Template Tools
Moore's Law Rolling to 25 Nanometer NAND
Friday, 05 February 2010 15:34
For the last decade, every year someone quotable says Moore's law is dead. It just ain't so. Chip innovation is continuing, with Intel/Micron's new 25 nm flash memory pointing the way not just to smaller iPod nanos but predictable price/performance improvements in telecom gear.  Most telecom gear is produced at 65 or 85 nanometers, with only a few chips, mostly for wireless, at 45 nanometers. The latest 25 nanometer process from Intel and Micron will over the next few years extend from NAND memory chips to comm chips, cutting typical space and power demands by 50-80%.  It's hard to imagine a feature size so small that over 30 billion transistors can fit in a half inch square, but that's what we talking about here. About 50 atoms across by another measure. Altera promies even more demanding chips, FPGA's in 28nm this summer. Digitimes says they will be manufactured at TSMC, where many of the communications chips are also made,

   Underestimating the power of Moore's Law leads to many of the stupid things you hear around D.C., like that the exaflood will destroy networks. In practice, the cost of carrying bits has gone down since 2002 at about the rate demand for bandwidth has gone up. That's highly unlikely to change for the next five years even if video causes 35% increases in traffic every year - as it probably will. An authoritative source - Bill Smith of AT&T - told an FCC workshop that lately the growth in demand has slightly outpaced the cost decline. That's important to DSL Prime readers whose job is managiing the cost of a huge network. But a modest change - say 5% - has minimal impact on the overall cost of a $20-50/month service. The working number for bandwidth costs is about $1/month/customer at a large wired carrier.

A 5 percent increase therefore is about a nickel per month, way under 1% of the total.    

Glenn Thurston of BTI provided me a good example of how the lower component costs result in lower equipment costs. BTI has a nice optical box that supports up to 16 ten gigabit wavelengths on a single fiber, does SONET to IP conversion, and supports just about all services from DS1 up. That's 160 gigabits/second on a single fiber. The cost: "Almost always less for the complete system than just to upgrade the SONET gear in place. Nearly always, it becomes cheaper to provide 10 gigabits than the previous choices at a quarter the speed." Verizon can easily provision a central office with one of these.

Another example of high performance is the new 100 Gbps network processor from EZchip. That single chip is enough to switch 15,00- 20,000 50 megabit customers even on a heavily used network. According to Linley, a great source of chip information, "The chip includes up to 48xGbE ports using QSGMII, up to 10xGbE ports with XAUI or RXAUI, one 40GbE port with integrated MAC, and a pair of Interlaken interfaces to connect an external 100GbE MAC and a switch fabric." If you want a sense of how things are proceeding to 100 gig and beyond, download the presentations at http://www.linleygroup.com/Seminars/carrier_eth_program.html
Last Updated on Saturday, 06 February 2010 16:42