Altera 10GbE Ethernet Reference Design

Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) announced their 10-gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) reference design for designers using the XAUI communications protocol. Line cards and system controllers used within network routers, enterprise and metro Ethernet switches, and storage switches can leverage Altera’s Arria® and Stratix® series of FPGAs to connect reliably to 10GbE backplanes or networks. Altera’s 10GbE solution is IEEE 802.3ae standard compliant and successfully passed the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL) 10GbE tests.

Altera 10-Gbps Ethernet Reference Design Reference Design


  • Complete solution, including intellectual property (IP) and user configuration MegaWizard® software
  • Compliant to IEEE802.3ae-2002 specifications
  • Passed the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab (UNH) 10 Gigabit Ethernet tests of MAC, PCS and PMA
  • Verified with simulation models and tested with third-party test equipment
  • 10-GbE MAC standard functions in full-duplex
  • Supported in Stratix® IV, Stratix III, Stratix II, Stratix II GX, and ArriaTM GX FPGA families
  • Flexible standard interfaces
  • Virtual LAN (VLAN) and stacked VLAN tagged frames support according to IEEE 802.IQ
  • Option for local or line loop-back at RS sub-layer for easy system test
  • Network management feature: Option for statistics counters for SNMP Management Information Base (MIB and MIB-II) and remote network monitoring (RMON)
  • Easy-to-use MegaWizard interface for configuring and generating the 10-GbE
  • Altera SOPC Builder compliant for quick and easy system design
  • IP functional simulation models for use in Altera-supported VHDL and Verilog HDL simulators

Altera’s 10GbE reference design is a highly reliable and flexible solution, providing all MAC, PCS and PMA functions. In addition to being compliant to the IEEE 802.3ae 10GbE standard, Stratix II GX FPGAs successfully passed all the pertinent UNH 10GbE hardware tests, including Clauses 4 (MAC), 31 (Flow Control), 46 (RS), 47 (XAUI), 48 (10GBASE-X PCS), Clause 54 (CX4), XAUI interoperability tests, and optical module interoperability tests with various optical X2 modules. The reference design was verified in simulation and hardware tested in Altera’s PCI Express Development Kit, Stratix II GX Edition with industry-standard 10GbE test equipment and CX4 and X2 adapters.

Altera’s 10GbE reference design consists of an encrypted design library, detailed 10GbE application note, simulation test bench with test cases, and user configuration GUI software. The reference design allows designers to quickly implement Altera’s Arria GX, Stratix II GX, Stratix III and Stratix IV GX FPGAs into a multi-10GbE system. The introduction of Altera’s 40-nm Stratix IV GX devices enable designers to implement much larger and higher density 10GbE designs with unprecedented FPGA integration levels.

Synthesis Options

  • Transmit and receive FIFO of selectable lengths at the MAC-to-system interface for optimizing the size of the core and low-latency design
  • Statistics counters supporting RMON (RGC 2819) Ethernet type MIB (RFC 3635) and interface group MIB (RFC 2863)
  • MDIO management interface for external PHY devices

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