Microchip Introduces Solution for 800G AECs for Generative AI

By Ken Briodagh

Senior Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

November 13, 2023


Microchip Introduces Solution for 800G AECs for Generative AI

According to a recent release, Microchip Technology has accelerated the development path for several Quad Small Form Factor Pluggable Double Density (QSFP-DD) and Octal Small Form Factor Pluggable (OSFP) Active Electrical Cable (AEC) products using its META-DX2C 800G retimer.

The company said this retimer is supported by a solution for 800G AEC product development, including a hardware reference design and complete Common Management Interface Specification (CMIS) software package to minimize development resources needed for cable manufacturers.

The rise of Generative AI and AI/ML technologies is fueling demand for more high-speed connections and, in turn, the push toward 800G connectivity in backend data center networks and applications, Microchip said.  

“The newest and most compact member of our META-DX2 Ethernet PHY family leverages Microchip’s unique breadth of microcontrollers and other key components to provide a complete reference design that accelerates AEC product development, reduces resource investments and simplifies supply-chain management,” said Maher Fahmi, VP, Communications Business Unit, Microchip. “The META-DX2C retimer enables AEC connections for the high-density networks that are needed for generative AI applications.

The META-DX2C retimer is designed to use 112G SerDes that can support up to 40 dB reach, according to the release, which will enable the design of thinner and longer AECs for dense hyperscaler infrastructure buildouts. Microchip also said it is offering a validated paddle card hardware reference design and a software package that implements the CMIS software in a Microchip 32-bit PIC32 microcontroller.

"Generative AI is impacting how data center infrastructure is being built and the amount of network connectivity that is required, in a big way,” said Alan Weckel, co-founder and analyst with market research firm 650 Group. “To address this challenge, hyperscalers need solutions that are very high bandwidth as well as low power and low cost. We are seeing a transition to active electrical cables as the optimal solution for this challenge. Microchip’s META-DX2C 800G AEC retimer is aligned with this trend and is the type of solution needed to enable growth in this area."

Development Package

The META-DX2C 800G AEC solution reportedly is supported by a paddle card reference design that includes the META-DX2C retimer, PIC32 microcontroller, oscillators, buck regulator and linear voltage regulator, all from Microchip. Having these elements available from a single supplier can simplify a customer’s supply chain management. The included software development kit supports the CMIS 5.2 specification.


The META-DX2C retimer, part #PM6254, with hardware reference design, firmware solution and SDK, is available now. For additional information visit the META-DX family webpage or contact a Microchip sales representative.

Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers, he would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars. In previous lives, he’s been a short order cook, telemarketer, medical supply technician, mover of the bodies at a funeral home, pirate, poet, partial alliterist, parent, partner and pretender to various thrones. Most of his exploits are either exaggerated or blatantly false.

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