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The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

October 2008

www.rtcmagazine.com

SMALL FORM FACTORS SPAWN MORE INNOVATIONS

Serial RapidIO 2.0 Switching Boosts Applications Locking Down Security on Network Devices PCI Express Switching—The Next Generation An RTC Group Publication


SMALL FORM FACTORS SPAWN MORE INNOVATIONS

The nanoETXexpress form factor is yet another of the proliferating innovations in the arena of small form factors. See related article in this issue.

42 Low-Power PMC Supports Dual Graphics Heads for Harsh Environments

43 SATA Solid-State Drive Family Meets MIL-STD-810F

TABLEOF CONTENTS

45 DC/DC Converters Provide Brown-Out Protection

OCTOBER 2008

Departments

Technology in Context

System Integration

Rugged Applications

Small Form Factor Update

Aspects of VPX and 5Editorial 10 Mechanical I/O in Search of Identity VPX-REDI Enhance Functionality and Ruggedness Industry Insider 6Latest Developments in the Embedded Marketplace

Ivan Straznicky, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing

Solutions Engineering

8 I/O Technology and Subsystems Switches: The & Technology 14 Intelligent Next-Generation PCI Express 41Products Newest Embedded Technology Used by Interconnect Industry Leaders Small Form Factor Forum Ruggedness: Have It Your Way, Please

56

Miguel Rodriguez, PLX Technology

News, Views & Comment A Deafening Crash

Industry Insight RapidIO

RapidIO 2.0 Switching Offers Enhanced Application 18 Serial Benefits Tom Cox, RapidIO Trade Association

Small Form Factor Interconnect Spec Supports Intel’s 22New Atom and VIA’s Nano Colin McCracken and David Fitzgerald, Small Form Factor SIG

Paves the Way for 28nanoETXepress Ultra-Small, Ultra-Portable FistHeld Applications Christine Van De Graaf, Kontron

Industry Watch Network Device Security

A PC - Avoiding Problems When Securing Embedded Devices 34Not Monique Semp and Kurt Stammberger, Mocana

Featured Products

Computer-on-Modules with 45nm Intel processors 40ETXepress

Digital Subscriptions Avaliable at http://rtcmagazine.com/home/subscribe.php

October 2008

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October 2008 Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, johnr@r tcgroup.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Warren Andrews, warrena@r tcgroup.com

Editorial EDITOR-IN - CHIEF Tom Williams, tomw@r tcgroup.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Colin McCracken and Paul Rosenfeld, sf3@r tcgroup.com MANAGING EDITOR Marina Tringali, marinat@r tcgroup.com COPY EDITOR Rochelle Cohn

Art/Production CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jason Van Dorn, jasonv@r tcgroup.com ART DIRECTOR Kirsten Wyatt, kirstenw@r tcgroup.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Christopher Saucier, chriss@r tcgroup.com DIRECTOR OF WEB DEVELOPMENT Marke Hallowell, markeh@r tcgroup.com WEB DEVELOPER James Wagner, jamesw@r tcgroup.com

Advertising/Web Advertising Western Regional sales Manager Stacy Gandre, stacyg@r tcgroup.com (949) 226 -2024 Western Regional sales Manager Lauren Trudeau, laurent@r tcgroup.com (949) 226 -2014 Eastern Regional sales Manager Shandi Ricciotti, shandir@r tcgroup.com (949) 573 -7660

Billing Maggie McAuley, maggiem@r tcgroup.com (949) 226 -2024

To Contact RTC magazine: HOME OFFICE The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050, www.rtcgroup.com EASTERN SALES OFFICE The RTC Group, 96 Dudley Road, Sudbury, MA 01776 Phone: (978) 443-2402 Fax: (978) 443-4844 Editorial Office Warren Andrews, Editorial Director/Associate Publisher 39 Southport Cove, Bonita, FL 34134 Phone: (239) 992-4537 Fax: (239) 992-2396 Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief 245-M Mt. Hermon Rd., PMB#F, Scotts Valley, CA 95066 Phone: (831) 335-1509 Fax: (408) 904-7214 Published by The RTC Group Copyright 2008, The RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of The RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders.

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OCTOBER 2008

EDITORIAL

I/O in Search of Identity by Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief

W

e have remarked several times on the burgeoning number and variety of small form factor CPU boards that have appeared in recent months. The beginning of this phenomenon started with COM Express, which distinguished itself from other designs that essentially represented ever smaller miniaturized motherboards. The distinguishing factor was that the COM board separates the core computing engine from application-specific features, especially the I/O. Since many of the latest processors include some pretty good graphics engines, this means the processor, chipset and memory and storage can be kept on one module while the developer concentrates on the value-added aspects of the application. Well, it is certainly an idea that has caught on. With the arrival of computationally powerful but low power consuming processors such as those from VIA and the Intel Atom family, a wide variety of computer-on-module (COM) form factors has been springing up like mushrooms in a damp basement. While they are all touting their compact size, it does not appear that the exact small size and shape differences among them are the true distinguishing factors. There are, of course, the Express104 and the PCI/104 Express specifications that conform to the PC/104 board dimensions in order to build on the legacy of that venerable form factor, but other sizes and shapes also abound. The real differentiation between many of these designs seems to be among the connectors that mate the COM module to the underlying carrier board and the signals these connectors support. On the surface, the idea of COM Express was pretty straightforward: Use a standard connector as a gateway between the general-purpose compute engine, which could be designed to a range of cost/performance points. Even different processor architectures could be used as long as they supported the standard signal set. Then a family of products could be designed by concentrating on the underlying application-specific carrier board. Ah, but which signals? Gee there sure are a lot of them to choose from. And geniuses out there are coming up with new and faster interfaces all the time. The idea is to optimize the design of the carrier board in terms of size, cost and power consump-

tion. Often these considerations will be modified by the expected volume. There are now even some generic varieties of carrier cards coming on the market that target different application areas and which can be attractive for lower volume designs. But that’s another matter. Right now, we have a number of supported signal sets among which are Qseven, CoreExpress, naonoETXexpress, SUMIT and now COMIT—the latter two from the Small Form Factor SIG (see the related article on COMIT in this issue of RTC). This should actually not be too surprising given the vast number of differing requirements for embedded applications. What do you do, for example, if your application requires a DisplayPort interface as opposed to HDMI along with a number of digital I/O control signals and x16 PCI Express? Now, I confess I have not read all these specs in detail and do not know off the top of my head whether that specific combination is actually available. The point is that these signal/connector designs cannot be truly all things to all needs and there will necessarily be limits, and tradeoff decisions will be called for. I’m sure that there will be many instances where a developer will decide to take the COM approach for various reasons and then start looking at which connector/signal set meets the application’s needs. The selection of a form factor may very well be dictated by what is available, and with that also the processor choices that are supported by the required I/O demands. This is not such a bad thing because the vast majority of COM designs so far are oriented on the latest generation of low-power processors and the selection is bound to increase. Right now, COM vendors are searching for the right combination of signals on robust connectors with enough pins reserved for additional signals to fit the spread of embedded application design requirements. It would not be surprising to eventually see the same vendor offering a selection of different form factors to meet the “one stop shopping” experience. We have to remember that we are still at the beginning of this explosion of innovation in small form factor modules. Expect to see—when the dust clears—a very interesting and compelling array of powerful and economical choices. October 2008

5


IndustryInsider OCTOBER 2008

New Industry Alliance Promotes Use of IP in Networks of “Smart Objects” A group of technology vendors and users have formed the IP for Smart Objects (IPSO) Alliance, whose goal is promoting the Internet Protocol (IP) as the networking technology best suited for connecting sensor- and actuator-equipped or “smart” objects, and delivering information gathered by those objects. Smart objects are objects in the physical world that—typically with the help of embedded devices—transmit information about their condition or environment (e.g., temperature, light, motion, health status) to locations where the information can be analyzed, correlated with other data and acted upon. Applications range from automated and energy-efficient homes and office buildings, factory equipment maintenance and asset tracking to hospital patient monitoring and safety and compliance assurance. Intended to complement the efforts of entities such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the IEEE, which develop and ratify technical standards in the Internet community, the IPSO Alliance will perform interoperability tests, document the use of new IP-based technologies, conduct marketing activities and serve as an information repository for users seeking to understand the role of IP in networks of physical objects. The Alliance seeks to advocate how networks of objects of all types have the potential to be converged onto IP. Founding members of the IPSO Alliance are Arch Rock, Atmel, Cimetrics, Cisco, Duke Energy, Dust Networks, eka systems, EDF (Électricité de France) R&D, Emerson, Freescale, IP Infusion, Jennic, Kinney Consulting, Nivis, PicosNet, Proto6, ROAM, SAP, Sensinode, SICS, Silver Spring Networks, Sun Microsystems, University of Tampere, Watteco and Zensys.

xploration your goal ak directly page, the esource. nology, nd products

enables the usage of lower-cost magnetics, owing to its patented voltage-mode line driver Saving Solutions ation into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest technology. The SparX series Based on its recent analyation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you of Gigabit Ethernet switches is of the type Ethernet integrated e you requiresis for whatever of technology, a line of unmanaged and smart circuits (ICs) market, Frost & s and products you are searching for. Web-managed switches that Sullivan has recognized Vicost-effectively eliminate the tesse Semiconductor with the need for external processing and 2008 Global Frost & Sullivan memory found in fully managed Green Excellence of the Year switches. Lastly, Vitesse’s GAward. Vitesse’s development RocX devices, a family of lowof the EcoEthernet solutions is power Gigabit Ethernet Router a significant first step toward systems-on-chips (SoCs), are reducing worldwide network an ideal solution for next-genswitching power consumption. eration residential and small  Vitesse’s Ethernet IC prodand medium enterprises (SME) uct families include the Simpgateways. liPHY Gigabit Ethernet Copper   ActiPHY helps save power PHY devices, which contain Gettiming Connected by detecting inactive Ethernet innovative recovery and with companies mentioned in this article. ports on network devices and auadaptivewww.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected equalization algotomatically powering them down rithms that increase cable noise or placing them in sleep mode. tolerance levels. SimpliPHY

Vitesse Semiconductor

Wins Awardnow for Energyanies providing solutions

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6

October 2008

A built-in programmable sleep timer occasionally checks for the presence of link pulses so that it can immediately restore the active mode of operation. The IEEE802.3 Ethernet specification does not stipulate a standby power mode when a link is not established. However, the compatible ActiPHY implementation can reduce port power consumption by more than 400 mW.

