System semiconductor startup Qualitas said on Monday that it will develop an 112Gb/s Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) IP aimed at artificial intelligence (AI) and data center applications.
Companies such as Cadence, Synopsys, Rambus, Marvell, Credo and Alphawave are competing fiercely in SerDes IP. Qualitas is the only South Korean that works on such IP.
Currently, the fastest commercialized SerDes IP supports speed of up to 56Gb/s.
Qualitas CEO Kim Du-ho told TheElec that the company was developing the SerDes IP based on Samsung Electronics’ 14-nanometer (nm) FinFet process, and was aiming to launch it within the first half of 2021.
The company will sell the IP to customers of Samsung Foundry and optical module manufacturers.
Qualitas is also develop a retimer system-on-a-chip (SoC) with the SerDes IP and an active optical cable (AOC). The chipset and module will launch in 2023. The chipset is optimized for AOCs and is sized 8㎟, two thirds of the size of chips used in previous transceivers.
Qualitas said the AOC will have a power consumption per channel of 110mW, the third of its competitor’s 298mW.
Kim said prior AOC modules used the same chips as transceiver modules, not fully using the low power characteristics of them.
Qualitas’s offer of a lower power retimer chip with the SerDes IP will be its key differentiating point to rivals, the CEO said. The firm is expected to get a lead in the data center sector as there has been no 112/Gb AOC module that launched in the market so far, Kim said.
Qualitas will also continue the development of interface IP (MIPI, PCIe, Ethernet) going forward, the CEO said. It will collaborate with Samsung Foundry to develop 3nm IP. These interfaces will be used in smartphones, cameras and displays, and will launch in the first half of 2022.
Qualitas was founded by ex-Samsung researcher Kim Du-ho in February 2017. Kim also worked at Korea Credit Information Services prior to founding the company. Qualitas was named IP partner of Samsung Advanced Foundry Ecosystem in 2019. The company has 35 employees working at its interface IT team and 8 at optical communication interconnect team. It has 48 employees in total. The company has accumulated 15 billion won in funding in total. Its last funding was its Series A round in 2020. The firm is aiming for 6 billion won in sales this year.