PICMG issues CompactPCI packet-switching backplane specification

SEPTEMBER 28--The PCI Industrial Computers Manufacturers Group (PICMG; Wakefield, MA) has published a new specification, denoted PICMG 2.16, for a CompactPCI packet-switching backplane (CompactPCI/PSB).

SEPTEMBER 28--The PCI Industrial Computers Manufacturers Group (PICMG; Wakefield, MA) has published a new specification, denoted PICMG 2.16, for a CompactPCI packet-switching backplane (CompactPCI/PSB). The CompactPCI/PSB provides for scalability in density, reliability, cost, and performance. This new standard continues the evolution of CompactPCI and provides new levels of performance, flexibility, and density.

The CompactPCI/PSB specification describes a redundant, switched 10/100/1000 Ethernet network within a CompactPCI chassis providing IP connectivity between all CompactPCI and/or CompactPCI/PSB slots using a "star" topology. It is intended to coexist with 64-bit CompactPCI and H.110, and it therefore allocates the pins for CompactPCI/PSB links on J3 of all peripheral slots. Special slot(s) for active switching fabric element(s), which may be redundant, are also specified.

"CompactPCI/PSB has evolved from the confluence of new IP-based telephony applications, the growing popularity of CompactPCI, and the fact that Ethernet switching has become the dominant LAN topology in the enterprise marketplace," said Dick Somes of Force Computers, PICMG technical officer. "It blends the robustness, reliability, and hot-swap capabilities inherent in CompactPCI architecture with the ubiquity of Ethernet--yielding an architecture suited for high availability and next-generation IP network applications."

"The PICMG 2.16 CompactPCI Packet Switching Backplane specification is the result of intense work by dozens of PICMG members over the past 10 months, and the extremely rapid development of this new standard underscores the sense of urgency being placed on bringing switched backplane technology to market," said John Peters, vice president of engineering for performance technologies and chairman of the PICMG 2.16 subcommittee. "The specification's unique leveraging of existing standards such as CompactPCI, Ethernet and TCP/IP is sure to accelerate its market acceptance and allow for rapid deployment in the very near future."

The CompactPCI/PSB can support full 21-slot backplanes, multiple enclosures forming large "virtual" backplanes, full backplane redundancy down to the slot level, scalable bit rate (10/100/1000/2000Mbit) per slot, selectable chassis bandwidths of between 200-Mbit and 40-Gbit, link layer flow control, QoS/CoS support, a concise pinout (20 pins) per slot, and many other advanced features.

The specification was approved by the PICMG Executive membership earlier in September and is now being shipped to members in good standing. The specification is also available to nonmembers for a nominal fee from the PICMG Web site: www.picmg.org. A list of the companies that participated in the technical subcommittee is included in the specification.

Founded in 1994, PICMG is a consortium of more than 700 companies that collaboratively develops open specifications for high-performance telecommunications and industrial computing applications.

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