New generation of RapidIO switch chips

Paul Boughton

Integrated Device Technology (IDT) is teaming up with chip design house eSilicon to develop a new generation of RapidIO switch chips, writes Nick Flaherty.

The two companies will work together to initially research and develop third generation RapidIO switches operating at 40Gbps per port based on the RapidIO 10xN specification to meet the growing performance demands of new system architectures for wireless, embedded and computing infrastructures.

Switches developed under this program will enable manufacturers of next-generation wireless base stations, Cloud RAN (radio access network), mobile-edge computing and other evolving carrier networks to stay ahead of mushrooming data usage accompanying the burgeoning use of portable devices.

“From design to implementation and volume manufacturing, this collaborative R&D effort is being established to expedite to market a new generation of RapidIO products to address the needs of higher-capacity, higher-bandwidth base stations and other carrier platforms,” said Jack Harding, CEO of eSilicon. “eSilicon’s expertise in 28-nanometer implementation, including high-speed SerDes deployment and custom memory design, is an excellent complement to IDT’s expertise in RapidIO designs.”

RapidIO 10xN switches will offer an optimal combination of low 100ns latency

The RapidIO 10xN switches will offer an optimal combination of low 100ns latency, 40Gbps per port of bandwidth and scalability to greater than 4 billion nodes in a network. The jointly developed devices will target the new generation of base station platforms such as LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), C-RAN, and 5G, but 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 switch chips are currently the de facto interconnect standard for the clustering of DSPs, microprocessors, and ASICs in existing 3G and 4G base stations deployed worldwide. Under the collaboration, the companies will build on the current production switch and bridge portfolio, with plans to make their first jointly developed products available in the second half of 2015.

“Advancements in interconnect are essential for the continued evolution of communications infrastructure,” said Gregory Waters, CEO of IDT. “Our existing RapidIO switches are designed into virtually every 4G base station in the world. But the next generation of base stations and C-RAN is on its way, demanding higher performance than ever before. Joining efforts with eSilicon enables us to accelerate RapidIO development, to the benefit of our customers and the communications industry as a whole.”

“This collaboration between IDT and eSilicon, which will move RapidIO technology to 40 Gbps per port and beyond going to 100 Gbps, is a significant step forward for the growing RapidIO ecosystem,” said Rick O’Connor, executive director of “There’s no doubt this collaboration will be welcomed by developers of performance-critical computing applications requiring increased bandwidth and capacity, and will accelerate the deployment of RapidIO 10xN technology by processor, DSP and FPGA partner companies in the RapidIO ecosystem.”