|Founded||Copenhagen, Denmark (September 2003)|
|Founder(s)||Niels Finseth, Steen Bak Christensen, Eivind Johansen|
|Key people||Niels Finseth [CEO],
Martin Rofheart [Chairman, IPtronics, Executive Chairman, Applied Signals Intelligence, Inc.],
Steen Bak Christensen [CTO] ,
Jesper Wolf Bek [VP Strategic Accounts],
Henning Lysdal [VP Engineering],
Steen Gundersen [VP Sales & Marketing],
Thomas Skov Reunert [Director Sales, Asia],
Anders Andersen [Director, Operations]
|Products||Low-Power Single- & Multi-Channel Broadband Transimpedance Amplifiers (TIA) and VCSEL Drivers for Optical Data Communication Applications|
Menlo Park, CA.
IPtronics is a fabless semiconductor company headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. Its products include integrated circuits for parallel optical interconnect applications intended for the computer, storage and communication industries. IPtronics' design center is certified by STMicroelectronics, which is also their semiconductor foundry partner. In June 2013, it was announced that IPtronics was acquired by Mellanox Technologies at a total cash purchase price of approximately $47.5 million, subject to certain adjustments.
IPtronics is founded (2003) and built up by former directors, managers and engineers from Giga A/S, which was acquired by Intel Corporation in 2000 for 1.25B USD. On June 4, 2013, it was announced that IPtronics was acquired by Mellanox Technologies at a total cash purchase price of approximately $47.5 million, subject to certain adjustments.
Founders and staff
Three former Giga employees, Niels Finseth, Steen Bak Christensen, and Eivind Johansen, co-founded IPtronics. Giga A/S specialized in products for telecommunication and data communication applications, as for example OC-48 and OC-192. Mr. Finseth was previously an engineering manager, responsible for all 10 Gbit/s IC product development. Mr. Christensen was also previously an engineering manager, responsible for all 2.5 Gbit/s development. Dr. Johansen was a co-founder of Giga (1987) as well, serving as the technical director until the acquisition by Intel, followed by a CTO position at Intel's Optical Component Division (OCD) and being appointed Intel Fellow in 2001, a corporate VP position for his technical leadership in optical communication. In May 2004, Henning Lysdal was recruited as COO, previously high-speed PHY development manager at Intel OCD. Mr. Lysdal later became VP of engineering after hiring a dedicated director of operations. Two former colleagues from Giga/Intel, who were at that time CEOs in their respective Danish electronic companies, were recruited to IPtronics to accelerate global sales. Steen Gundersen came from a position as the CEO of Alight Technologies and Jesper Wolf Bek came from a position as the CEO of Kaleido Technology.
One of the characteristics of Giga was their focus on customer support, and the founders of IPtronics claim to have incorporated this philosophy into their new venture. In 2006, Intel closed its Danish office, which resulted in even more new electronics start-ups in Copenhagen metropolitan area as well as many employees joining already existing companies such as IPtronics. However, several new additions to the staff from 2008 and beyond have a different background than from Giga or Intel, such as Navid Ostadian-Binai.
During 2006, the company appointed Jørgen Bardenfleth as the Chairman of the Board. Mr. Bardenfleth is the country general manager of Microsoft Denmark and he has previously worked with the IPtronics founders when he was the country general manager of Intel Denmark as well as the general manager of Intel OCD. In November 2011, IPtronics announced that it has appointed Dr. Martin Rofheart as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dr. Rofheart held various senior executive roles in high technology companies focused in the optical, copper and wireless industry segments. Most recently, he was senior vice president and general manager of analog and mixed signal products for Gennum Corporation where he managed a portfolio of 10 Gbit/s analog semiconductor products. Prior to that, Dr. Rofheart held executive roles at Freescale Semiconductor and was CEO of XtremeSpectrum, Inc. Other members of the board include Eivind Johansen (partner, 10i10, co-founder, IPtronics), Martin Hauge (general partner, Creandum), Jimmy Fussing Nielsen (managing partner, Sunstone Capital) and Peter Ulrik Scheel (senior vice president, head of global R&D, GN ReSound).