Samsung and Alereon Introduce Wireless USB Solutions for Digital Cameras

Samsung’s Techwin digital camera operation, and Alereon, a supplier of Certified Wireless USB technology for Ultra Wideband (UWB) WiMedia solutions, have announced NaBee, a wireless connectivity solution for Samsung digital still cameras powered by Alereon’s AL5000

Worldwide Wireless USB Chipset. Leveraging Alereon’s second-generation products, the new Samsung solution is an easy and convenient way to wirelessly connect a digital camera to a PC. Samsung’s NaBee allows for simple, high-speed wireless communication between a digital still camera and PC. Plug the miniature dongle into the camera USB connector, and its matching dongle into the PC and it connects just like a standard USB cable. NaBee will be available from all major catalog and online resellers, as well as selected retail outlets in December 2008. Samsung selected Alereon following rigorous examination of available Certified Wireless USB products. Alereon was chosen based on worldwide compatibility, performance, cost, ease of integration and expertise in the UWB and Wireless USB space. Paramount to Alereon’s and Samsung’s differentiation is the ability to provide NaBee to customers worldwide. The Alereon AL5000 Chipset family transmits and receives WiMedia band groups one through six, which span frequencies of 3.1 to 10.6 GHz respectively. Unlike competitive band group one or band group three solutions, which may offer as little as a single channel in non-US applications, Alereon provides consumers in Europe, Japan, Korea, China and New Zealand with as many as 19 additional channels.

ConnectBlue in Partnership to Enhance Wireless Technologies for Industrial Use

ConnectBlue has partnered with the Research Unit for Integrated Sensor Systems of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, committing itself to a three-year project with the aim of making wireless technologies even better suitable for industrial needs than


Industry Insider and software storage solutions. cable adapter (HIB4) installs in onstration and Interoperability today by developing needed inThe agreement also opens the the motherboard of any system. (REDI) Lab, is available 24/7 frastructure for wireless automadoor for closer collaboration of In addition, the board incorpoand accessed via a dedicated, tion on the factory floor. sales and marketing efforts to rates interface logic that consecure broadband connection. Besides enhancing the existenhance solution and techninects to the LeCroy acquisition Physically located at company ing industrial infrastructure for cal support for joint customer system. This product package headquarters in Hillsboro, Orwireless integration, the goal of engagements. showcases One Stop Systems’ egon, the customized lab is outthe project called flexWare for This agreement continability to customize its proprifitted with the RadiSys Promen“Flexible Wireless Automation ues the strong partnership the etary PCI Express hardware tum ATCA application-ready in Real-Time Environments,” is two companies began in 2007, and software technology to fit a platform loaded with the latest to extend existing technologies to with the signing of a strategic multitude of specific customer hardware and software. better comply with the tough retechnology agreement that led requirements. In this case, the The REDI Lab has already quirements of industrial use such to the development of the first customer required customizacut dramatically—from several as real-time performance, robustfully integrated AdvancedTCA tion of a board product and its weeks to hours—the time that ness and failure protection. bladed server-storage solution software component. As a result, RadiSys and its partners previOnce the flexWare project is that provided NetworkandEquipthe LeCroy scope can be the exously dedicated to initial upcompleted, it will be possible to Get Connected with technology solutions(NEPs) now a proven ment Providers tension of another PC or multiple front testing and self-validation, operate and control entirecompanies facto- providing edge-level contentfordelivery soluPCs, exchanging data across the as well as preparing for and conries using wireless networks. A Get Connected is a new resource further exploration intofor products, companies. Whether your tion. Theandreseller agreement an-goal PCIe cable. ducting sales demonstrations. fundamental requirement this technologies is to research the latest datasheettoday from aenables company, telecom, speak directly nounced One Stop Systems’ ExThe high-resolution webcam, for completion is a reliable, credible with an Application Engineer,military or jump to aand company's page, the pressNet software suite allows video technical surveillance instance, enables RadiSys partand synchronized communicagoal an of Get to put you in touch with the right resource. manufacturers to direct data transfers as well as ners to observe platform activtion. Therefore, aimConnected of the isequipment Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, have a reliable source worldwide TCP/IP transfers between mulity, in real time, during software project is also to close possibly Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products for a fully tested and supported tiple processors. The software integration and self-validation existing technological gaps beyou are searching for. integrated open platform that drivers initialize memory adsessions as well as perform retween industry automation and www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected offers the high performance redress translation registers in the mote demos to showcase prodwireless technology. quired for IPTV, VoD and other non-transparent bridge compouct features to their customers. The project is conceived for media-rich content delivery nents that allow data to be transAnother significant benefit three years. Project partners of system applications. ferred from one CPU’s memory of the REDI Lab is that it gives the Research Unit for Integrated to another. With TCP/IP added, Telecom Equipment ManufacSensor Systems of the Austrian the interface is identical to a turers (TEMS) the assurance Academy of Sciences are comOne Stop Systems, Get Connected with technology and companies providing solutions now normal Ethernet port, except that initial validation has alprised of research institutes as LeCroy Partner for PCI Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether ready your goalbeen is to research the latest much faster. In addition to driver performed so that well as industrial Get companies: Express Connectivity to datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you support, ExpressNet software their engineering teams won’t Institut Industrial IT (inlIT) in touch with the right Oscilloscope  resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, handles hot-swapfor. events and be starting from ground zero. (Germany), Institut Automa-will help you connect with the companies and products Getfür Connected you are searching One Stop Systems has another networking functions. Unlike industry-wide plug tisierung und Kommunikation www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected nounced a strategic partnership   fests held twice annually, durAutomation and Communication with LeCroy to bring high-speed ing which vendors test their e.V. (ifak) Magdeburg (Germany), PCI Express (PCIe) connectivity RadiSys Launches solutions against a common connectBlue AB (Sweden), Oregto LeCroy’s WavePro 7 Zi series implementation, the REDI Lab ano Systems Design and ConAdvancedTCA Remote oscilloscope. One Stop Systems affords partners quick, efficient, sulting (Austria), University of Demo and Test Facility designed and manufactured a “first-look” interoperability Catania (Italy), Schneider ElecRadiSys has announced custom PCIe x4 cable adapter testing and validation of their tric Industries SAS (France) and that it has launched the induscoupled with its ExpressNet specific configurations for a rt-solutions.de GmbH (Germany). try’s first lab for use by global technology that allows the new specific customer. ecosystem partners and customWavePro 7 Zi oscilloscope to ers so that they may remotely transfer data up to 10 to 20 times Kontron and Astute perform initial validation, testfaster than any other oscilloNetworks to Provide ing and demonstrations of their scope on the market. The comGet Connected with companies and Get Connected Integrated ATCA Server/ unique solutions on RadiSys panies’ combined technologies products featured in this section. with companies mentioned in this article. Storage Solutions AdvancedTCA (ATCA) sysprovide design engineers with a www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Kontron and Astute Nettems. The new facility, dubbed complete debug solution. works have announced the comthe RadiSys Ecosystem DemThe One Stop Systems capanies have signed a multi-year, ble adapter installs in the interworldwide reseller agreement nal motherboard in the LeCroy enabling Kontron to sell Astute Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. scope the same way the OSS host www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Networks’ full line with of hardware Get Connected companies and products featured in this section.

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October 2008

7


SMALL FORM FACTOR FORUM

Ruggedness: Have It Your Way, Please

M

any small form factor boards are described as “rugged.” Manufacturers use the word to differentiate their boards from commercial and desktop motherboards. While “rugged” is bandied about, it means vastly different things to different people. So, if you’re looking for a “rugged” SFF board, there are a few more things you need to understand. The “ruggedness scale” includes two major factors inherent in the design of the product: operating temperature and resistance to shock and vibration. Commercial boards typically specify an operating temperature range of 0° to 50°C. These products are pretty safe when used in an office-type environment. Rugged products extend the operating temperature to 60°, 70° or even 85°C on the high end and may extend the low end to -20°C or -40°C. There are legitimate design differences between products that contribute substantially to achieving a more rugged board. Many of these boards use the same processor and chipset combination. Until recently, virtually all processors and chipsets used on embedded x86 boards were specified by the chip manufacturer at 0° to 70°C. And since a board is only as rugged as its least rugged component, how do you get a -40° to +85°C board? The answer is that each of the manufacturers offering extended operating temperatures is willing to take a gamble, and they may or may not use clever design techniques and sophisticated testing to improve their odds that the board will work over extended temperature. What this means is that you, too, are taking a gamble. Because if you really require a board to operate consistently at the ends of the temperature spectrum (85°C, for example), you’re betting that you won’t have to bring your product back on a recall to replace the CPU board during the warranty period. Some manufacturers design as best they can for extended temperature operation, test a small sample of boards during the design verification stage, and declare their product to meet an extended temperature range. Other manufacturers test each and every board manufactured at the extended temperature range for some period of time. Even fewer do accelerated life testing or temperature cycling to determine the true limits of board operation. Each additional step reduces the odds of failure for them and for you. But each also raises the cost. It is important that you understand the complete process that a supplier goes through to qualify and production-screen an extended temperature board.

