1.6T Ethernet is coming soon to a data center near you — Synopsys follows Marvell in releasing terabit IP solution that could eventually trickle down to mere mortals

Two busy ethernet switches side by side
(Image credit: A_stockphoto / Shutterstock)

The ongoing expansion of AI and LLM processing demands high bandwidth and low latency from hyperscale data centers. 

Semiconductor design company Synopsys believes the way forward is by adopting a silicon roadmap supporting faster Ethernet, and it has unveiled its 1.6T Ethernet solution to provide chip manufacturers with the essential IP required to develop high-speed networking silicon now. 

This sounds quite forward-thinking, given that the IEEE is not expected to finalize the 1.6T Ethernet standard until 2026, however a baseline set of features for this standard is expected to be completed this year by the 802.3dj task force.

Ethernet speed boost

Synopsys' design supports 4 x 400G, 2 x 800G, and 1.6T Ethernet rates with 112 Gbps and 224 Gbps SerDes. The solution includes 224G Ethernet PHY and verification IP, 1.6T media access control (MAC) and physical coding sublayer (PCS) components. The Californian company says its 1.6T MAC and PCS Ethernet controllers reduce interconnect power consumption by up to 50% and cut latency by 40% compared to prior generations through a patented Reed-Solomon Forward Error Correction architecture.

The need for faster Ethernet speeds is unsurprisingly driven by the ever-increasing data demands of AI.

 "The massive compute demands of hyperscale data centers require significantly faster Ethernet speeds to enable emerging AI workloads," said John Koeter, senior vice president of marketing and strategy for IP, Synopsys. 

"Our complete IP solution for 1.6T Ethernet, pre-verified subsystems, successful ecosystem interoperability, and decades of expertise in developing and delivering the industry's broadest interface IP portfolio allow designers to confidently integrate the necessary functionality into their SoCs with less risk."

"With growing demands from large language modeling, HPC simulation, and AI training in hyperscale data centers, network boundaries are crossing over the Terabits per second threshold," said Peter Jones, chairman, Ethernet Alliance. "The availability of development tools capable of meeting these needs is critical to the success of next-generation Ethernet standards addressing this market."

The Synopsys 1.6T Ethernet solution, including all components, is available now and Synopsys says that it has already been adopted by "multiple customers".

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Wayne Williams

Wayne Williams is a freelancer writing news for TechRadar Pro. He has been writing about computers, technology, and the web for 30 years. In that time he wrote for most of the UK’s PC magazines, and launched, edited and published a number of them too.