Diodes Incorporated
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Why Two into One Does Go

By Kay Annamalai, Senior Marketing Director

Although 1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet may still deliver enough performance for many segments today, this may not be the case for much longer. There are many reasons for data growth, and I/O interfaces (such as DisplayPort™ and USB) are offering ever-greater throughput. Increasing numbers of data-hungry devices connecting to the Internet leads to a requirement for network switches with more bandwidth and a higher port density. From small servers to PC docking stations, laptops, and home gateways, faster connections are in high demand. The migration from 1G BASE-T to 2.5G BASE-T gives manufacturers the speed upgrade they need, while still running over existing CAT 5e infrastructure.

Part of that infrastructure is the physical interface, or PHY. While network speeds continue to increase, the physical space available does not. By using a LAN port switch to route multiple Ethernet channels between PHYs, one can maximize the number of channels that can access a single PHY. This capability becomes ever more valuable as port density increases and the need for higher data rates continues.

Port switches that are only able to operate up to 1Gbps are clearly a hurdle if you want to join the 2.5G BASE-T ecosystem. So, to facilitate the shift to the next generation of networked systems, Diodes Incorporated has introduced the PI3L2500, a 2:1 Ethernet LAN multiplexer/demultiplexer that can switch signals operating at up to 10G BASE-T speeds. This is a massive increase in specification for port switches. It allows engineers to develop LAN switches currently operating at Ethernet speeds at 2.5G BASE-T while also preparing for later generations, all the way up to 10G BASE-T. This headroom enables system engineers to develop future-proof solutions for high-speed signal routing.


A new switch generation

2:1 mux/demux LAN switches will play a critical role in the 2.5G Ethernet ecosystem, such as in the USB Type-C® docking station and in Ethernet port switching, from either Thunderbolt to Ethernet controller or USB to Ethernet controller (depending on whether the host has Thunderbolt or USB interfaces). Another example is to support network redundancy for Ethernet ports; if one port should fail, the standby port can take over.

Diodes’ PI3L2500 8-channel, bidirectional mux/demux design, small outline, and high integration enables much more than just replacing mechanical relays in low voltage LAN applications. It allows two Ethernet PHY differential outputs to operate with a single connector or, alternatively, one Ethernet PHY output to be routed to one of two connectors. The switch can demultiplex one input port with eight channels to one of two output ports, or multiplex two input ports to one output port, with a propagation delay of only 0.25ns. To save power, the device can enter a standby mode at 0.3mA and, even in active mode, it consumes just 1.5mA. 

The PI3L2500 2:1 Ethernet LAN switch provides device manufacturers with the enhanced redundancy, flexibility, and performance needed for 2.5G BASE-T systems while opening up a cost-effective migration path to even higher speeds.

Further information is available https://www.diodes.com/part/view/PI3L2500.


DisplayPort™ is a trademark owned by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA®).  

USB Type-C® is a registered trademark of USB Implementers Forum.