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5G era What is the difficulty in chip development?

Today, the 5G and data center markets are booming, with many companies coming in and deploying new products for 5G. MACOM also keeps up with market trends and accelerates the deployment of technologies such as chip testing and related supporting solutions. At the Shenzhen CIOE Expo, Dr. Mo Jinyu, Senior Director of the MACOM Lightwave Division and Asia's Chief Scientist, introduced the advantages, layout and industry development pains of the MACOM for the OFweek Optical Communication Network.


Dr. Mo Jinyu, Senior Director of MACOM Lightwave Division and Chief Scientist of Asia

At this year's CIOE exhibition, MACOM launched the relatively hot PAM4 test technology, and demonstrated the various chip matching solutions of 200G PAM4 in the field. Including integrated silicon optical chip, as well as driver+CDR. In addition to the 200G PAM4 solution, MACOM also has a 50G, 100G, 400G PAM4 solution and a long-distance transmission at 56 low-voltage Hertz solutions.

In the transmission system of 100G and above, MACOM mainly pushes the solution of silicon light integration. Dr. Mo introduced: "The silicon-light integration solution has four-way integration. Now 100G, including 400G in the future, with silicon-light integration solution, it will integrate with independent components in terms of packaging cost, test cost and investment in instrument production line. More advantages, and there is room for subsequent price cuts." Dr. Mo said that he hopes to improve the maturity of the silicon-light integration solution from the perspective of the chip through technical improvements, so that it has greater competition in technology and price. Advantage.


CIOE Expo MACOM booth

Because MACOM's product line is relatively complete, low-speed, high-speed, ultra-high-speed chips are available, so the coverage is wide, and large and small enterprises can become MACOM customers. Dr. Mo said that MACOM does not want a certain customer to occupy a particularly large share, which will bring higher risks, so MACOM has a more uniform market development. In addition, Dr. Mo also introduced that the current MACOM shipments are larger than 10G PON, 25G PON and other access network products.

As a high-tech company, MACOM has always strived to make its chips in the leading position in the industry, so it attaches great importance to R&D investment. According to public data, MACOM's R&D investment in recent years has been more than 20%, reaching 29.59% in the first half of this year. For the construction of the R&D team, Dr. Mo said: “MACOM has a lot of R&D teams, and each R&D team only focuses on making his strongest chip. For example, MACOM's Driver chip and DSP chip are two completely different R&D. The team is doing it, and every team is pursuing the ultimate in the field they are best at. MACOM is doing this, hoping to achieve the industry's leading level in the team's technology and product performance."


Optical modules produced using MACOM chips and solutions

Speaking of the difficulties encountered in the R&D process, Dr. Mo believes that the biggest difficulty in chip development lies in financial support. In the development of the new chip, it is impossible to succeed in one version. Every modification on the chip requires a long period of time, and each time the film is spent in the millions of dollars, the price is very expensive. Dr. Mo said: "In the process of chip development, the most important aspect is the mutual cooperation between the teams, reducing the number of tapes and shortening the development cycle. On the other hand, it requires a lot of capital investment. If there is no continuous capital investment, Chip development is hard to sustain."

At present, most of MACOM's chips are built around 5G, data center, cloud computing, and big data, and can basically meet the requirements of the market and customers. Current users want higher and higher bandwidth, lower and lower costs, and lower power consumption. Especially for data centers, power consumption is a very important issue. Dr. Mo said: "MACOM will have a corresponding layout for these industry hotspots. In the future, for a specific field, MACOM will develop a dedicated chip, but this chip is used in other fields. It may not be the best. At that time, you can choose the most suitable chip according to different application scenarios."