Broadcom has delivered its first Tomahawk 4 network switch to cloud providers such as Alibaba and Microsoft. The switch uses 31 billion transistors on the 7nm process of TSMC and has up to 64 Ethernet connections, each reaching 400Gbit/s.
The Tomahawk 4 achieves its total network capacity of 25.6Tbit/s by using 512 50G Pam4 serdes units distributed over 64 Blackhawk7 cores. The Tomahawk 4 supports, among other things, up to 64 Ethernet connections with a speed of 400Gbit/s or 256 ports of 100Gbit/s. The maximum throughput is converted to about 3.4TB/s. According to Broadcom, the Tomahawk 4 is the first network switch with a throughput of 25.6 Tbit/s; According to the company, competing switches are still at a maximum of 12.8 Tbit/s, NextPlatform writes.
The switch also includes four arm processors, each running at 1GHz, for high bandwidth, programmable telemetry and embedded applications. According to Broadcom, the switch uses “75 percent less energy than competing switches.” The buffer size of the Tomahawk 4 is as yet unknown, but that of the previous generation Tomahawk 3 is 64MB. Presumably this has been doubled in the Tomahawk 4. Broadcom also makes the code of its switch API open source through Broadcom Open Network Switch APIs, abbreviated OpenNSA.
Two years ago, the company delivered its Tomahawk 3 switch with a maximum network speed of 12.8Tbit/s. It contained 256 Serdes units and used a 16nm process. So the company has now released a new switch with double the capacity. Broadcom says the company wants to double its maximum processing capacity every two years.
Broadcom has started sampling the Tomahawk 4 chip. The switch has already been delivered to some early customers, including Alibaba and Microsoft. According to Broadcom’s Peter Del Vecchio, production of the Tomahawk 4 will ramp up faster than previous switches from the company, such as the Tomahawk 3 and Trident 4. The Tomahawk 4 is expected to be fully available next summer, NextPlatform reports.