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Feb 06, 2017

CompactPCI Serial Mesh Architecture

PICMG CPCI-S.0 – CompactPCI Serial – supports a full mesh architecture for Ethernet. A full mesh is a connection using a backplane wiring pattern where each slot has a dedicated connection to all other slots. CompactPCI Serial supports a system slot and 8 peripheral slots. Each of these 9 slots is connected with each of the other 8 slots via the backplane.

Ethernet has established itself as the interface for systems containing several computers. In CompactPCI Serial systems it is possible to use a system slot CPU as a peripheral board, which makes building modular systems very easy. All CPU boards intercommunicate via Ethernet. As these are point-to-point connections, no switch board is needed and no infrastructure or special configuration is needed either.

CompactPCI Serial supports copper-based Ethernet standards (10, 100, 1000, 1G, 10GBaseT). These standards offer important advantages compared to special Ethernet backplane standards:

  • interoperability through auto negotiation even at different speeds
  • support of standard Ethernet chips
  • Ethernet controllers already partly included in the chipset
  • extremely robust and fault tolerant
  • no retroaction of the boards in case of a failure due to inductive or capacitive coupling
  • easy extensibility with more than 9 slots even between module carriers
  • standard Ethernet switches can be used optionally

One drawback is the higher number of lines - 4 line pairs per connection compared to 2 in the Ethernet backplane standard 1000BASE-BX. Only 1 Gb/s are supported by this standard though. As much as 8 line pairs are needed for 10GBASE-BX4 - autonegotiation poses problems. BaseT is the future technology here, as it is simpler.

Does this mean that each CompactPCI Serial board has to be equipped with 8 Ethernet channels? Not at all! Ethernet on the backplane is an option. Even with only one channel, communication with a second, identical board is possible. If there are two channels, a full mesh with 3 CPU boards is possible, with 3 channels 4 boards can be interconnected etc. The backplane wiring is chosen in such a way that the CPU boards are completely wired, even with fewer interfaces, if they are plugged directly next to each other.

CompactPCI Serial enables easy and cost-efficient multiprocessing based on Ethernet communication. Switch boards are not required in systems with up to 9 slots. Interoperability and future-safety are guaranteed by choosing the 100…10GBaseT standard.

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