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40 Gigabit Ethernet MAC & PCS IP Cores

The 40Gbps Ethernet IP solution offers a fully integrated IEEE802.3ba compliant package for NIC (Network Interface Card) and Ethernet switching applications.  As shown in figure, the 40Gbps Ethernet IP includes:

·         40Gbps MAC core

·         40Gbps (40GBase-R) PCS core

·         Technology dependent transceiver wrapper for Altera and/or Xilinx FPGAs

·         Statistics counter block (for RMON and MIB)

·         MDIO and I2C cores for optical module status and control

40GIG Ethernet Solution Block Diagram

A complete reference design using a synthesizable L2 (MAC level) packet generator/checker is also included to facilitate quick integration of the Ethernet IP in a user design.  A GUI application interacts with the reference design’s hardware elements through a PCIe interface (a UART option is also available).  A basic Linux PCIe driver/API is also provided for memory mapped read/write access to the internal registers. 

MAC and PCS cores are designed with 128-bit data path operating at 312.5MHz. 

As the transceiver wrapper is included with the Ethernet IP solution, the line side directly connects the 10.3125Gbps FPGA transceivers to the optical module (QSFP+, CFP, etc). 

Ethernet IP solution implements two user (application) side interfaces.  The register access port can either be a 32-bit AXI4 interface or a 32-bit Avalon-MM interface.  IP solution provides a highly flexible 40Gbps traffic port interface options.  Depending upon the application layer, user can select an AXI-4 streaming bus or an Avalon Streaming bus to interface with the MAC block.  In both modes, the MAC interface bus width is selectable as either 128-bit @ 312.5MHz or 256-bit @ 225MHz.

40Gbps Ethernet IP supports advanced features like per-priority pause frames (compliant with 802.3bd specifications) to enable Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) applications like data center bridging that employ IEEE 802.1Qbb Priority Flow Control (PFC) to pause traffic based on the priority levels.

MAC Core Features

      Implements the full 802.3ba specification with preamble/SFD generation, frame padding generation, CRC generation and checking on transmit and receive respectively

      Implements 802.3bd specification with ability to generate and recognize PFC pause frames

      Implements reconciliation sublayer functionality with start and terminate control characters alignment, error control character and fault sequence insertion and detection

      Implements a 128-bit XLGMII interface operating at 312.5MHz for 40G EMAC

      Implements Deficit Idle Count (DIC) mechanism to ensure maximum possible throughput at the transmit interface

      Implements logic for padding of frames on the transmit path if the size of frame is less than 64 bytes

      Implements fully automated XON and XOFF Pause Frame (802.3 Annex 31A) generation and termination providing flow control without user application intervention.  Non PFC mode only.

      Pause frame generation additionally controllable by user application offering flexible traffic flow control

      Support for VLAN tagged frames according to IEEE 802.1Q

      Support any type of Ethernet Frames such as SNAP / LLC, Ethernet II/DIX or IP traffic

      Discards frames with mismatching destination address on receive (Except Broadcast and Multicast frames)

      Supports programmable promiscuous mode to omit MAC destination address checking on receive EMAC

      Optional multicast address filtering with 64-bit HASH Filtering table providing imperfect filtering to reduce load on higher layers

      CRC-32 generation and checking at high speed using an efficient pipelined CRC calculation algorithm

      Implements logic for optional padding removal on RX path for NIC applications or forwarding of unmodified data to the user interface

      Optional discard of runt frames (less than 64 Byte) at the core’s reconciliation sublayer or forwarding of runt frames to the user application interface

      Implements logic for optional forwarding of the CRC field to user application interface

      Implements logic for optional forwarding of received pause frames to the user application interface

      Programmable frame maximum length providing support for any standard or proprietary frame length (e.g. 9K-Bytes Jumbo Frames)

      Status signals available with each Frame on the user interface providing information such as frame length, VLAN frame type indication and error information

      Implements programmable internal XLGMII Loop-back

      Implements statistics indicators for frame traffic as well as errors (alignment, CRC, length) and pause frames

      Implements statistics and event signals providing support for 802.3 basic and mandatory managed objects as well as IETF Management Information Database (MIB) package (RFC 2665) and Remote Network Monitoring (RMON) required in SNMP environments

      Implements a streaming user application interface. The application interface is designed for either a 128-bit interface operating @ 312.5MHz or a 256-bit interface operating @ 225MHz.

