Advanced computing: Optical packet switch from Endicott Interconnect Technologies delivers 2.5 terabits/sec
Endicott Interconnect Technologies Inc. (EI), a New York-based supplier of electronic interconnect solutions and electro/mechanical equipment, revealed that it has fabricated a controller board which functions as the intelligence of the world’s most powerful and advanced optical packet switch.
The controller board is for a 64×64 port, high-performance optical switch designed by IBM Zurich Research Lab. According to EI, the board is one of the most complex designs ever developed and serves as a core component in the OSMOSIS (Optical Shared MemOry Supercomputer Interconnect System) research project on next-generation optical switch technology. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and in cooperation with Corning Inc., IBM’s computer scientists developed a method of using optical switch elements to transfer packet data throughout the system using light. The switch is capable of transmitting 2.5 Terabits of data, roughly equivalent to the same amount of data in 20 high definition movies, in only 1 second. Utilizing this complex architecture, IBM researchers were able to achieve line rates of 40 Gb/s.
Creation of this high-performance board required an equally impressive fabrication process. According to James Fuller, EI’s vice president of semiconductor packaging and printed circuit board fabrication, board construction consisted of 36 layers, 36,053 blind vias, 29,246 connections, a total trace length of 1.6 miles, and required multiple passes through the plating and drilling processes.
“This opportunity has been among the most challenging board applications EI has undertaken since its inception,” said James McNamara, president and CEO at EI. “The engineering expertise and manufacturing execution required to satisfactorily build this board is rare in the industry. Collaboration between our engineering, manufacturing and R&D teams was invaluable in solving an exceedingly complex fabrication puzzle.” The controller board design won a 19th Annual PCB Technology Leadership Award.