8

October 2008

The second major factor of ruggedness is resistance to shock and vibration. For many mobile or military applications, there are specific Mil-Spec specifications that must be met. Outstanding resistance to shock and vibration is achieved by a combination of design and manufacturing techniques. From the design side it is important to eliminate socketed parts such as memory modules and the BIOS flash. Some boards even socket the processor to provide flexibility in manufacturing and reduce inventory requirements. Problems with socketed parts can be reduced via straps or hold-down plates. But even if the parts don’t fly off the board, intermittents can occur as the device or module vibrates in the socket if lower quality sockets are used. Another frequent source of problems with shock and vibration is the thermal solution. Some heat sinks attach only with adhesive, making them prone to fly off the board under severe shock or vibration. Look for heat sinks that physically attach to the board using some hold-down mechanism. An additional source of ruggedness is resistance to moisture, humidity and dust, which is frequently achieved by conformally coating the board with a polymer-type substance. While this can be done to virtually any board, it’s also easy to get into trouble here. With the shift to lead-free manufacturing processes, it has been found that with no-clean processes the coating does not adhere as well and can peel off. It is important that you understand the process used to build your board and how that process interacts with conformal coating substances. In addition, conformal coating can interfere with the board’s thermal solution or memory module if not done properly and can raise the operating temperature of the board by interfering with heat dissipation. Some board vendors void their warranties if a board is conformally coated. If ruggedness is important to your application, don’t be afraid to pay a little extra to a supplier that understands these issues and can explain to you thoroughly the steps taken to ensure that you are not buying your way into a big problem with systems in the field.

Colin McCracken

&s f Paul Rosenfeld 3@r tcgroup.com


GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms

Here comes the future, all engines full throttle. VPX is revolutionizing the world of rugged COTS computing. VPX systems are transforming rugged mil/aero applications by delivering blazing performance in the harshest environments. VPX embraces a wide variety of serial fabrics such as PCI Express® and SRIO, which makes it the platform of choice for the most demanding applications. VPX also excels in the most extreme rugged applications thanks to the VITA 48/REDI specification. VPX is ideal for sophisticated, real time applications that take advantage of the latest 2D and 3D graphics, video processing, sensor processing and high speed data communications. Think radar and sonar. Think simulation.

Think satellite links. Think digital mapping. Think vehicle displays. And think GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms. As a VITA member and contributor to the development of VPX technology, we have an intimate understanding of this new architecture. And as a proven supplier of rugged components and systems, we have the hardware, software and experience to deliver on the promise of VPX.

SBC320 Intel® Core™ 2 Duo, two 4-lane PCI Express ports

For more information on this revolutionary technology and our VPX product offerings please visit out web site at www.gefanucdefense.com

© 2008 GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, Inc. All rights reserved. All other brands or names are property of their respective holders.


Technology In Context

Rugged Applications

Mechanical Aspects of VPX and VPX-REDI Enhance Functionality and Ruggedness The VPX standard brings not only enhanced and denser modern I/O, but also improvements for cooling that enable more functionality and robust ruggedization. by Ivan Straznicky Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing

R

ecent design wins involving VPX (VITA 46/48) single board computers and VPX Gigabit Ethernet Switch engines, particularly for the military’s high-profile Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, illustrate the rapid rate of adoption and success that the new VPX standard has experienced in the short couple of years since the first products were made available. VPX, in some ways the “next-generation” VME board architecture, was, like VME, defined and standardized by the VITA Standards Organization (VSO). It leverages much of the goodness of the venerable VME standard, such as the 6U form factor and support for the VME electrical specification for backward compatibility, while adding significantly greater bandwidth, ruggedization and ESD protection, among other enhancements. VPX is well on its way to establishing itself as VME for the 21st Century for high-end aerospace and defense applications. To appreciate the attributes of VPX and VPX-REDI, the complementary standard defined by VITA-48, it is important to understand the mechanical aspects at the plug-in module level, in addition to the electrical characteristics. One of the reasons that VPX is becoming popular so quickly is that it is both revolutionary and

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October 2008

Liquid In

Liquid Out

Figure 1

Among the VPX standards, support for advanced cooling methodologies is support for Liquid Flow-Through (LFT) cooling, in which liquid is brought in from the chassis through quick disconnect (QD) connectors, routed across the module to provide highly efficient cooling, and exits the module through another QD connector.

evolutionary. It is revolutionary in that it provides a vast amount of high-speed differential I/O for new serial fabrics such as Serial RapidIO, PCI Express and 1/10Gbit Ethernet, as well as high-speed I/O interfaces for video, storage and sensor capa-

bilities. And it is evolutionary because it maintains support for the VME databus providing compatibility with legacy boards. From a mechanical perspective, VPX and VPX-REDI also maintain support for the standard 6U and 3U form factors long preferred by the military for rugged applications and support for both PMC and the newer XMC mezzanine cards. 6U VPX modules offer an optimal balance between functional density and ruggedness, while 3U VPX offers the advantage of compactness for space-constrained applications. The 3U VPX form factor also delivers a significant amount of I/O for a small card, essentially dedicating the entire P2 connector location to I/O. One of the key mechanical attributes of VPX and VPX-REDI is the introduction of a high-speed connector. This new connector, the 7-row version of the Tyco MultiGig RT2, has been modified specifically for VPX, with changes such as a shortened length to fit onto typical conduction cards, and a thicker gold contact plating for better harsh environment resistance. The new connector set also includes hardware that provides safety grounding in addition to alignment and keying (Figure 1). The same connectors and alignment hardware are used in both 6U VPX and 3U VPX form factors along with PMC and XMC support.


Technology In Context

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Untitled-7 1

October 2008

10/9/08 10:11:53 AM

The two mating halves of the VPX connector are quite different from traditional pin-in-socket connectors. The backplane connector (Figure 2) houses an array of two-pronged contacts for each signal and is press fit into backplane printed wiring boards (PWBs). The daughtercard connector uses mini-PCBs in a housing in order to get good high-speed performance. A side benefit of this design is that there are no metal pins to bend or break. The PCB wafers themselves come in three styles for power, differential or singleended signal needs, and each has built-in ESD protection.

quired of a rugged, deployed military application. The connector passed all of the qualification tests, notably random vibration, salt fog, dust & vibration and ESD. Other testing that has been successfully passed by the connector on representative cards includes customer-specific vibration tests and product qualification tests run by board vendors such as Curtiss-Wright. As a result of this successful testing, customers are confident in VPX modules and the types of cards now being released that span the range from rugged air-cooled 6U cards to ultra-rugged conduction-cooled 3U cards. VPX’s companion mechanical standard, called VPX-REDI, represents a group of specifications written to substantially improve functional density on VPX cards (Figure 3). To that end, VPX-REDI introduces two new pitches, a 0.85 and 1-inch pitch. VPXREDI’s 1-inch pitch increases useable area and volume, Figure 2 The VPX standard defines an option to use optical which allows for a connectors in specified locations (P6, P5). doubling of backside height for such funcThe VPX standard also has a provision tional increases as PWB thickness and the to populate certain board locations with use of taller components. It also allows optical or RF connectors for even greater for a cover for line replaceable modules signaling speeds, as well as the other ad- (LRMs). The top side height increase can vantages that optical and RF technologies be used for both taller and/or thicker cooldeliver. The standard defines that connec- ing components and for covers. In additors in the P5 and P6 locations (at the bot- tion, the 1-inch pitch frees up 5-6 square tom end of the 6U connector stack) can be inches of real estate previously off limits substituted by optical and RF connectors. due to PMC I/O keep-outs. VPX has undergone arguably the VPX-REDI enables a variety of most extensive harsh environment testing improvements. Beginning with airever given to a COTS standard connec- cooling, the additional topside height tor, and the RT2 connector has more than of the 1-inch pitch means that taller proven itself. Several rounds of testing heat sink fins can be used, which subhave been performed in the last few years, stantially increases heat transfer cothe most extensive of which was the VITA efficients. For conduction-cooling, 46 testing conducted in 2005. thicker metal can be used to reduce That testing used a 6U conduction conduction thermal resistance, and the test vehicle to represent the worst dy- option of a secondary side retainer renamic case for the connector, and the en- duces the length of the conduction heat vironments tested were those typically re- path, both of which result in higher al-


Technology In Context

6U Conduction LRM, 0.85” Pitch

MEN Micro’s XM1 ESMexpress® System-On-Module

3U Conduction LRM, 0.85” Pitch

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6U Air Cooled Module, 1” Pitch

Figure 3

6U Liquid Flow Through LRM, 0.85” Pitch

VPX-REDI introduces two new pitches: 0.85 and 1-inch pitch. VPX-REDI’s 1-inch pitch increases useable area/volume for a doubling of backside height and support for metal cover for line replaceable modules (LRMs).

