GE Fanuc Goes to InfiniBand and Beyond with Connectivity Solutions

6/5/2003 - GE Fanuc Automation Americas, Inc., an affiliate of GE Industrial Systems, has introduced an extensive new family of InfiniBandTM I/O connectivity products for embedded systems. This new family spans CompactPCI, PCI, PMC (PCI Mezzanine Card) and VME architectures that support 2.5Gb InfiniBand within a single slot. GE Fanuc introduced the new InfiniBand I/O connectivity solutions at the SUPERCOMM 2003 Exposition in Atlanta, June 3-5, Booth #22861.

"The InfiniBand architecture simplifies and speeds server-to-server connections and links to other server-related systems such as remote storage," said Douglas Albert, vice president, embedded systems, GE Fanuc Automation. "The new family enables easy connectivity, reduced latency, improved bandwidth and enhanced interoperability features - all of which increase the performance and reliability of the overall system."

The new GE Fanuc product range comprises four initial releases based on the CPCI, PCI, PMC and VME form factors, each providing 2.5Gb InfiniBand connectivity. The CPCI and VME boards also provide real-estate for an additional one or two PMC modules and, for the CPCI 6U variant, the modular capability to increase the I/O options even further via the PCMCIA slot on-board. The CP441 is also fully hot swappable with blue LEDs.

A unique feature of the new GE Fanuc product line is the ability to use InfiniBand connectivity within a range of remote system access solutions. One of the primary cards (either the RM440 PCI edge connector or the PMC440 PCI Mezzanine Card) is implemented in the host system where it translates the PCI transaction into an InfiniBand packet and transmits it across a fiber cable to an independent CPCI or VME system on the network. Here the packet is then, in turn, translated back into a PCI transaction. In this configuration, the packet can be transmitted over a physical distance of up to 40KM in length.

At the other end of the cable, within the remote system, the RM422 (VME card) or CP441 (CPCI card) can be utilized in the system controller slot. In this configuration, all the other I/O controllers within that system transparently appear as local to the host system. Furthermore, with the InfiniBand architecture, all the protocols required to transmit the data are available within the hardware itself, so there is no excess overhead to the host system. The onboard firmware is also transparent, so no software drivers are required either.

Alternatively, the cards in the remote system can be utilized in the non-system controller slots. In this configuration, the CP441 (or RM442) appears as a non-transparent bridge device and the onboard PCI to PCI bridge (or Universe chip in the event of the VME system) sees the local I/O devices of the board including the PMC slots and the non-transparent bridge which connects to the CPCI / VME chassis.

The benefits of this remote I/O access and control are varied and numerous depending on the implementation scenario. In its simplest form it enables, for example, VME system control from a CPCI system, workstation or PC. There are already many embedded applications that are using this technology to address specific, more complicated concerns such as: access to latest high-end processing power in a host system versus requirements for extra I/O slots in a remote system; a requirement for a ruggedized host system versus cost-saving demand for and/or easy access to the I/O system; and shared memory requirements between host and remote systems.

The CP441 and RM440 solutions are available and shipping now. The RM442 VME variant and the PMC440 will be available in the third quarter.

About GE Fanuc Automation
GE Fanuc Automation Americas, Inc., is a leading global supplier of automation solutions and is a joint venture between GE and FANUC LTD of Japan. GE Fanuc products and services include collaborative production management, HMI/SCADA and plant intelligence software; nano to high-end controllers; embedded systems; a wide range of CNCs; motion control; operator interfaces; industrial computers; lasers; and integration and customer support services. Headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., GE Fanuc is part of GE Industrial Systems. For more information, visit

About GE Industrial Systems
Since the founding of the General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) by Thomas Edison in 1882, GE Industrial Systems has been known for technical innovation. GE Industrial Systems has over 7,600 U.S. and foreign patents on products that help provide peace of mind for people, the properties they own and their workplaces. In 2001 alone, GE Industrial Systems filed more than 200 US and 340 foreign patent applications.

GE Industrial Systems spans the globe as an industry leader in integrated industrial, electrical and security equipment, systems and services. The business brings to customers the latest technologies that are used to distribute, protect and control energy and equipment, and to provide premise management. GE provides innovative product and service solutions for commercial, industrial, residential and utility customers. For more information visit the website at:

For more information, visit or contact: GE Fanuc Automation, Embedded Systems, 12090 S. Memorial Pkwy, Huntsville, AL 35803, Phone: (800) 322-3616, Fax: (256) 882-0859, e-mail:

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