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IPtronics A/S
Industry Semiconductors
Founded Copenhagen, Denmark (September 2003 (2003-09))
Founder Niels Finseth, Steen Bak Christensen, Eivind Johansen
Headquarters Copenhagen, Denmark
Area served
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
Subsidiaries IPtronics Inc.,
Menlo Park, CA.
Website www.iptronics.com

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.[1][2] IPtronics' design center is certified by STMicroelectronics, which is also their semiconductor foundry partner.[3] 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.[4][5]


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.[6][7] 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.[4]

Founders and staff[edit]

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.[8] 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.[9][10] 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.[11] 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.[12][13] 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.[14][15] 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).[16]

Early products[edit]

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.[17]

In October 2005, IPtronics started developing optical interconnects in a collaboration with NEC Corporation.[18][19]


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.[20] During the summer of 2008, IPtronics opened its North American office in Silicon Valley.[21]


In April 2010, IPtronics joined the InfiniBand Trade Association,[22][23] 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.[24] IPtronics later also joined the associations, Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) and Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG).[25][26]

The logo of IPtronics from 2003 to 2008
IPtronics logo, 2003–2008
IPtronics evaluation board for parallel optics
IPtronics evaluation board for parallel optics [27]
Schematic of IPtronics solution for parallel optical interconnects in backplanes
Schematic of IPtronics solution for parallel optical interconnects in backplanes [28]
Semiconductor wafers, showing IPtronics designed ICs for parallel optical interconnects using a STMicroelectronics fabrication process
Semiconductor wafers, showing IPtronics designed ICs for parallel optical interconnects using a STMicroelectronics fabrication process


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.[29][30] 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.[28] 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.[31]

Active optical cables[edit]

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.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34][35]

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.[24] 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.[36] 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.[37]

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.[38]

Thunderbolt (interface)[edit]

IPtronics is one of the companies that is producing Thunderbolt technology (original code-name: Light Peak).[39][40][41][42] Thunderbolt was brought to market by Apple in February 2011,[43][44] 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.[45] 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.[42] The ICs from IPtronics are dual-channel, where each channel operates at a minimum of 10 Gbit/s.[42]

In October 2010, the company announced availability of a new silicon revision.[46] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "IPtronics: Private Company Information". BusinessWeek. 
  2. ^ "IPtronics Enables 40GE, 100GE and Beyond…". FiberSystems.org. December 16, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2009. 
  3. ^ "IPtronics: About Us: Partners". IPtronics. Retrieved March 20, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Mellanox Technologies Ltd. Announces Definitive Agreement to Acquire IPtronics A/S". NASDAQ. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ "IPtronics acquired by Mellanox Technologies". navidob.com. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  6. ^ http://www.eetimes.eu/206800294
  7. ^ "Intel to buy Giga for $1.25 billion". CNET. March 15, 2000. Retrieved March 20, 2009. 
  8. ^ "IPtronics, supplier of silicon for parallel optical interconnects, raises $10.25m in series B funding round". Optical Key Hole. February 19, 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2010. 
  9. ^ http://www.iptronics.com/36392/Management
  10. ^ "Giga-venner satser på at lave ny Giga". Business.dk. February 19, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2010. 
  11. ^ http://www.ue.dk/nyhedsarkiv/5921.aspx
  12. ^ "Jørgen Bardenfleth - Adm. Direktør, Microsoft Denmark" (PDF). Globalisering.dk. Retrieved Nov 25, 2010. 
  13. ^ "IPtronics, developing optical interconnect products, closes $2m in second round funding". Optical KeyHole. October 13, 2006. Retrieved Nov 25, 2010. 
  14. ^ "High Speed Analog, Optical and Wireless Semiconductor Executive Brings Global Market Expansion Expertise to IPtronics Board of Directors". PR Newswire. Retrieved Nov 29, 2011. 
  15. ^ "IPtronics Appoints Dr. Martin Rofheart Chairman of the Board". IPtronics. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  16. ^ "IPtronics: About Us: Board of Directors". IPtronics. Retrieved November 24, 2011. 
  17. ^ "TriQuint Powered Integrated Circuits Used in "Big Bang" Experiment at CERN Facility". Reuters. October 7, 2008. 
  18. ^ "IPtronics, developing optical interconnect products, closes $2m in second round funding". Optical KeyHole. October 13, 2006. 
  19. ^ "IPtronics cooperate with NEC on tiny optical module - IPtronics enables low power modules". IPtronics. October 3, 2005. 
  20. ^ "IPtronics, supplier of silicon for parallel optical interconnects, raises $10.25m in series B funding round". Optical Keyhole. February 20, 2008. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  21. ^ http://www.iptronics.com/37456/IPtronics%20Incorporated/
  22. ^ "InfiniBand Trade Association: Member roster". Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  23. ^ "InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) Announces Release of New Publication: Introduction to InfiniBand for End Users". PRWeb. April 27, 2010. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  24. ^ a b "IPtronics Offers low cost Silicon for Parallel Optics - IPtronics adds solutions for the growing Low Cost and HDMI market in Asia". IPtronics. June 2010. Retrieved November 2010.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "iptronicsparalleloptics" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  25. ^ "Optical Internetworking Forum". Optical Internetworking Forum. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  26. ^ "PCI-SIG Membership Roster". PCI-SIG. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  27. ^ "VCSEL Drivers and Transimpedance Amplifiers". Photonics.com. January 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2010. 
  28. ^ a b Bek, Jesper (2008-06-09). "Parallel Optical Interconnects". IPtronics. Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  29. ^ http://fibresystems.org/cws/article/newsfeed/32972
  30. ^ http://www.commsdesign.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206800904
  31. ^ Bek, Jesper (2011-06-16). "IPtronics Reaches Shipment Milestone - IPtronics passed the 1M units Shipped Mark in June 2011". IPtronics. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  32. ^ http://www.eetimes.eu/germany/212901320
  33. ^ "IPtronics unveils high volume 'flip chip' solutions for 40-, 120-Gigabit/sec apps". Interconnection World. March 10, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2009. 
  34. ^ "IPtronics offers silicon for 16-Gbps per channel parallel optics". LightWave. March 8, 2010. Retrieved March 9, 2010. 
  35. ^ http://www.iptronics.com/37829/
  36. ^ "IPtronics adds solutions for the growing Low Cost and HDMI market in Asia". IPtronics. June 2010. 
  37. ^ "IPtronics Offers New 4ch silicon". IPtronics. January 2011. 
  38. ^ "IPtronics at 25 Gbps with Select Partners". IPtronics. March 2010. 
  39. ^ "IPtronics Develops Components for Light Peak Technology". D&R. October 1, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  40. ^ Clarke, Peter (October 1, 2009). "IPtronics, Avago chip in to Intel's optical interconnect". EETimes. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  41. ^ Crothers, Brooke (September 29, 2009). "Sources: 'Light Peak' technology not Apple idea". CNET News. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  42. ^ a b c "IPtronics Develops Components for Light Peak Technology". IPtronics. October 1, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  43. ^ "Apple Introducing Thunderbolt - The Fastest, most Versatile I/O ever in a Notebook". Apple Inc. February 24, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  44. ^ "Thunderbolt Technology - The Fastest Connection To Your PC Experience". Intel Corporation. February 24, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  45. ^ "Light Peak technology". Intel. September 23, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  46. ^ "IPtronics Offers New Low Cost silicon". IPtronics. October 2010. Retrieved November 2010. 

External links[edit]