Xilinx comes to OFC with a design platform – and an Omiino acquisition

Published March 2011

The Optical Fibers in Communications Conference opens 7th March 2011 in Los Angeles, and Xilinx Inc. will be there with its first Targeted Design Platform for the optical transport market. As an added bonus, Xilinx will announce the acquisition of Omiino, an IP specialist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, just think of Omiino as the former engineering specialists for Sonet/SDH and Optical Ethernet within Nortel Networks.

By taking some critical Layer 2 and 3 core IP internal at a time when 10G Ethernet networks are being upgraded to 40G and 100G backbones, Xilinx is preparing itself for the generations to come, when multiplexed channels will allow backbones of 400 Gigabits per second. Gilles Garcia, Director of wireline communications at Xilinx, said that 28-nm Virtex-7 families will be able to serve fiber Ethernet needs beyong 100 Gbits/sec. The TDP being shown at OFC uses the Virtex-6 HXT device, but users can upgrade to Virtex-7 HT as soon as FPGAs move into production.

The TDP is aimed at Optical Transport Network (OTN) designs, a generalized fiber transport backbone that is taking the place of Sonet/SDH in most multi-gigabit public network applications. Xilinx sought Omiino’s expertise because the company has established itself as an expert in Layer 2 framing of OTN. Omiino has worked with a couple ASSP developers in the past, but Garcia said that the bulk of its work had been with Xilinx prior to the acquisition, so taking the Omiino staff internal will have little effect on the overall business operations in Belfast.

The reference design is flexible enough to serve several specific tasks, such as transport switching, transponding from 100G Ethernet to OTU-4, and transponding from 10 x 10 to OTU-4. Garcia said that the TDP also is flexible enough to serve several hybrid functions at once, such as muxponding and switching. In addition to IP from Omiino and Xilinx itself, the TDP also uses some Gigabit Forward Error Correction and overhead processing IP from independent software company Xelic.

The 28-Gbit transceivers on the Virtex-6 already comply with the Optical Internetworking Forum’s CEI-28G interface, and the Virtex-7 HT family is design to work with CFP2 and QSFPF2 optical modules, follow-ons to the popular SFP anf QSFP, which are designed to scale to 400 Gbits/sec. Xilinx new TDP sells for $25,000 without optical modules, and will begin shipping in April.