Ethernet transceivers, switches reduce power consumption by 80%

Oct. 26, 2010
Atheros Communications Inc. has expanded its ETHOS portfolio of Ethernet solutions with very low power consumption physical layer transceivers (PHYs) and switches for networking, computing, consumer electronics (CE), and carrier applications.

Atheros Communications Inc. has expanded its ETHOS portfolio of Ethernet solutions with low power-consumption physical layer transceivers (PHYs) and switches for networking, computing, consumer electronics (CE), and carrier applications. By supporting the newly ratified IEEE802.3az-2010 Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) standard, the company's latest products reduce their power consumption by up to 80%.

Atheros is introducing a new family of ETHOS switches and PHYs, which provide high-performance Ethernet capabilities with very low power consumption for PCs, networking products (such as broadband gateways, Wi-Fi routers and printers), consumer media devices (including TVs, set top boxes and Blu-ray Disc players), and carrier access equipment (such as gateways, passive optical networking (PON) products and cellular base stations).

  • All of Atheros' latest-generation PHY, switch, and LAN-on-motherboard (LOM) solutions comply with the newly ratified IEEE 802.3az-2010 standard, a major advancement that makes Ethernet networks up to 80% more power efficient. Even though the efficiency benefits are greatest for Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) networks, Atheros now implements 802.3az protocols across its line of Fast Ethernet solutions as well.
  • ETHOS PHYs and switches further reduce power consumption with several other unique features, including: Atheros SmartEEE technology -- improves energy efficiency in systems using legacy MAC devices without 802.3az features, enabling customers to fully realize the energy benefits of the new standard by simply replacing the PHY devices in their designs; Wake on LAN -- a power-saving technique used in network devices that turns components off during periods of network inactivity, and turns them back on when data needs to be transmitted; and Automatic ultra-low power modes when the transmission link is down, or when a shorter Ethernet cable is being used.

  • Atheros' PHYs and switches are among the smallest and most cost-effective solutions on the market. By integrating a dozen external components per PHY port (including resistors, clocks, and a switching regulator), the new ETHOS solutions offer the industry's lowest bill-of-material (BOM) cost. The highly integrated packages also provide a 40% smaller footprint and a lower pin-count than competitive solutions.

ETHOS Single-Port PHY Solutions:

  • The AR8030 Fast Ethernet PHY and AR8035 GbE PHY are designed to streamline the transition to Gigabit connectivity for consumer applications. The two PHYs can be used interchangeably in a single PCB design, providing OEMs with a quick and cost-effective way to deliver a range of products with varied performance levels and price points.
  • The AR8031 and AR8033 GbE PHYs are optimized with the advanced features that are critical for next-generation carrier networks. These features include: Synchronous Ethernet (Sync-E) -- a cost-effective clock distribution feature that synchronizes the timing of IP networks to support time-sensitive voice and video applications; Precision Timing Protocol (IEEE 1588v2) -- quickly synchronizes networked clocks to maintain high-quality links as data is transferred across 3G/4G systems (supported in the AR8031 only); and Copper/Fiber Dual-Mode -- provides carriers with flexible options for supporting next-generation services over copper and optical links.

New ETHOS 7-Port Gigabit Switches:

  • The AR8327/AR8328 family of Gigabit Switches is available in a variety of package and processor configurations, enabling customers to implement the right mix of features. Key options include: Network Address Translation (NAT) -- By offloading address translation from the processor, the Atheros switch can reduce latency and power consumption while ensuring full Gigabit line speed; Flexible VLAN translation and 1:1 & N:1 VLAN mapping to support advanced services defined by the Broadband Forum and Metro Ethernet Forum; 20 x 20 mm QFP or 12 x 12 mm QFN packages -- The larger option supports all seven host interfaces (including fiber and SGMII), while the smaller provides a more cost-effective solution with fewer interfaces.

The AR8030/AR8031/AR8033/AR8035 PHYs and AR8327/AR8328 Gbe switches are now sampling, and are expected to be in volume production in the first quarter of 2011.

For more information, contact Atheros Communications Inc., 1700 Technology Dr., San Jose, CA 95110. Phone: (408) 773-5200.

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