed to deliver services based on generative AI and large language models," said Xi Wang, Ph.D., vice president of product marketing for Optical Connectivity at Marvell.

The intensive bandwidth and performance demands of AI and cloud workloads are fundamentally transforming, and accelerating, data infrastructure architectures. Bandwidth capacity in the cloud, measured by Ethernet ports shipped, continues to increase at over 50% per year while bandwidth for AI applications is growing at over 100% per year.

Optical DSP technology is critical for assuring signal integrity in high-speed, large and complex optical networks. The increasing need for greater connectivity bandwidth, the increasing size of AI clusters and cloud data centres, and the greater distances between nodes mean that optical DSPs are becoming more pervasive and more performant.

"Networking and connectivity are the linchpin for AI," said Alan Weckel, co-founder of 650 Group. "We are seeing increased focus on the performance of switches and optical modules by hyperscale cloud providers because they understand that networking performance is absolutely vital to the success of these new services."

The Nova family leverages four generations of proven PAM4 optical DSP technology from Marvell. The Nova 2 features eight 200 Gbps electrical lanes to the host device and eight 200 Gbps optical lanes to interface with a wide range of optical components to enable 1.6T total bandwidth that can fit inside standardised module form factors utilizing eight electrical lanes. Nova 2 based optical modules support backward compatibility for up to three generations.

Nova 2 is designed for next-generation AI networking fabric infrastructure where switches, network interface cards (NIC), and accelerators will be based with 200 Gbps I/O interfaces. The first flagship Nova device is designed for connecting devices based with 100 Gbps electrical I/O interfaces, used in clouds today.

Key features of the Nova 2 electro-optics platform include:

  • 200 Gbps per lane line-side transmitter interface supporting a wide range of high-speed lasers.
  • 200 Gbps per lane line-side receiver with companion Marvell TIAs, providing best-in-class linearity and low noise.
  • Integrated laser drivers, optimising power dissipation and transmit performance.
  • Latency-optimised FEC for 200 Gbps traffic