Bustronic and Pentek Roll Out First Switchless VXS System

11/2/2004 - ELMA-Bustronic Corporation and Pentek, Inc. jointly announced a five-slot VXS system that significantly improves VME system throughput and provides full fabric support for three payload cards without the necessity of a fabric switch card. The new switchless VXS system serves as an excellent platform for developing and testing new VXS cards and is a cost-effective platform for smaller applications and demonstration systems. Compliant to the VITA 41.x specification, the five-slot system combines three payload slots plus two conventional VME64x slots and allows design engineers to take full advantage of the VXS technology immediately. Pentek’s Model 6821,12-bit 215 MHz A/D and Dual Virtex-II Pro FPGA VME/VXS board, is the first in a family of VXS products supported with this new switchless VXS system.

“Although fully-implemented VXS systems will use one or more VXS switch cards for routing data between payload cards, this new five-slot system is extremely useful for our engineers while developing, characterizing and testing new VXS products. This is especially true now, since VXS switch cards are still not readily available,” said Rodger Hosking, vice president, Pentek. “Even when switch cards become plentiful, this five- slot backplane will still be very appropriate for test fixtures and engineering tasks. In addition, smaller systems that only need two or three VXS cards can save the space and cost burden of a switch card.”

“VXS not only boosts inter-board data transfer rates between VME cards, it also delivers multiple, simultaneous data streams completely independent of the conventional P1 andP2 backplane connectors of VMEbus,” said Michael Munroe, product development manager at Bustronic. “The two conventional VME64x slots in the new five-slot system can still access the VME interface on the new VXS payload cards, providing an excellent migration platform combining legacy VME cards with new VXS offerings.”

Inside The Switchless VXS System
The unit exploits the requirement that each VXS payload card supports two switched serial fabric ports on the new P0 MultiGig RT-2 backplane connector defined in the VXS specification. This allows three VXS payload cards to be joined in a ring, with two serial ports of each card connected to the two other cards in the group. Using this arrangement, each of the three cards can then communicate directly with the other two cards without the need for a separate switch card.

Each switched serial fabric port consists of two sets of four ganged (4x) serial bit channels, one set for input data and the other set for output data. The specified connector technology supports data rates of up to 10 Gbits/sec for each serial channel. Using high-speed serial differential signaling technology with standard 8B/10B encoding, the maximum data transfer rate for each full-duplex 4x serial port is 4 Gbytes/sec in each direction, simultaneously. Serial clock rates for initial card offerings will likely deliver VXS serial port data rates of at least 1 Gbytes/sec in each direction. Additionally, systems are also possible that have multiple 3-slot switchless mesh segments embedded along a single VME64x parallel bus.

At the September GSPx conference in Santa Clara, Andy Reddig, president and CTO of Tekmicro commented, "This new innovative mesh backplane serves as a practical platform supporting our new JazzStream VXS products with modular high-speed XMC based I/O solutions."

“This switchless VXS mesh proposed by Pentek and Bustronic may prove to be a significant platform for VXS system development and could provide an important stimulus for additional VITA 41 solutions,” predicted Ray Alderman, executive director of the VMEbus International Trade Association (VITA).

VXS Compatibility
Pentek’s Model 6821 is the first in a series of VXS products to be used with this system. The Model 6821 a single-channel, 6U VMEbus board featuring one of the fastest 12-bit analog-to-digital (A/D) converters in the market with sampling rates to 215 MHz. The Pentek Model 6821 couples this high-speed A/D with two new Xilinx Virtex-II Pro FPGAs. The Model 6821 accepts one front-panel analog input and delivers digital output samples over two or four front panel data port (FPDP or FPDP II) connectors. A front panel low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) bus supports synchronous,triggered data acquisition across multiple boards. This capability is essential for multi-channel applications such as radar and direction finding.

About VXS
The VXS Switched Serial standard is new VITA initiative to advance VME technology. Fully backwards-compatible with VME/VME64x, VXS utilizes a new 6.4 Gbit/sec high-speed connector in the P0 section of a VME64x backplane. The new connector allows the use of switched fabric signals for higher bandwidth and reliability.

The VITA 41 specification for VXS includes VITA 41.1 for Infiniband, VITA 41.2 for RapidIO, VITA 41.3 for Ethernet and VITA 41.4 for PCI Express. Designers will have the flexibility of plugging in a mix of standard VME64x cards, VXS payload cards and VXS switch cards. The VXS cards can utilize the legacy parallel bus only, the new switch fabric transport only, or both.

About ELMA-Bustronic Corporation
Bustronic, founded in 1989, is the premier source for custom and standard architecture backplanes for the embedded computer industry. Bustronic focuses on the design and manufacture of high performance backplanes for the VME and CompactPCI marketplace. Bustronic is also an active leader in the development of standards for new embedded architectures. Bustronic is a member of the ELMA Electronic group. ELMA based in Wetzikon, Switzerland and Fremont, California, is a global leader in electronic components and enclosures. ELMA has facilities and representatives in over 22 countries and is publicly traded on the Swiss Stock Exchange. Bustronic is an executive member of PICMG (PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group), VITA (VMEbus International Trade Association), and a founding member of the StarFabric Trade Association.

About Pentek, Inc.
Pentek develops, manufactures and markets innovative DSP systems to original equipment manufacturers, distributors and value-added resellers. Pentek offers powerful VME, cPCI, PCI, PMC and VIM boards for data acquisition, software radio and digital signal processing featuring Texas Instrument’s C6000 DSPs, Motorola’s G4 PowerPC and Xilinx FPGAs. Pentek's I/O includes A/Ds, D/As, digital receivers and upconverters and more. Pentek equips all of its products with high-bandwidth interconnects and offers strong DSP software support. www.pentek.com

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