Hierarchical switching networks connecting hundreds to thousands of servers are common in most large corporations. The state-of-the-art switches used in those networks are usually implemented by interconnecting a set of line cards that connect to hosts with a set of fabric cards that connect to other switches. This paper presents a new approach to implementing those switches using innovative packaging techniques that permit the 3-dimensional line/fabric card structure to be flattened into a 2-dimensional array of switch chips packaged on a PCB. The result of this flattening is a non-hierarchical network topology that we call a “flat tree”. This new approach reduces cost and complexity while improving performance and signal integrity.

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