lowable power on the module and/or lower device temperatures. VPX-REDI also introduces standardized liquid flow-through (LFT) cooling, which has been used successfully for years to cool very high power electronics on military platforms. The liquid is brought in from the chassis through quick disconnect (QD) connectors, routed across the module to provide highly efficient cooling, and exits the module through another QD connector. VPX-REDI also introduces air flow through cooling, which is similar to LFT in that it flows a coolant across channels above the electronics, but uses air instead of liquid. All these improvements increase functional density. Using power as a rough measure of functionality, Curtiss-Wright has been able to develop cards with over 160W of power, and cool them at the extreme conditions of 71°C inlet air or 85°C card edge for air- and conduction-cooling, respectively. These milestones represent an increase of over 50% compared to previous generations of these products. Even more impressive is the future that liquid flow-through cooling promises. In cooperation with Parker-Hannifin, Curtiss-Wright has developed a 6U LFT prototype that has been tested to over 650W with 55°C inlet PAO coolant. Another prominent feature of VPXREDI is its standardization of LRMs. LRMs enable the Two Level Maintenance

(2LM) objectives that are being advanced by the armed forces for substantial cost savings and logistics improvements. Implementation of an LRM involves a number of factors, starting with placing covers over the electronics to protect against handling or ESD damage. Safety grounds also need to be added to prevent electrical shocks from reaching maintenance personnel, and the connector itself needs to protect the electronics from ESD pulses. This is done on the VPX connector through leading-edge ground strips that conduct electrostatic discharges away from sensitive signal contacts. Testing of this approach shows discharges as high as 15 kV resulting in very low signal voltages, on the order of a volt. VPX and VPX-REDI bring more than just a lot of high-speed I/O to the table. The space and cooling improvements result in much higher functional density, and the standardization of LRMs for 2LM fills a big gap for COTS modules. COTS board vendors and customers alike are taking notice and developing and fielding VPX products to greatly increase performance of rugged military systems.

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solutions engineering

ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

I/O Technology and Subsystems

Intelligent Switches: The Next-Generation PCI Express Interconnect The latest generation of PCIe switches available improves not only the device performance with 5.0 GTransfers/s signaling and low latency, but also overall system performance.

by M  iguel Rodriguez PLX Technology

P

CI Express (PCIe) continues to be the interconnect of choice for high-performance embedded apPCIe PCIe plications. The need for increased perDual GigE FC formance in a system results in an increase in the number of controllers used and, ultimately, in a direct increase in the number of PCIe lanes needed for interPCIe Switch connecting these high-performance controllers. Processors and chipsets have a finite number nies providing solutions nowof lanes, and the need for RC a PCIe switchand becomes A goal PCIe ion into products, technologies companies.obvious. Whether your is to research the latest ation Engineer, or jump toprovides a company'sfan-out technical page, the goal of by Get Connected is to put you switch capability RC you require for whatever type of technology, providing additional downstream ports and products you are searching for. for PCIe endpoints and an upstream port Figure 1 Poor read request policies as the path to the processor/chipset. The can result in unbalanced controllers used in these systems comthroughput to endpoints due to too many read mand aggressive data streaming requirerequests issued by one of ments to and from system memory and as the endpoints (here, the a result, high-performance PCIe switches FC) negatively affecting the with built-in features for monitoring and bandwidth of the other. regulating bandwidth are required. Even with PCIe Gen2 and its 5 GTransfers/s throughput, systems can hibiting obstructions. Fortunately, a new experience a number of performance-in- generation of PCIe Gen2 switches is on the market that can help system designers Get Connected overcome these problems.

End of Article

with companies mentioned in this article. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

14

October 2008 Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

PCIe Controllers Determine Server Interconnect

In a high-performance server there are PCIe-based controllers with interfaces such as Fibre Channel (FC), InfiniBand (IB) and Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) at either one or ten gigabits per second, connecting to storage and networking elements. These controllers attempt to transfer data as fast as they can without consideration of other system components. It is very unlikely for a single endpoint to experience performance limitations behind a PCIe switch as long as the ports in both the switch and the endpoint match in terms of number of lanes and speed. However, it is highly likely that a combination of these PCIe controllers will be connected to a system—several of them behind a PCIe switch. In a case where two or more endpoints are connected to a processor/chipset through a PCIe switch, the upstream port link-width is wider than that of the downstream ports. This common PCIe switch configuration results in unbalanced upstream versus downstream link-widths. Throughput in the upstream direction is


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SOLUTIONS Engineering

not likely affected. On the other hand, throughput in the downstream direction can be negatively affected as a result of the unbalanced port widths. This is particularly true when the number of read requests initiated by the endpoints is

other chip vendors). When Read Pacing is enabled, the PCIe switch throttles the rate in which the read requests are forwarded to the processor/chipset. That is, the PCIe switch does not forward the read requests in a blind fashion up to the processor/chipset. The intelligence in the PCIe switch determines the bandwidth capabilities of the endpoint, which in turn determine the rate at which the read requests are allowed to be forwarded up to the processor/chipset. In this manner, the completion bandwidth does not Figure 2 A software tool can be used to examine the exceed that of the endtraffic and fine-tune the buffer allocation for point. As a result, only individual switch ports. the amount of read requests required to fulfill weighted in favor of one of them; one end- the endpoint’s bandwidth capabilities are point inevitably dominates the bandwidth forwarded to the processor/chipset. The and ultimately the queue resources of the remaining read requests from the endprocessor/chipset. Consequently, the other point are queued inside the switch. endpoints suffer reduced bandwidth. Most PCIe switch architectures proThis phenomenon can make it ap- vide each port with a fixed amount of pear as if the system is congested and, buffer RAM to be used as credits for thus, not performing efficiently. Figure 1 each type of request (Posted, Non-Posted, illustrates a typical server with PCIe slots Completion). This implementation can respanning from a PCIe switch. GigE and sult in wasted resources for unused ports. Fibre Channel controllers are connected With the new dynamic buffer allocation to the slots. In this case, the Fibre Chan- scheme, known also as Dynamic Buffer nel controllers are the aggressive devices, Allocation and found in the latest Gen2 and as a result, the bandwidth to the GigE switches, the internal buffer RAM can be devices is affected. allocated and distributed among the availA read request packet, at a high level, able switch ports according to port width consists of a header without any payload and/or traffic flow requirements. associated with it. Instead, it has a request Given the high-performance endsize field, which tells the completer how points connected to a PCIe switch, it is much data it needs to return to the re- of interest to designers to “see” how the quester in the form of a completion. A typ- traffic flows inside the PCIe switch. Ofical PCIe switch will blindly forward the ten, this is of particular interest when the read requests received from the endpoints system is already deployed and the abilup to the processor/chipset on a first- ity to connect an external analyzer is not come-first-served basis, doing so without possible. The latest, most advanced Gen2 violating the flow-control mechanism in PCIe switches implement performance place. An endpoint capable of generating counters, which are updated on the fly many read requests can command large based on the transaction layer packets data completions, which in turn exhaust (TLPs) passing through a particular port. the available queue resources in the pro- These counters are accessible by software cessor/chipset. and accurately display the throughput and Read Pacing is a new feature imple- average TLP size, as well as the TLP type mented in Gen2 PCIe switches from PLX (Posted, Non-Posted, Completion). Figure (with other variations available from 2 shows an example where a software GUI

16

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SOLUTIONS Engineering

x4

} Assigned Buffers } Common Buffer Pool } Assigned Buffers x4

Figure 3

x2

x2

cess for data copy typically requires two separate transactions—one to the original destination and one to the copy destination. When enabled, the Dual Cast feature routes the original packet to the original destination and simultaneously sends a copy of the same packet to the copy destination. Address translation registers ensure that the packet is routed to the desired location on the copy port. A graphics display is another applica-

tion in which Dual Cast is highly useful. When enabled, the PCIe switch will transmit PCIe packets to two different destinations, such as displays. Generally, Dual Cast can be used in any application where data redundancy is required. PLX Technology San Jose, CA. (408) 774-9060. [www.plxtech.com].

Overview of the status of Dynamic Buffer Allocation for the various ports of a given switch.

is used to access the performance counters in the PCIe switch. The software GUI in Figure 2 is part of the PLX Software Development Kit.

PERFORMANCE

Optimizing Performance

The performance counters can be accessed and their information can be used to fine-tune the number of buffers allocated to each PCIe switch port, thus optimizing the performance for a particular application and/or traffic flow. As mentioned above, in a static buffer architecture, there is no difference in the number of buffers allocated for several devices connected with x1, x4 and x8 ports, which can ultimately result in a non-optimal configuration. An application example could include a PCIe switch with a number of Ethernet controllers behind it. Ethernet write commands result in PCIe reads from host memory, while Ethernet read commands result in PCIe writes to host memory. Figure 3 provides a high-level overview of the Buffer Pool in the switches. The Dynamic Buffer Allocation feature in this case can be assigned such that the non-posted credits can be maximized on the downstream ports and the completion credits can be maximized on the upstream port. An additional performance feature also found in the latest Gen2 PCIe switches is Dual Cast. As the name suggests, this feature enables the switch to deliver the same packet to two destinations: the original port and the copy port. Storage applications typically have a requirement for keeping at least one copy of the data being stored. This pro-

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4:28:41 PM


INDUSTRY INSIGHT

RapidIO

ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

Serial RapidIO 2.0 Switching Offers Enhanced Application Benefits The strength of Serial RapidIO lies in its efficient application-driven features and the breadth of its membership.

