10-Gbps Ethernet Hardware Demonstration Reference Design


Our 10-Gbps Ethernet Hardware Demonstration reference design provides a quick way to implement your 10-Gbps Ethernet (10GbE)-based design in an Intel FPGA, and observe live network traffic flowing through various sections of a system. This design also helps you to verify your 10GbE-based system operation with a 10GbE media access controller (MAC) function and a standard off-the-shelf 10GbE SFP+ pluggable optical module or SFP+ direct coupled copper cable assembly. The 10GbE MAC is validated by the UNH-IOL.

The reference design is built with our 10GbE MAC and XAUI PHY Intel® FPGA IP function with four 3.125-gigabit (Gb) serial transceivers in an Intel FPGA to implement one 10GbE XAUI port. The XAUI port is converted in a dual XAUI to SFP+ high speed mezzanine card (HSMC) (from Terasic) to 10-Gbps serial Ethernet providing network interface via low cost SFP+ optical pluggable module or SFP+ direct coupled cable assembly.

This reference design demonstrates the operation of the 10GbE MAC Intel FPGA IP function up to the maximum wire-speed performance with low-cost SFP+ interface in many loopback hardware configurations, as shown in Figure 1.


  • Showcases one instance of the 10GbE MAC and XAUI PHY Intel FPGA IP function supporting 10GbE operations in XAUI mode and with low-cost SFP+ optical module or copper interface. For more information about the 10GbE MAC and XAUI PHY Intel FPGA IP, refer to the 10-Gbps Ethernet MAC Intel FPGA IP Function User Guide (PDF) and the Transceiver PHY IP Core User Guide (PDF).
  • System loopbacks at various points in the datapath that control, test, and monitor the 10GbE operations.
    • Loop A: XGMII interface local loopback
    • Loop B: FPGA serial physical medium attachment (PMA) interface local loopback
    • Loop C: Broadcom BCM8727 XGXS loopback
    • Loop D: Broadcom BCM8727 PMA serial loopback
    • Loop E: External SFP+ optical cable loopback
  • Sequential random burst tests with configurable number of packets, payload-data type, and payload size for each burst. A pseudo-random binary sequence (PRBS) generator generates the payload data type in fixed increments or in a random sequence.
  • Packet statistics for a PRBS generator and monitor, MAC transmitter (TX), and receiver (RX).
  • Packet classification of different frame lengths transmitted and received by the MAC.
  • Measure throughput for the traffic received by the traffic monitor.
  • Tcl-based System Console user interface that allows you to dynamically control the test, and configure and monitor any registers in this reference design.

Demonstrated Altera Technology

Hardware Requirements

Software Requirements

Quartus® II software version 11.0 with following features:

Figure 1. 10-Gbps Ethernet Hardware Demonstration Reference Design Illustrating Test and Loopback Configurations (1)

1The dual XAUI to SFP+ HSMC board is available from Terasic

These reference design illustrations may be used within Intel Corporation devices only and remain the copyrighted property of Intel. They are being provided on an "as-is" basis and as an accommodation, and therefore all warranties, representations, or guarantees of any kind (whether express, implied or statutory) including, without limitation, warranties of merchantability, non-infringement, or fitness for a particular purpose, are specifically disclaimed. Intel expressly does not recommend, suggest, or require that these examples be used in combination with any other product not provided by Intel.