Linley Newsletter: April 21, 2017

 weSRCH's Best of the Internet Award
  22nd-Apr-2017
 670

Linley Newsletter
(Formerly Processor Watch, Linley Wire, and Linley on Mobile)
Please feel free to forward this to your colleagues

Issue #544
April 21, 2017

Independent Analysis of Microprocessors and the Semiconductor Industry

Editor: Tom R. Halfhill
Contributors: Linley Gwennap, Loring Wirbel

In This Issue:

- Data Center Dominates OFC
- Sequans Adds CPU to IoT Modem

Linley IoT Hardware Conference, July 25-26, 2017

Focusing on hardware design for the IoT and wearables

Save the Date!
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Santa Clara, California

Learn about design technologies for connected devices and wearables that are enabling the Internet of Things in smart cities, farms, industrial, medical, and consumer applications.

This in-depth two-day technical conference will include presentations by experts from industry-leading companies. The agenda will include a keynote presentation by Mike Demler, senior analyst at The Linley Group, with an overview and forecast of the IoT market.

Click here for more information:
http://www.linleygroup.com/iot-conference

Registration opens May 16, 2017.

Data Center Dominates OFC
By Loring Wirbel

Thanks to greater optimism among optical-component vendors targeting the data center, attendance at the 2017 Optical Fiber Communication Conference (OFC) rose to nearly 15,000. This increase was in spite of the limited volume for metro and long-haul links. But fragmentation in the market for VCSELs, silicon photonics, and embedded on-board optics hinders the effort to bring optical-link costs closer to that of twinax-copper direct-attach cabling (DAC). Urs Holsze, director of technology infrastructure at Google, warned in a keynote speech that a "boutique artisan" manufacturing mentality continued to dominate the market for multisource-agreement (MSA) modules.

Although some component specialists for 2-40km reach emphasized specifications that make their products appropriate for data-center interconnects, OFC attendees focused mainly on very short reach (VSR) to 2km -- the realm of the data center. Drawing the biggest crowds were demonstrations of single-wavelength 100Gbps lanes, as well as presentations by the Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO). But many attendees realized that the workhorses for near-term data-center designs are pluggable optical modules and 50Gbps serial lanes based on PAM4 modulation.

The conference followed the pattern of recent years in centering on a battle over MSA form factors. This year, more than 60 companies followed Cisco's lead in touting double-density QSFP (QSFP-DD) as the follow-on to QSFP28; the newer technology preserves compatibility with the 28Gbps form factor while offering eight electrical lanes for 200GbE using 25Gbps NRZ or 400GbE using 50Gbps PAM4.

Challenging QSFP-DD was a longer and deeper MSA: octal small-form pluggable (OSFP), which integrates a heat sink that allows an octal module to dissipate 15W. A coalition of 80 companies led by Google and Arista Networks is backing OSFP. This year, however, optical-component vendors went out of their way to characterize the QSFP-DD/OSFP relationship as one of "friendly complementarity."

Microprocessor Report subscribers can access the full article:
http://www.linleygroup.com/mpr/article.php?id=11788

Sequans Adds CPU to IoT Modem
By Linley Gwennap

Reducing the cost of cellular IoT devices, Sequans has added an embedded controller to its low-cost LTE modem, creating the new Monarch SX processor. It targets fixed IoT devices such as utility meters as well as wearables and asset trackers. Sequans expects to sample the processor by midyear and put it into production around the end of 2017.

Monarch SX includes a Cortex-M4 CPU that can handle the application code for many IoT devices, eliminating the need for an external MCU. It also features a simple GPU, audio engine, and sensor hub as well as an integrated display controller and power manager. Based on the company's existing Monarch product, the modem handles LTE Category M1 and Category NB1 at a maximum data rate of 1Mbps. The SoC integrates an RF transceiver but requires an external RF front end.

Cat-M1 and Cat-NB1 were created to simplify the design and reduce the cost of LTE modems for low-data-rate devices, including many IoT devices. These standards restrict the data rate to simplify the processing and also reduce the radio bandwidth to simplify the RF subsystem, but they still provide the full range of LTE. As operators look to shut down their 2G and 3G networks, narrowband LTE will provide a long-term solution for IoT.

Deployment of these new protocols is just starting, however. Sequans has certified the standalone Monarch modem with Verizon, which recently launched nationwide Cat-M1 service, and it's working to certify with other operators. Companies such as Gemalto and Huawei sell Monarch modules for customers that want to avoid worrying about the LTE RF design. Sequans claims it has more than 20 Monarch design wins. We expect volume deployment for narrowband LTE to ramp in 2018.

Microprocessor Report subscribers can access the full article:
http://www.linleygroup.com/mpr/article.php?id=11789

About Linley Newsletter

Linley Newsletter is a free electronic newsletter that reports and analyzes advances in microprocessors, networking chips, and mobile-communications chips. It is published by The Linley Group and consolidates our previous electronic newsletters: Processor Watch, Linley Wire, and Linley on Mobile. To subscribe, please visit:
http://www.linleygroup.com/newsletters/newsletter_subscribe.php

Our previous subscription newsletters -- Microprocessor Report, Networking Report, and Mobile Chip Report -- are now consolidated in a single subscription newsletter: Microprocessor Report. MPR publishes articles with significantly more detail on the subjects covered in our free electronic newsletter. To subscribe, please visit:
https://www.linleygroup.com/mpr/subscribe.php
...or contact us at 408.270.3772; cs@linleygroup.com.

Back issues: http://www.linleygroup.com/mpr/archive.php?j=TLG

Copyright 2017, The Linley Group

Domain: Electronics
Category: Semiconductors

Recent Newsletters

Linley Newsletter: August 8, 2019

Linley Newsletter Please feel free to forward this to your colleagues Issue #664 August 8, 2019 Independent Analysis of Microprocessors and the Semiconductor Industry E

08 August, 2019

Linley Newsletter: August 1, 2019

Linley Newsletter Please feel free to forward this to your colleagues Issue #663 August 1, 2019 Independent Analysis of Microprocessors and the Semiconductor Industry E

01 August, 2019

Linley Newsletter: July 25, 2019

Linley Newsletter Please feel free to forward this to your colleagues Issue #662 July 25, 2019 Independent Analysis of Microprocessors and the Semiconductor Industry

25 July, 2019