by T om Cox RapidIO Trade Association

T

To support this demand, the RapidIO he RapidIO Trade Association startTrade Association is unveiling a new teched eight years ago to evolve, support nology roadmap (Figure 1) with details and promote the RapidIO standard, about RapidIO Specification Rev. 2.0, and the only interconnect standard designed a preview of the development of Specifispecifically to meet the high-performance cation Rev. 3.0. While RapidIO Specificaneeds of the embedded market. Since tion Rev. 1.3 fully meets designers’ needs then, the standard has matured and is today, we expect to see a substantial deglobally deployed across the communicavelopment effort of silicon based on Spections, military/aerospace, storage and inification Rev. 2.0 as system needs edge dustrial markets. closer to 6.25 Gbits/s. Serial RapidIO conThe RapidIO ecosystem continues nies providing solutions now tinues to offer embedded fabric system to grow with new members including GE ion into products, technologies and companies. Whether yourDesign goal is to research the latest designers more compelling features with Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, HDL ation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you the approval of the RapidIO Specification House, Motorola, Nortel, RMI, Qualyou require for whatever type of technology, 2.0. With the RapidIO Specification 2.0, and Wintegra. From DSPs, Powand productscomm you are searching for. system designers are able to select link erPC processors, MIPS processors and rates from 1.25 Gbits/s up to 6.25 Gbits/s programmable processors, the RapidIO and port widths from x1 to x16, providproduct portfolio continues to expand. ing high granularity to select the port data Since January, more than two dozen Rarate best suited to individual applications. pidIO product announcements have made news. This growth is being driven by de- Beyond the physical layer enhancements mand from design engineers for RapidIO with RapidIO Specification 2.0 are an ardevices and software for current designs ray of higher level features designed to ofas well as for future projects with higher fer greater control over the switch fabric traffic flow than ever before. performance needs. Many embedded systems implement multiple interconnects on each board, and Get Connected over the backplane. For example, wirewith companies mentioned in this article. less baseband processing systems incorwww.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

End of Article

18

October 2008 Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

porate Ethernet, RapidIO interconnects and antenna interface interconnects such as CPRI and OBSAI. Servers incorporate multiple interconnects as well, including PCI Express, InfiniBand and Ethernet. Each interconnect is dedicated to a particular type of traffic. Boards that have multiple interconnects, as opposed to a single interconnect, have higher board complexity, use more power, use more components and more complex components, and create bridging and connector issues. Boards with multiple interconnects are designed because, until the RapidIO standard was defined, there was no fabric that could allow hardware and software engineers to deliver the quality of service required for the different traffic types on the board. RapidIO Specification 2.0 allows all types of traffic to be carried on one interconnect, resulting in substantially simpler boards, simpler components, less power and less cost. The RapidIO Specification 2.0 extends the hardware-based short- and medium-term flow control mechanisms of the RapidIO Specification 1.3 to include long-term and application level flow control mechanisms. The nine virtual chan-


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INDUSTRY Insight

nels (VCs) defined in RapidIO Specification 2.0 allow system designers to allocate bandwidth for particular traffic types, in essence turning each RapidIO link into up to nine independently managed traffic

streams. All of this was defined in a backward-compatible manner, allowing those who invested in RapidIO Specification 1.2 and 1.3 to leverage this investment with future devices.

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1 20Untitled-4 October 2008

9/26/08 10:47:04 AM

The RapidIO Specification 1.3 defines short- and medium-term flow control mechanisms at the physical and logical layer. The two short-term flow control mechanisms are receiver-based flow control and transmitter-based flow control performed at the physical layer of the RapidIO specification. In receiver-based flow control, the transmitter sends whatever it wants to and the receiver responds with a “retry” when a packet cannot be accepted due to resource limitations. In transmitter-based flow control, the transmitter understands how to manage the receiver’s buffers and only sends what the receiver can accept. Receiver-based flow control creates hysteresis to allow lower priority packets a chance to make progress. Transmitter-based flow control will optimize throughput on a link. The medium-term flow control mechanism defined in the RapidIO Specification 1.3 is the Type 7 Flow Control Packet, which implements a simple XON/XOFF flow control strategy. When a switch or endpoint determines that it is becoming congested, it can issue a flow control packet to temporarily turn off some, most, or all flows destined for it. The flow control packets can also be used to turn some, most, or all flows back on when a switch or endpoint determines that it can handle more traffic. The RapidIO Specification 2.0 defines long-term and application flow control mechanisms. Long-term flow control is defined as a backward-compatible extension to Type 9 Data Streaming packets, which enables simple XON/XOFF, ratebased, or credit-based flow control. These mechanisms allow system designers a fine degree of control on the amount of traffic each endpoint is injecting into the fabric, enabling not just congestion management but congestion avoidance. Application flow control is defined as an extension of the Type 7 flow control packet, which allows hardware-based management of the ownership of shared resources in a system. These shared resources could be anything from a Type 11 messaging packet mailbox, to a DMA engine, to ownership of a device’s registers, to ownership of a software process. The hardware and/or software management of Type 7 flow control packet ownership


INDUSTRY Insight

requests allows servers to implement efficient, simple approaches to application performance engineering. The last piece of the performance engineering story for RapidIO Specification 2.0 is the virtual channel. Virtual channels (VCs) provide the ability to aggregate traffic flows with similar characteristics, while segregating them from flows with different characteristics, and guaranteeing bandwidth to each flow. The comprehensive flow control mechanisms in RapidIO Specification 2.0 can be used to ensure that the traffic in each virtual channel meets its quality of service (QoS) requirements, without interfering with any other traffic type. Two modes of packet transmission are now available in conjunction with VCs: continuous transmission (CT) and reliable transmission (RT). RT operates just as earlier versions of the Serial RapidIO specification where packet transmission is lossless through the use of retransmission when a packet is unable to be received. CT is optimized to achieve low latency for traffic flows that can accommodate packet loss by not performing retransmissions. VC0 is a backward-compatible virtual channel provided in RapidIO Specification 2.0. VC0 supports all defined priorities and operates exclusively in RT mode. Higher VCs (1-8) are able to operate in either CT or RT mode allowing customers to optimize the method of transport for different types of data. For instance, where control plane traffic may require responses and the guaranteed delivery that RT provides, data plane traffic (such as from an audio stream) may benefit from the reduced latency of CT and may even suffer if retransmissions were performed. RapidIO Specification 2.0 defines standard registers for determining what VCs are supported by a component, and for bandwidth allocation. Customers can now control the percentage of a link’s bandwidth that a VC is guaranteed. This goes beyond the use of priority to differentiate traffic types through the switch fabric. Now a system designer has control over how multiple traffic types interact and can in effect insulate them from one another through bandwidth allocation. Latency-sensitive traffic such as streaming video can now be allocated a guar-

anteed portion of bandwidth throughout the switch fabric. This enables the system designer to ensure a high quality of experience for the consumer because a minimum level of performance can be guaranteed regardless of other traffic present in the switch fabric. Bandwidth allocation can benefit the wireless base station environment where much of the most important traffic in the fabric—the actual antenna data—may come in bursts of packets. Bandwidth reservation allows this intermittent traffic to have a guaranteed minimum bandwidth regardless of other traffic present in the fabric, resulting in lower latency and a minimum QoS for this critical data. When the antenna data is not present the bandwidth reserved is used by other traffic present in the fabric, proportional to their allocations, until another burst arrives at which time the bandwidth allocations adapt. Alternatively, continual streams of antenna data, latency-sensitive systolic processing data exchanges, and bursty but non-latency-sensitive control traffic can be incorporated into a single RapidIO Specification 2.0 link. Each traffic type can be given its own virtual channel, with guaranteed bandwidth, throughput and latency. This reduces the number of interconnects required to implement systems from three or four down to one. RapidIO Specification 2.0 fabrics simplify the implementation of systems that have multiple traffic flows with different performance requirements. Multiple control and data flows can be carried using a single, efficient, high-bandwidth fabric that guarantees QoS for each traffic flow and application. Implementing a single fabric requires fewer components, with fewer connections between them and systems that consume less power, are simpler to test and faster to market. The robust RapidIO Specification 2.0 fabric simplifies the implementation of complex systems, delivering an enhanced Quality of Experience for end users and for system implementers alike.

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9/16/08 4:55:29 PM


SYSTEM INTEGRATION

Small Form Factor Update

New Small Form Factor Interconnect Spec Supports Intel’s Atom and VIA’s Nano Given the specification diversity for COM modules, there is a need for a connector system that will combine the self-sufficiency of a single board computer with the flexibility of a COM module and ease the integration burden for developers. by C  olin McCracken and David Fitzgerald Small Form Factor SIG

A

s ETX and COM Express form factors prepare to penetrate the broader embedded systems market, a new wave of tiny Atom-oriented COMs (computer-on-modules) tries to take the beach. However, an apparent obsession with achieving the smallest module sizes leaves system OEMs once again facing most of the same carrier board design problems as their predecessors. Rather than allowing that burden to be passed to system designers unchecked, the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFFSIG) introduces a simpler approach To date, there are numerous specifications for COM-type modules that define various expansion buses, connectors and module form factor/sizes serving many diverse markets. This targeted market approach and specification diversity is also the “Achilles’ heel” of broad acceptance for virtually all specifications published so far—certainly those that do not bring in large scale design wins (10-100K units annually). COMs offer interchangeability of modules—on paper, at least. Commoditization goes hand in hand with standardized carrier board interfaces. Improvements in chip-level integration along with smaller transistor geometries mean that two-chip and three-chip x86 solutions provide much of the circuitry needed for many embedded

22

October 2008

Figure 1

The SEARAY connector is the basis for COMIT.

