case study # 02

Ultrafast AFE for Next Generation Fiber Optic Links


Kapik has been working with a Tier 1 telecom equipment company almost since our founding in 2008. We’ve worked together on analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters (ADC and DAC) for their transceivers for long-haul (trans-oceanic) wavelength-division optical networking. The broad goal of our work is to assist the organization in maximizing its multi-billion dollar investment in fiber-optic infrastructure by providing a wide array of analog expertise and design services that help improve the performance of this key asset.

The nature of this client engagement is atypical, but readily transferable to other large organizations with long-term business horizons. Instead of focusing on a single short-term design project, we serve as an ongoing project team that brings an outsider’s objective perspective and delivers design capacity that is not available in-house. We provide the material that drives a weekly meeting that facilitates collaboration between their Systems and IC groups: our broad skill-set allows us to model the effects of subtle data-converter circuit issues on their very high-end modems. By getting these things right, we help them go well beyond a naive ENOB approach to prioritize the non-idealities that really matter to their system.

In this unique customer service role, Kapik has gone well beyond analyzing and handling error budgets. We have:

  • Invented new circuit architectures and signal-processing techniques
  • Produced joint patents and licensed Kapik patents to the client
  • Designed new Walsh-domain signal distribution techniques that radically reduce interconnect bandwidth requirements at the front end
  • Developed techniques for DSP post-processing at the back end that corrects manufacturing variability in gains, timing, bandwidth and more

In the world below 28nm, we’ve achieved considerable performance gains in our ongoing work with this client. Our collaborative and reciprocal approach to IP also keeps our client/service provider relationship dynamic and mutually rewarding. Use of foreground IP that we develop together is only restricted to competitors, enabling us to both benefit when novel, new applications can be identified and put into practice – helping us drive broader, technological innovation.

Do you think your company could benefit from a similar type customer service arrangement? We’re flexible in how we work and open to new possibilities. Contact us today.

Tags: networking, ADC, DAC, customer service, IP