The company's first customer was CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The IPtronics chips were produced with TriQuint Semiconductor's GaAs foundry process technology. These devices are being used as front-end electronics for Resistive Plate Chambers (RPC), a gaseous particle detector capable of sub-nanosecond time resolution on very large areas.
In the beginning, the founders worked together in the garage of Steen Bak Christensen in Roskilde. As the first employee was hired in February 2005, IPtronics moved into new premises outside Roskilde. During the summer of 2008, IPtronics opened its North American office in Silicon Valley.
In April 2010, IPtronics joined the InfiniBand Trade Association, enabling the company to influence and contribute to the ongoing development and maintenance of the InfiniBand architecture specifications. In addition, IPtronics announced it will especially bring low power and high volume manufacturing expertise to the table. IPtronics later also joined the associations, Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) and Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG).
This chip technology enables parallel optical interconnect systems that computer manufactures have begun to adopt in order to overcome the physical constraints from using copper-based connections over high speed interfaces and backplanes. Parallel optics is introduced to be able to simultaneously transmit and receive data at high bandwidths over multiple fibers, initially implemented in supercomputers and servers followed by an upcoming introduction into consumer electronics. In June 2011, IPtronics announced it had reached a shipment milestone, passing 1 million ICs, and the company states the majority is shipped to Asia.
Active optical cables
Late 2007, IPtronics started shipping 4-channel and 12-channel chipsets capable of operating at a minimum of 10 Gbit/s per channel, primarily targeting data center and supercomputer applications. A chipset consists of a VCSEL driver and a Transimpedance amplifier (TIA). The company also states to have qualified solder bump versions of the same two chipsets to be used for flip chip mounting, the preferred assembly technology in high-volume production. Early 2010, IPtronics announced the availability of 16 Gbit/s version of their 4- and 12-channel VCSEL drivers and TIAs, with a compatible footprint in both wire-bond and solder bump solutions.
The company announced in June 2010 that it is now also addressing the market for "lower rates", especially driven by HDMI cables, at higher volumes, and a substantially lower cost structure than current active optical cables for InfiniBand QDR and beyond. At the 2010 exhibitions of CIOE (China International Optoelectronic Exposition) and ECOC (European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communication), the company presented a live demonstration of their Optical HDMI solution by transmitting signals from a Blu-ray DVD player to a HD LCD television, targeted to deliver the solution to the market from 2011. In January 2011, IPtronics released a new 4-channel chipset for pluggable module applications, and the company claims to have reduced the power consumption compared to their first-generation 4-channel chipset.
In March 2012, IPtronics announced operation of its 28 Gbit/s/channel chipset with select partners, and the company claims that the ecosystem has matured to deliver at the mentioned frequencies.
IPtronics is one of the companies that is producing Thunderbolt technology (original code-name: Light Peak). Thunderbolt was brought to market by Apple in February 2011, and Light Peak is Intel's code-name for the new high-speed cable technology designed to connect consumer electronic devices to each other using copper or optical interconnect. IPtronics is a supplier of driver and receiver ICs that go into the optical module, performing the conversion from electricity to light and vice versa, using miniature lasers and photodetectors. The ICs from IPtronics are dual-channel, where each channel operates at a minimum of 10 Gbit/s.
In October 2010, the company announced availability of a new silicon revision. They claim the same cost competitiveness, enabling optical module and -cable applications such as Thunderbolt implementation, though now also single channel optical links up to 14 Gbit/s. Besides Thunderbolt, the devices are claimed to be used in a plethora of applications such as, but not limited to, SFP+ replacement cables, SFP+ transceivers, data center point to point cables, proprietary links in both consumer and data center applications.
- Thunderbolt (interface)
- Optical interconnect
- Parallel optical interface
- Interconnect bottleneck
- Optical communication
- Optical cable
- Transimpedance amplifier
- Photo diode
- PIN diode
- Green computing
- InfiniBand Trade Association
- Fibre channel
- PCI Express
- Small form-factor pluggable transceiver
- Terabit Ethernet
- 100 Gigabit Ethernet
- 10 Gigabit Ethernet
- Data center
- High-performance computing
- Cloud computing
- CXP (connector)
- Active Cables
- C Form-factor Pluggable
- Fiber-optic communication
- Optical link
- List of device bandwidths
- Networking cables
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