PC applications. Facing competition and eroding prices and margins, COM architects keep stripping away extra features, leaving only what’s “free” in the chipsets. The downside is that system manufacturers are left holding the bag as they try to integrate their carrier board circuits with the “black box” module’s interfaces and BIOS. Getting these minimalist modules to actually boot and interface to the rest of the system I/O has become quite a chore. From power management to power supply impedance to interface circuits, true interoperability has been kicked to the

curb in favor of bargain basement pricing. In addition, connector technology has advanced substantially, yielding a more robust and higher-bandwidth solution and thus a better value for the price compared to four to eight-year-old architectures. In addition, there is no existing specification that (1) adequately addresses modern ultra-low-power chipset requirements like those for the Intel Atom and the Via Nano / VX800 families, (2) looks beyond to PCI Express Gen2, USB3 and SATA600, or (3) specifies a small, costeffective and technologically capable con-


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nector system to enable next-generation modules. Focus and inclusion of these key elements in a specification that defines connector type(s) and pin placement, not connector placement or board size, will begin to bring convergence and interoperability to a COM implementation in the small form factor (SFF) embedded computer arena. With the limitations of existing approaches well documented, several module vendors collaborated to break with tradition and deliver self-sufficient SBClike modules that add value and solve system-level problems. Of course, the new modules will be larger and cost more since more circuitry is present. The result of rethinking COMs is a realization that the total system cost and development time and budget should be the relevant metrics, not merely the module cost. The greater the portion of the system design that is solved by the COM, the more valuable the COM would be to the system OEM.

Saved by a COMIT

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8/13/08 9:45:55 AM

The SFF-SIG’s new solution bears the name COMIT, which stands for “Computer-On-Module Interconnect Technology.” Much like Stackable Unified Module Interconnect Technology (SUMIT) has focused on the OEMs’ design challenges independent of SBC form factors, COMIT starts with system-level requirements and then determines how best to partition the architecture. It offers a blend of signals that are most often needed for embedded system designs, going beyond what is simply “free” in the chipset.

COMIT achieves an optimal balance of new and legacy interfaces to achieve the “common denominator” of I/O that is relevant across the broader embedded market. Just as separating the connector and form factor specifications into separate definitions was done in SUMIT, the key differentiating feature of COMIT from other COM specifications is the purposeful exclusion of a myriad of applicationspecific expansion buses and I/O that are often found in other COM architectures. This additional I/O makes them larger, more expensive and less portable across applications. Parallel PCI, for example, has been supplanted by PCI Express because of low speed and high pin costs; therefore it is not included in COMIT. Beyond a full serial port and another TX/RX-only implementation, which are still useful in many embedded environments, much of the I/O normally included in a system is assumed to be implemented on the carrier board of a system and is not included in the COMIT module interconnect. COMIT instead supports legacy and future generation buses available from the latest generation chipsets, leaving the baggage of on-module I/O and previous COM generations behind with direct support for legacy devices through the connector. Once a basic interface bus list was generated and a pin budget developed, an evaluation was done comparing connectors used on other similar specifications to the proposed connector here. Cost per pin, pin density, bandwidth through the connector and total area consumed were all considered. They include the following: • 3 PCI Express x1 lanes with clocks and card detect • 1 PCI Express x4 with clock and card detect • 6 USB ports with 3 overcurrent pins • VGA + PnP • 2 LVDS panel support (24-bit) • SDVO (Serial Digital Video Out) • ENET (GigE or 10/100) • 2 SATA channels with spin up control • HD AC97 audio • LPC Bus • 8-bit SDIO • 2 Serial UART ports • SPI/uWire • SMBus/I²C • Power, ground and various control signals


SYSTEM Integration

Connector Advances

COMIT is an electromechanical connectorization specification that uses 240-pin high-density (0.050-inch pitch) SEARAY SEAM/SEAF connectors from Samtec and is second sourced by Molex (Figure 1). It is designed as an open pin field array configuration organized in 6 rows of 40 pins to allow maximum routing and design flexibility. The SEARAY connector was developed for the large and growing high-density and high-performance mezzanine connector market to accommodate low-profile applications. The chosen connector system for COMIT is capable of a differential signaling rate of over 10 GHz bandwidth (at -3 dB insertion loss) in order to support current and future high-speed signaling for interfaces like PCI Express Gen2, Gen3 and USB3. The contacts in the SEARAY system are robust and allow for “zippering” when mating and unmating the connectors. This contact design lowers the insertion and extraction forces, which is an important consideration with 240 pins. Each goldplated pin is rated for 2.7 amps and the

connector will operate over the temperature range of -55° to +125°C. The rugged connector system is good for over 2000 mating cycles and is RoHS compliant. The mating height of the connector pair is 8.5 mm. The actual size of the 240-pin connector is only 57.9 mm x 9.67 mm. 8.5 mm was assumed as a working standard for the height due to the need for the smallest modules to place taller power supply components on the COM PCB between the COM and carrier board, as well as some minimum space for components on the carrier board in the same vertical areas. Other heights are possible. This height also conveniently would allow a COM with short or no heat sink requirements to fit underneath a SUMIT 15.24 mm module stack. Since COMIT is a connector specification, it can be added to a variety of SBC, COM, or custom board form factors and is flexible and compact enough to meet a very broad range of application requirements. Even custom board designs can benefit from the architecture, chipset mapping and engineering analysis that have been completed already.

COM Connector RAM Chipset

RAM RAM

CPU

RAM

PATA Connector Area

Figure 3

An sffCOM module mounted on a 90 mm x 96 mm board.

One of the key breakthroughs with COMIT is the ability to power modules directly from a system power supply, rather than forcing power supplies to be generated on the carrier board and passed through numerous expensive connector pins. This eliminates much of the guesswork of power supply sequencing and stiffness associated with “black box” COMs, as well as the inefficiency of power-up current surges

INDUSTRIAL I/O via Ethernet Monitor position & speed | Regulate fluid levels Measure temperature | Control motors & solenoids

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To learn more visit: SENSORAY.com, email: info@sensoray.com or call: 503.684.8005 AM October9/8/08 2008 11:25:30 25


SYSTEM Integration

The AtomTM based PCI/104-Express Board.

COM Connector

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CPU PATA

Figure 4

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9/26/08 10:43:39 AM

RAM

sffCOM modules can be used as the processor module on an EPIC size board.

passing through tiny carrier board connector contacts. The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is an open industry specification supported by many of the popular operating systems that standardizes levels of system and processor powerdown. It was originally designed for laptop / notebook PC motherboards, which are single boards. However, as the system architecture becomes more complicated it tends to sacrifice module interchangeability when power management is split across two boards (i.e., the COM and the carrier). The philosophy in creating COMIT is that the module is completely responsible for generating all of the power planes on-board and for supplying the power management handshaking signals to the carrier boards. Once again, tightly locking down ACPI requirements saves the carrier board designer from trial-and-error board spins to get second-source modules to work. Most COM form factors are proudly touted as “legacy-free,” ushering in the latest desktop interfaces like PCI Express, Serial ATA (SATA), USB, Gigabit Ethernet and so on. Again, this serves to minimize module costs, but ignores the popular usage of legacy peripherals such as UART serial ports. The Low Pin Count (LPC) Bus can replace much of what the ISA Bus has provided for so many years,

but the dependence on the module BIOS to initialize carrier board super I/O devices proliferates custom BIOSs. COMIT’s solution to this is simple, yet beyond what the other new COM form factors provide— integrated serial ports on the module.

First Implementation of COMIT

The first board being developed as a technology demonstrator is called sffCOM (Figure 2). It is a 62 mm x 75 mm module with the COMIT interface on one end of the board. An sffCOM board includes processor/chipset, RAM, power supplies and clock source for the module only, and connectorization for “standard” interfaces available from the chipset. The pin definition has been assigned based on test routing both Intel’s Atom and VIA’s Nano platforms and is a “best practice” approach for ensuring that signal integrity (SI) requirements will be adequately addressed for board implementations. Samtec assisted in the connector selection and SI decisions that led to the connector and placement choices made. Signaling for additional features like video overlay input, etc. is not included in the main connector and should be included in a small connector from the COM to the carrier board if needed. This reduces cost for the vast majority of these systems that will not use this fea-


SYSTEM Integration

ture. Conversely, LVDS signaling is included in the main connector because it is foreseen that many applications will continue to use this signaling, and the aggregate cost of having a second connector pair and cabling for this is too high to encourage broad adoption. In the future, DisplayPort can be used directly off the COM using the standard connector, since it is cabled directly to displays. The primary COMIT connector includes all signals except slow parallel buses like PATA and parallel PCI. The cost-perpin is too high and the signaling bandwidth required is too low for these interfaces to be included with this connector density. These optional features are connected through secondary connectors. A low-cost solution is available from Samtec for PATA or other interfaces that consists of a 2 mm SMT pin header and high-reliability SMT board connector, which will meet both cost and rugged application requirements. PATA is not required, and that connector simply goes away once IDE storage devices are replaced by SATA, USB and/or rugged SDIO storage devices such as the new MiniBlade standard from SFF-SIG. After the development of the sffCOM module, a carrier board is required to host the I/O or other special interfaces needed for each unique customer’s application. This can be done with a custom design for a specific application or by using an industry standard SBC form factor. For example, sffCOM can fit on a 90 x 96 mm industry standard module (Figure 3). This allows state-of-the art processor technology to be mated with existing SUMIT expansion cards and enclosures. A COMIT connector can be placed on an EPIC size board as well (Figure 4). Currently the COMIT and sffCOM specifications are being completed within the Modules working group of the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFFSIG). This group has charted a course to develop, adopt and promote circuit board specifications and related technologies that will help electronics equipment manufacturers and integrators reduce the overall size of their next-generation systems. The group’s philosophy is to embrace the latest technologies, as well as maintain legacy compatibility and enable transition solutions to next-generation interfaces.

