Marvell Unveils 5nm Multi-Gigabit Ethernet PHY Platform for Next-Gen Network Technologies

Marvell Technology, a leading provider of data infrastructure semiconductor solutions, has introduced a groundbreaking technology platform for 5nm multi-gigabit copper Ethernet PHYs.
Marvell at MWC 2019
This platform aims to empower enterprise network equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders to achieve the demanding energy efficiency and performance benchmarks set by upcoming multi-gigabit network technologies, including Wi-Fi 7.

PHYs, or physical layer transceivers, play a crucial role in managing the transfer of digital data between copper, fiber-optic, and wireless systems within modern networks. As digital data traverses these networks, it often passes through numerous PHYs. Innovations in PHY technology are pivotal in delivering the enhanced bandwidth, reach, link performance, and security required by the growing connectivity demands of today’s data infrastructure.

Marvell’s 5nm multi-gig PHY platform is built around optimized circuit designs, customized digital logic, enhanced DSP algorithms, and other innovations. This technology enables the delivery of 10 Gbps performance while consuming only half the power of previous generation devices developed by Marvell. The platform serves as a foundation for standalone PHYs, integrated System-on-Chips (SoCs), and custom Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) tailored to specific markets and applications.

The reduction in PHY power consumption offers equipment manufacturers greater flexibility in designing products. It allows for the reduction of heat sinks and fans, the allocation of more power to enhance performance features, and the overall reduction of power consumption to align with sustainable IT objectives. With a strong presence in multi-gigabit PHYs, including four generations of PHYs in production, Marvell’s Alaska M multi-gigabit PHYs and the Prestera series switches have been purpose-built to accelerate the transition to multi-gigabit networking in enterprise networks.

One of the highlights of this launch is the Alaska M 3610 Ethernet PHY, the inaugural chip based on the new platform. Designed for single-port multi-gigabit PHY, it supports the multi-gigabit backhaul links that enhance Wi-Fi performance. With Wi-Fi 7 anticipated to provide over four times the maximum aggregate data rate of Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, and nearly seven times that of Wi-Fi 5, the performance leap will facilitate more reliable connections and the emergence of applications like augmented reality.

The increased data throughput of Wi-Fi 7 necessitates multiple backhaul links with PHYs operating at speeds up to 10 Gbps. This demands transformative enhancements in backhaul link performance and power efficiency. The Alaska M 3610, consuming under 1W of power, enables manufacturers to fulfill these performance goals and supports the adoption of Wi-Fi 7.

The Alaska M 3610 also includes IEEE 802.1AE 256-bit hardware-based link-layer Media Access Control (MACsec) for flexible encryption deployment, while mitigating the cost and power implications of integrating this functionality into an access point’s system-on-chip.

“PHY innovation is absolutely essential for meeting the bandwidth demands of AI, AR, remote work, and other high-bandwidth applications,” said Venu Balasubramonian, Vice President of Product Marketing, High-Speed Connectivity and PHY Business Unit at Marvell.

The Marvell 5nm Alaska M 3610 10 Gbps Ethernet PHY is currently in the sampling phase for select customers.