VMETRO Rolls Out Phoenix CSW1 VXS Zero Latency Circuit Switch Board

1/18/2006 - The ability to build VXS (VITA 41) systems just became easier thanks to VMETRO's Phoenix CSW1 VXS switch board. Phoenix is a family of innovative products designed to enable system solutions for real-time multi-processors with high-speed serial communications. The Phoenix CSW1 allows VXS payload cards to be connected together with fast, protocol agnostic data links as well as provides front panel fiber-optic transceivers. These links can be arranged in any topology and can even support hardware data broadcasts for sharing and synchronizing data throughout the system. In effect, the Phoenix CSW1 provides an innovative system solution with high-speed serial data links using off-the-shelf VXS backplanes. These benefits ideally suit demanding real-time embedded computing solutions such as radar, sonar, signal intelligence (SIGINT), electronic intelligence (ELINT) and real-time imaging applications.

Many signal processing applications only require a few (three to seven) VXS boards interconnected with point-to-point connections in a custom VXS backplane and using a simple protocol like Aurora or Serial FPDP. This solution works well because these applications cannot afford the overhead and latency of a switched fabric. The downside is that each new application requires customers to bear the time and expense of developing a custom backplane. And, if the application requirements change, a new backplane may have to be developed. The Phoenix CSW1 solves these problems by allowing customers to use off-the-shelf VXS backplanes and simply change the routing topology in the CSW1 rather than having to develop a new backplane.

The Phoenix CSW1 supports 56 1x VXS backplane data links, each able to operate at up to 3.2GHz, thus enabling intra-system communications and remote sensor interfaces for the most demanding applications. The backplane data links can be utilized as 4x payload slot links in off-the-shelf VXS star backplanes. The CSW1 offers additional optional I/O capabilities including up to 12 front panel transceiver channels and a short XMC site.

The Phoenix CSW1's backplane and communications routing topology is set at system power-up. The links that are created at power-up can be thought of as hard-wired "circuits"; therefore, the CSW1 is a "circuit switch" as opposed to a "packet" switch that dynamically routes each packet. Pre-determined, static links are well suited for many embedded, real-time applications that require deterministic and low latency operation. For maximum flexibility, the same hardware can be reused for different applications in the same off-the-shelf VXS star backplane by reconfiguring the routing topology from images stored in FLASH memory or by remote downloads.

"Sometimes the simple ideas are the best and most powerful. The Phoenix CSW1 is one of those rare products," says VMETRO's Jeremy Banks (Product Manager for Processor and I/O Products). He adds, "The CSW1 will make it much easier for customers to build VXS systems using off-the-shelf VXS star backplanes."


VMETRO provides integrators of high-end embedded computer systems with products and services, from development through deployment, with the highest levels of performance, innovation and reliability. The products are based mostly on open standards like VXS, PCI Express, VME, PCI and CompactPCI. Founded in 1986 in Oslo, Norway, and in the US since 1987, VMETRO is the world's largest manufacturer of bus analyzers for standard buses such as VME, PCI and PCI Express. VMETRO also offers an extensive line of high-performance signal processing solutions, real-time data recorders, PMC I/O controllers and modules for real-time data processing, acquisition and networking. VMETRO has been traded on the Oslo Stock Exchange (Ticker:VME) since 1997.

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