The SFF-SIG has formed three working groups to address different product categories. The SBC Working Group is discussing new small form factor single board computers. The Modules Working Group is developing a specification for a new small computer-on-module (COM) form factor. The Stackables Working Group is examining approaches to embracing new high-speed serial technologies into legacy systems in a smooth manner that preserves

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investments in I/O, cabling and enclosure designs. This activity is not limited to circuit boards. Related small form factor technologies and components such as MiniBlade rugged latchable peripherals have incubator groups now as well. There is a broad community and ecosystem of technology leaders served by the SFF-SIG. Small Form Factor Special Interest Group. [www.aff-sig.org].

AM October7/16/08 2008 10:19:28 27


SYSTEM INTEGRATION

Small Form Factor Update

nanoETXexpress Paves the Way for Ultra-Small, Ultra-Portable Fist-Held Applications The demand for very compact, portable functionality is increasing across a wide range of applications. The requirements of these applications are unique, and until recently embedded solutions, although they came close to meeting these needs, posed limitations. by Christine Van De Graaf Kontron

W

hen Intel first disclosed its intention to launch a sub-5 watt processor, Kontron set out to develop a product series based on this new processing platform. However, in order to provide an optimized platform, the company first turned to embedded system designers to determine what features would meet the needs of their next-generation small form factor designs. The consensus called not only for high performance that could withstand rugged environments, but also support for a wide range of power supplies and batteries with low power consumption. The need for a new, ultra-small and efficient architecture was apparent. In response, the nanoETXexpress form factor was developed with the goal of enabling PCI Express-based Computer-onModules (COMs) to be built on a very compact form factor. The form factor targets the development of extreme power-saving applications with mid- to high-performance x86 technology on an extremely small footprint that is 55 mm x 84 mm (Figure 1). This is a 39 percent reduction from the original COM Express module basic form factor footprint (125 mm x 95 mm) and a 51 percent reduction of the microETXexpress (95 mm x 95 mm) footprint. The form factor is 100 percent compatible with the COM Express Type 1

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October 2008

Figure 1

nanoETXexpress module compared in size with a credit card.

connector, which allows access to many different interfaces, such as Gigabit Ethernet, 1x SATA port, 8x USB 2.0 (one client-enabled) and a PCI-Express x1 lane for customized enhancements. Variants with 2x PCIe interface are also possible, and an external PCIe-to-PCI bridge is also supported. As an open standard, the form factor and carrier board design guidelines for nanoETXexpress can be downloaded at www.nanoetxexpress.com.

COM Express Terminology

Varying standard names, brand names and initiatives related to COM Express have caused some confusion within the market. There have been recent questions as to whether ETXexpress is COM Express compliant. Now with the emergence of new form factors such as microETXexpress and nanoETXexpress, clarification on these variations is needed.

The PICMG COM Express Specification was developed from the open standard called ETXexpress, originally developed by Kontron and Intel in 2003. Since the ETXexpress name was thought to be too close to the well-known Kontron ETX brand, the term “COM Express� was chosen by PICMG as a more neutral alternative during the ratification process. COM Express is a trademark of PICMG and its use in product descriptions implies that the products are designed to be compliant with the COM.0 specification. There is indeed a difference between ETXexpress and COM Express, but not in terms of features. Computer-on-modules with the ETXexpress brand name conform 100 percent to the PICMG COM.0 specification, however, they may have some special features added. For instance, these add-on features may include VESA DisplayID support, the COM Express Extensions, the uniform form factor independent embedded value adds (EVAs), the Carrier board Design Guide, or the MARS SMART Battery Management System. The primary difference between the nanoETXexpress module, the microETXexpress module and the original COM Express module is the overall physical size and the performance envelope supported by each. microETXexpress and


Lose the cord and pull your system together with StackableUSBTM. StackableUSB answers the embedded OEMs’ need for a rugged, compact, efficient serial bus by providing one with USB as well as I2C. With 8 USB ports in the stack, USB boards can plug together top side – bottom side – or both. StackableUSB simplifies I/O boards, once again making it

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SYSTEM Integration nanoETXexpress modules have the same pin-out at the same position as all other COM Express Basic modules and follow all PICMG guidelines (Figure 2). Currently, the sizes of microETXexpress and nanoETXexpress modules are not part of the physical form factor specification of the original PICMG paper. However, Kontron is leading the effort to have PICMG establish a subcommittee to make these associated open form factors officially part of the PICMG COM Express family.

84 51

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COM Express Type 4 4

Small, Low-Power Processor Brings New Possibilities

80

The Intel Atom processor is based on entirely new hafnium-based 45nm microarchitecture and represents Intel’s smallest and lowest power processor to date. Intel Atom processors are comparable in their processing power with Intel Pentium M processors and Intel Celeron M processors. Due to its compact design and energy-efficient technology, the power dissipation of the Intel Atom processor (13 mm x 14 mm) together with the single-chip Intel system controller hub US15W (22 mm x 22 mm) is less than 5 watts. Compared to other ultra-

Holes Compatible to COM Express

Figure 2

Pin A1

80.00

16.50

4.00 0.00

6.00 4.00

nanoETXexpress holes are compatible with COM Express.

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1 30Untitled-9 October 2008

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SYSTEM Integration low-voltage processors with identical CPU performance, the physical dimensions of the new chip are significantly smaller and require a fraction of the power dissipation. Now that the Intel Atom embedded processing platform is readily available, a number of new ultra-small embedded modules have entered the market. While all of these boast small size, it is important to note that not all offer the level of performance, ruggedness and scalability. For instance, only the use of standardized COM Express Type 1 connectors can gain a number of cost, performance and scalability benefits along with improved shock and vibration resistance. The new nanoETXexpress form factor follows the Type 1 pin-out of the PICMG COM Express standard. The locations of the identically mapped pin-outs are also COM.0 compatible. Compared to other connector systems, the COM Express specification offers significant advantages. Since it creates less signal damping than a card-edge connector, longer trace lengths on the motherboard are possible. In the future, permitted trace lengths are expected to be further reduced by PCI Gen 2 restrictions and more stringent Green IT requirements for processor manufacturers. Due to these proportional changes, COM Express connectors are more futureoriented than other connector types. COM Express connectors are also more mechanically robust with greater impact and vibration resistance. The higher requirements for applications of the module in rugged mobile devices cannot be fulfilled by other connector types. There are also considerable advantages regarding EMC. This is particularly important for second-generation PCIe interfaces, where the clock rate and frequency are doubled, increasing the interference level.

nanoETXexpress Products

A number of embedded solution providers have already committed to developing products based on nanoETXexpress. In April 2008, Kontron unveiled the first nanoETXexpress Computer-onModule based on the Intel Atom Z Z500 series processor. Computer-on-Module comes with the Z5XX series Intel Atom processor from 1.1 GHz to 1.6 GHz and Intel System Controller Hub US15W and offers up to 1 Gbyte of soldered DDR2 400/533 RAM and 2 Gbytes of onboard

flash as a boot device. In order to enable small format SD/SDIO interfaces such as SD, miniSD, MMC and DE-ATA, the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computeron-Module offers the relevant support via the GPIO pins of the COM Expresscompliant connector. Additionally, the 18/24-bit LVDS single channel graphic performance offers 256 Mbytes of graphic memory, HDTV support and integrated MPG2 decoder as well as H.264—more than mini devices require.

Diamond Point International (DPIE) has several “nanoETXexpress-ready” products in the pipeline including a nanoETXexpress-variant of the popular RD-103 series of industrial computers, while b-plus and ACCES I/O have integrated the nanoETXexpress COMs into their baseboards. b-plus developed a small-sized but full-featured carrier board for the nanoETXexpress form factor, designed for evaluation purposes, small quantity applications and as a reference design for custom carrier boards.

x86 Processor Boards for Embedded Applications including the latest 45nm 2.53 GHz Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor T9400 (Penryn)

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.

.

www.gocct.com Email: info@gocct.com Tel: (781) 933 5900 All trademarks acknowledged

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Aug08/US01

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SYSTEM Integration ACCES I/O will be using it to provide custom carrier boards and further plans to add to its COTS line of small embedded carrier boards utilizing the nanoETXexpress Computer-on-Module specification.

Potential Applications

The number of new fist-held applications that will benefit from the “nano-size� modules is considerable. These compact, energy-saving COMs are the ideal platform for ultra-mobile applications that require

energy saving x86 processor performance, high-end graphics, PCI Express and Serial ATA combined with longer battery life. Typical applications are portable measurement and test devices for electrical and non-electrical values, medical devices, decentralized industrial control systems, vehicle diagnostics devices, gaming machines, point-of-sale and point-ofinformation systems, telecommunication and transportation systems, as well as environmental and weather stations.

