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MultiPhy raises $17 million, readies FlexPhy PAM4 chip

DSP-based communications semiconductor company MultiPhy Inc. says it has closed $17 million in its third round of funding. The money comes from existing and new investors, which include venture capitalists and what the company termed trategic corporate leaders.MultiPhy did not disclose the identities of the investors, but Semtech Corp. (NASDAQ: SMTC) separately revealed it is now one of the largest stakeholders in the company.

Avi Shabtai, CEO at MultiPhy, says the funding should be sufficient to get the company’s FlexPhy chip family to volume production. The chip portfolio, which Shabtai says should be unveiled later this year, will target multiple applications, including single-lambda 100-Gbps transmission using PAM4 rather than coherent transmission. The company expects to release both intra-data center and data center interconnect versions of the device; the latter is expected to support reaches up to 80 km.

The company had previously made its mark in the 100-Gbps data center interconnect space with the MP1100Q/1 chipset, which supports a 4x25G approach to 100-Gbps transmission (see “MultiPhy completes metro direct-detect 100-Gbps chipset”). The chipset enjoyed success with several CFP optical transceiver manufacturers as a low-cost alternative to coherent CFPs (see, for example, “Oplink to unveil metro 100G CFP optical transceiver”).

In addition to the 100-Gbps chips, the FlexPhy family also will address 4x100G transmission for 400 Gigabit Ethernet. While the IEEE P802.3bs has targeted 100 m as the reach target for its 4x100G PMD (see “IEEE P802.3bs Task Force adopts serial 100G for 400 Gigabit Ethernet”), Shabtai allowed that since the 100G versions of the FlexPhy will support much longer reaches, the 400 Gigabit Ethernet devices likely will exceed the IEEE’s 100 m spec, perhaps extending to 2 km.

MultiPhy also is pondering 200-Gbps applications, Shabtai added.

Semtech says it currently is focused on collaborating with MultiPhy at 100 Gbps. The two companies will partner to pair the FlexPhy with Semtech’s laser driver and transimpedance amplifier (TIA) products to provide a turnkey approach for single-wavelength 100-Gbps designs that will prove lower in cost than the 4x25G approaches analysts expect to finally see significant deployments this year. However, 400 Gbps also is on the table.

Shabtai says that he could foresee MultiPhy pursuing another round of funding in the future to further capitalize on the anticipated success of the FlexPhy chips.

Originally published at www.lightwaveonline.com/articles/2016/01/multiphy-raises-17-million-readies-flexphy-pam4-chip.html

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