System Interconnect Fabrics: Ethernet Versus RapidIO(R) Technology

The white paper offers embedded designers a detailed technology comparison of Ethernet and RapidIO that will prove invaluable as they design and specify standards for next-generation applications. The paper is authored by Greg Shippen, system architect for Freescale Semiconductor's Digital Systems Division, NCSG and a member of the RapidIO Trade Association's Technical Working Group and Steering Committee.

The white paper is a comprehensive compilation of embedded interconnect information. It provides a high-level market perspective and delivers a detailed technical examination of these two technologies.

As the white paper notes, "market pressures demand that each new generation of networking and communications system deliver both higher performance and new functionality at a lower price." As system engineers strive to meet these demands, they turn increasingly to standards-based solutions, and many, by default, consider Ethernet due to its longevity in the market. Yet, interconnect technologies like RapidIO are gaining wide acceptance and in many cases, becoming the international standard in the wireless and military/aerospace markets.

With this white paper, engineers have access to an unbiased, comprehensive review and comparison of these two important interconnect technologies. The new white paper reviews the use of Ethernet and RapidIO technology as a system interconnect fabric, comparing them against the requirements for such fabrics, and includes quantitative analysis where possible. The paper explores system-level fabric requirements and provides a technical overview of both technologies before delving into an in-depth comparison. Prior to concluding, the white paper examines practical considerations and economics.

For too long designers believed it was either Ethernet or RapidIO. This paper demonstrates the need for both interconnect standards and helps clarify where each is best suited to meet performance demands.

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