40GMAC Simplified Block Diagram

PCS Core Features

      Implements 40GBase-R PCS core compliant with IEEE 802.3ba Specifications

      Implements a 128-bit XLGMII interface operating at 312.5MHz for 40G Ethernet

      Implements 64b/66b encoding/decoding for transmit and receive PCS

      Implements 40G scrambling/descrambling using 802.3ba specified polynomial 1 + x39 + x58

      Implements Multi-Lane Distribution (MLD) across 4 Virtual Lanes (VLs) for 40Gbps operation

      Implements periodic insertion of Alignment Marker (AM) on the transmit path and deletion on the receive path

      Implements 66-bit block synchronization and Alignment Marker Lock machines as specified in 802.3ba specifications

      Implements skew compensation logic in order to realign all the virtual lanes and reassemble an aggregate 40G stream (with all 64b/66b blocks in the correct order)

      Implements lane reordering to support reception of any virtual lane on any physical lane 

      Implements BIP-8 insertion/checking per Virtual Lane on transmit/receive respectively

      Implements Inter Packet Gap (IPG) Insertion/Deletion for Alignment marker and clock compensation while maintaining a minimum of 1 byte IPG

      Implements gear-box logic to convert 66-bit blocks to 40-bit for 40G PCS. The 40-bit operate at the 10.3125Gbps transceiver reference clock.

      Implements programmable internal XLGMII loop-back which directs traffic received from core's receive path back to transmit PCS

      Implements Bit Error Rate (BER) monitor for monitoring excessive error ratio. In addition to that implements various status and statistics required by the IEEE 802.3ba  such as block synchronization status, AM lock status, lane deskew and lane reordering status and BIP-8 error counters per virtual lane.

Licensing and Maintenance

  • True sign once licensing with NO yearly maintenance fees

  • Basic core licensing for a single vendor (either Xilinx or Altera) compiled (synthesized) binary 

  • Additional vendor license provided at only 50% cost of the base license.  This allows for cost effective multi-vendor designs with identical user and control interfaces.

  • Other licensing options include:

    •  Vendor and device family agnostic source code (Verilog) license

    • A low cost node locked license for low budget  prototyping (upgradeable to full license after paying the cost difference only)  

Resource Utilization

The core utilization summary for the 40G Ethernet solution is given in following tables. The utilization numbers are best in class as compared to other available 40G Ethernet cores.  The Ethernet solution has been fully verified on different hardware platforms for both Altera and Xilinx FPGAs and has also been verified for interoperability with other 40G capable devices.


User Interface Width



Slice LUTS

Slice Registers

Memory18k/36k BRAM


(-2C Speed)






4 – 18k BRAM
32 – 36k BRAM





4 – 18k BRAM
32 – 36k BRAM






4 – 18k BRAM
32 – 36k BRAM





4 – 18k BRAM
32 – 36k BRAM

40G Ethernet - Resource Usage for Xilinx Devices


User Interface Width



Memory ALUTs


Memory M9K


(-C2 Speed)























40G Ethernet - Resource Usage for Altera Devices


·         Compiled synthesizable binaries or encrypted RTL for the MAC and PCS cores

·         Source code RTL (Verilog) for I2C, MDIO, RMON and Register-File blocks  

·         Self checking behavioral models and test benches for simulation

·         Constraint files and synthesis scripts for design compilation

A complete PCIe/UART host interface based reference design with:

o        Top level wrapper (source files, Verilog) for user specific customizations

o        Source files (Verilog) for the PICe application layer

o        Binaries for the L2 packet generator and checker

o        PCIe driver/API (source files, C) for Linux

o        UART and command interpreter blocks with the optional UART host interface 

o        GUI application (Linux only for PCIe,  Linux and Windows for UART) for interfacing to the reference design

·         Design guide(s) and user manuals

·         USA based technical support by developers