Interlaken IP

Interlaken is a scalable chip-to-chip interconnect protocol invented by Cisco and Cortina in 2006. This royalty free protocol is optimized for high-bandwidth and enables transfer speeds from 10Gbps to 150Gbps. Interlaken uses bundles of serial links to create a logical connection between ICs with multiple channels, backpressure capability, and data-integrity protection to boost the performance of communications equipment. Interlaken utilizes two levels of CRC checking and a self-synchronizing data scrambler to provide data integrity and link robustness.


Interlaken IP Core is an interconnect networking protocol IP that has been optimized for the transfer of data packets over a reliable channel. The royalty free protocol originated in 2006, put in place by Cisco Systems and Cortina systems. The purpose was to create a protocol that provides high bandwidth and is still reliable and trustworthy for the safe transfer of data packets from one chip to another.


Features of Interlaken IP Core


Interlaken employs the use of SerDes technology which enables it to decrease the number of I/O pins it uses. SerDes allows the Interlaken IP Core to be easily integrated into any technology that the user wishes to use and makes it easier to design and synthesize a variety of ASICs and technologies using the Interlaken protocol. You also have the option to enable and disable individual SerDes lanes that run independent of each other.


It looks to build upon the channelization and per channel flow control features of SPI4.2. With 1.2 Tbps of bandwidth and upto 56 Gbps of SerDes support, there is no surprise that the Interlaken networking protocol has such great and reliable performance.


Interlaken IP supports over 256 logic channels and offers 8-bit channel extension for up to 64k channels. The number of configurable lanes varies between 1-48.


The Interlaken IP is able to support these Interlaken Alliance specifications:


  • Interlaken Protocol Definition, v1.2
  • Interlaken Look-Aside Protocol Definition, v1.1
  • Interlaken Retransmit Extension, v1.2
  • Interlaken Dual Calendar Extension v1.0
  • Interlaken Interop Recommendations, v1.7


Interlaken Applications


Keeping in mind the features of the Interlaken protocol, it is mainly used for high speed chip to chip data transfer applications. It has the capability to transmit and receive data from the SerDes interface as well as the physical interface. Not to mention, Interlaken also supports packet based interfaces when each packet comprises of multiple bursts. This scalable, high speed, and high bandwidth protocol that enables mutliple sessions and applications to occur at the same time is also preferred for low latency operations.


The Interlaken protocol is frequently used in packet processing, traffic management, switch fabric, serial memory, and FPGAs among other applications where high speed and high bandwidth communication is needed across the chip to chip interface. This is because Interlaken offers more scalability, reduces the pin count, gives greater flow control, introduces channelization, preserves data integrity, and also reduces the costs incurred with the adoption of new technologies as it is compatible to operate with third party IP cores.


With passing time, the demand for higher bandwidth continues to rise, which opens up the Interlaken protocol to further advancement, improvement, and development. Currently, Xilinx and Intel both develop FPGAs using the Interlaken networking protocol as a hard, built in IP.

Find here Interlaken IP cores.

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