MediaTek presents industry leading 5nm TCAM technology for Data Center ASICs at VLSI 2021

Jun 22, 2021

MediaTek recently attended the 2021 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits during 13-19th June, where our engineers presented a paper titled: A 5nm Fin-FET 2G-search/s 512-entry x 220-bit TCAM with Single Cycle Entry Update Capability for Data Center ASICs.

TCAM is an important technology for Networking and Data Center ASICs. It is primarily used to store and lookup forwarding and classification rules for network traffic. If an incoming network packet matches one or more rules stored in the TCAM, then an appropriate action is taken, like whether to drop the packet, accept the packet, reroute the packet etc. TCAM has the distinct advantage of offering a very high speed and deterministic parallel look up operation. Recent advances in software defined networking require rules stored in the TCAM to be updated often to adapt to dynamically changing network conditions. As a result, TCAMs need to offer a very high speed lookup AND rule update capability. However, rule updates in TCAM typically take multiple cycles because entries are stored in the order of priority inside a TCAM. Therefore, when a rule update happens, multiple entries need to be shuffled to maintain priority which takes multiple cycles. Further, each TCAM entry update takes two clock cycles because of the nature of the data stored in the TCAM.

In this paper we present a technique and interface to reduce entry update latency by 50% while operating at a high performance 2G-search/s in an advanced 5nm IC technology, in state of the art Data Center ASICs. Read More >

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