Achieving 224 Gbps PAM4: Interconnect Challenges, Advantages, and Solutions

Delivering 224 Gbps PAM4 signals will require careful analysis of signal integrity and thermal effects, as well as the development of enabling technologies and new methodologies to achieve clean signals at these data rates. Industry-leading experts are focused on this topic, developing new technologies as well as products to handle high-speed data, and engaging in interoperability demonstrations at tradeshows,
demonstrations of new products for 224 Gbps PAM4 systems, and numerous ongoing panel and webinar discussions. Early designs suggest that several technologies developed for 112 Gbps can be applied to some 224 Gbps systems, but changes will also be necessary in order to address signal integrity and thermal concerns across the board.

Despite the lack of an approved 224 Gbps specification, a selection of silicon and interconnects are already available for testing and transporting this next-generation of rapidly moving signals. This paper explains how 224 Gbps PAM4 systems must differ from their 112 Gbps counterparts in terms of interconnects, what technologies and methodologies could enable new 224 Gbps PAM4 solutions, and what’s available now for test and evaluation.

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