Looking at the example of weather stations, there is a growing demand for systems that can be operated in remote locations without access to the power grid using photovoltaic power. In addition, healthcare is one of the fastest growing markets for mobile solutions with predictions for significant growth in the near future. In a recent analysis of vertical markets for enterprise mobility solutions, Venture Development Corporation estimates the mobility market for healthcare to grow by 20 percent annually from its current $1.6 billion to $3.3 billion by 2010. Medical professionals already have access to patient information and decision support tools via handheld mobile devices, helping them make better informed decisions while on the go. For example, mobile clinical decision support systems help physicians determine the possible causes of a patient’s symptoms, including uncommon causes that they may not be familiar with. Emergency response teams can also utilize these systems to receive accurate information and advice on the best course of action and treatment. These applications are just the tip of the iceberg, since market penetration of mobile medical applications is still only about 10 percent. With the evolution of smaller and more highly integrated processors and chipsets, smaller form factors will continue to be a major trend in embedded computing over the coming years. Future generations of Intel processors are also likely to continue to drive this trend. For example, Intel has recently disclosed plans for system-onchip (SoC) processors that will potentially enable a reduction in board space requirements of up to 45 percent and power consumption by as much as 20 percent when compared to a standard multi-chip design, while at the same time largely improving throughput performance and processor efficiency. The nanoETXexpress form factor should dovetail nicely with forthcoming processor and system-on-chip (SoC) technology to further enable emerging applications that have not been possible before due to size or power consumption restrictions. Kontron Poway, CA. (858) 623-3006. [www.kontron.com].

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industry wat c h

Network Device Security

Not a PC – Avoiding Problems When Securing Embedded Devices Securing embedded devices is a far different matter than securing PCs and servers. Still, it is possible to simply and cost-effectively build in device security and secure the device environment while avoiding common security and development pitfalls. by M  onique Semp and Kurt Stammberger, Mocana

E

nterprises, carriers and consumers are constantly trying to mitigate security risks. Standardized protocols such as SSL, SSH, EAP and IPSec/IKE are currently the security techniques of choice for both PCs and embedded devices. But PC and/or server security implementations of these protocols don’t translate well to the world of embedded devices, and attempting to adapt open source code presents its own special set of headaches. The types of devices being connected today extend far beyond desktop PCs, laptops and cell phones (Figure 1). In fact, IPaddressable devices already outnumber PCs and servers by approximately 5 to 1, and the ratio is growing fast. Virtually any manufactured object, from toys and coffee makers to cars and medical diagnostic equipment, either already is or has the potential to be IP-addressable. But while connecting a device to the Internet is easy, securing it can be a challenge.

What Works for the PC Won’t Work for Embedded Devices

Virus and malware detection is relatively straightforward—but it’s also among the most important security concerns that need to be addressed by new

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October 2008

Electric Toothbrush: Auto re-order brush heads, share brushing habits with your dentist.

Automobile: Maps traffic in real time; other can track your location.

Computer: Centralized control for remote interface to any other device.

Refrigerator: RFID tags can reorder groceries as needed, and suggest recipes.

VoIP Phone: Automatic updates, integration and forwarding

Coffee Maker: Custom setting for each coffee type, starts when alarm goes off.

Oven: Oven settings from computer or phone if running late.

HVAC: Control temperature and lights for maximum efficiency.

Figure 1

Cell Phone: Secure identification and verification for payments.

Microwave: Automatically sets cook cycle with RFID recognition.

Printer: Automatically reorders toner and paper as needed.

Alarm Clock: Remote programs, custom tones, turns on coffee maker.

Smart Scale: Measures and sends weight info for progress tracking.

Media Player: Remotely order new songs & video.

Building Security: Security cameras interact with facial recognition databases.

Vending: Auto reorder supplies before it’s empty.

Television: Immediate “one-click” ordering of products seen on commercials.

Exercise Equipment: Recognizes individual user and tracks workout schedules.

The “Internet of Things” encompasses an ever-growing list of connected devices, which must not only be able to defend themselves, but also must be secured from harming the rest of your network assets.

device designers. PCs commonly use signature-based protection approaches, and communicate with virus-detection software companies on a routine, scheduled basis to download the latest batch of virus signatures. Unfortunately, most embedded devices don’t (and won’t for many years) have the necessary bandwidth to continu-

ously update the list of virus signatures… growing now at more than 3,000 signatures per hour. Nor do such devices have the battery life, memory storage, or processing capacity to check against millions of malware signatures every time a file is called, stored or executed. Server-based solutions often employ


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Porting desktop solutions, like most open-source code, to new device platforms can be a brutal process often taking weeks. And engineers unfamiliar with the intricacies of encryption and authentication algorithms can unwittingly introduce defects and vulnerabilities into the security protocol during the port. Optimizing core pieces of code for specific devices by painstakingly rewriting them in assembly language is necessary to maintain performance. The performance of a product’s security components is one of the biggest factors affecting overall product behavior. For example, on desktop systems it’s usually very obvious when a scheduled antivirus scan begins. A sluggish security implementation, especially in comparatively low horsepower devices, can become a communications bottleneck. Unfortunately, desktop solutions are notoriously slow and computer-intensive, largely because they cannot simultaneously be optimized for specific platforms and retain their platform independence. PC-based security products were not designed for embedded devices, and their subsequent ports exhibit large memory foot-

behavior-based intrusion detection and prevention techniques (IDS/IPS). Such solutions use a profiling approach to look for known malware attack vectors. Unfortunately, this leaves mobile devices susceptible to zero-day attacks and requires constant updates and program training, which is not feasible for open wireless networks. The situation is even worse for consumer equipment, where it’s unacceptable for consumers to endure pop-ups that demand informed, technically savvy responses to train the device or thwart an attack. More seriously, both approaches can lead to false positives—erroneously identifying legitimate software as a virus. At the very least, this causes customers to become annoyed with—and possibly abandon—their eagerly purchased products. Worse, when legitimate software is mistakenly quarantined as a virus, a device may become inoperable, just as if a virus were truly present. Even setting aside performance issues, simply trying to shoehorn commercial or open-source security solutions originally designed for PCs into embedded devices leads to a host of challenges.

Mocana’s Device Security Framework

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INDUSTRY Watch prints, often entirely too large to fit into the target device at all. Additionally, such solutions were developed independently of each other, resulting in redundant code for common utility functions. Commercial products that integrate multiple code bases become bloated because of such redundant code. Once code has been customized, you lose the ability to maintain or get support. Most PC-based solutions are stand-alone, socket/stream interfaces, not API-based solutions. To use these products in embedded devices, applications must hook directly into the source function calls. When those functions change, so too must the application code. A better architectural model is to design your embedded system solution to be ROM-able (code can run in ROM, not just RAM), reentrant, and to use an asynchronous event-driven architecture. Additionally, implementing an API-based set of functions eliminates the need to refactor and retest applications when underlying function code changes.

Essential Security for Embedded Devices

When integrating a security solution,

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you must be sure to take into account the fact that many operating systems lack what are commonly identified as the top five essential security features. These include applicationkernel separation, memory protection domains, restricted code execution on the system stack, file system access protection and the randomization of process information. Without a clear separation of user application and kernel, any application in the device has the same rights, permissions and privileges as the kernel, which is the device’s central nervous and immune systems rolled up in one. Kernel access enables a malware writer to exploit vulnerable applications to: wipe flash memory (brick the device); sniff network traffic for passwords, email addresses or other sensitive information; or send out spam. Additionally, because many embedded devices sit at the core of networks (printers, datacom equipment and the like), silent and wholesale theft of sensitive data moving through the network, such as passwords, is a real possibility. Some device developers argue that to orchestrate a kernel access attack, the attacker must know the precise vulnerability points in their kernel, with their unique

configuration and modification options. This is often true, but is also often easily overcome by a malware writer. The same technique used by virus detection software—looking for malware by using patterns—can be used against most embedded operating systems. Malware writers simply look for the mnemonic signatures of functions within memory. Without memory protection domains, all memory is accessible for reading. A malware writer simply needs to implement instructions to crawl memory looking for function signatures for operations such as file open, clear flash, socket open and so on. It is of no consequence to attackers that this activity constitutes copyright infringement and violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) or illegal intrusion laws. Without protection against software executing from the stack, a malware writer does not require advanced compiler or heap exploits. The malware can perform a simple NOP (No Op) sled to cause a buffer overflow to take over a program’s execution. Without file system access protection, unauthorized users and attackers can com-

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INDUSTRY Watch promise an operating system file, create new user accounts, change passwords, steal encryption keys and so on. Together with other vulnerabilities, this lack of protection makes it much easier for attackers to take over a file system, and even worse, insert downloaded application code into the kernel, enabling the attacker to remain in control after the device is rebooted. When process information is randomized, it may take an attacker many attempts to overtake a device, during which time the device may shake off the attack or suffer a

DoS attack—serious, yes, but not as deadly as being bricked or pwned (controlled by an attacker whose malware has subverted the device). Without such randomization, the attacker has a greater chance of taking over a device on the first attempt, and performing arbitrary code execution.

Selecting an Embedded Device Security Solution

The preceding discussion identified problems with existing (PC- and serverbased) solutions, and identified the essential

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Transformational. ©2008. Themis Computer, Themis, the Themis logo, Rugged Enterprise Servers, and T2BC are trademarks or registered trademarks of Themis Computer. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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security features for embedded and mobile devices. So how can we in the engineering community design embedded devices to be properly secured “from birth?” Any solution that effectively manages the security requirements of disparate devices must have two main characteristics: automation and homogeneity. Automated solutions obviously handle common tasks without human intervention. Homogeneous solutions provide a single platform and interface for interaction with a wide range of devices. What is needed is new infrastructure software plus centralized business processes for managing security, both within devices and across device manufacturers and service providers. This software solution should be a combination of embedded software resident within the devices themselves, plus capabilities delivered as applications across the network. Obviously we need to address the shortcomings of the identified PC- and server-based solutions, but equally important is to be sure that new designs do not include flaws that decrease the device’s usability. Good solutions must not spend time monitoring malware signatures, which would hog bandwidth, nor may they have any expectation of a malware-free network, which would be unrealistic and unscalable. They cannot require a training period, which demands informed, technically savvy, patient responses to train the device or thwart an attack. In addition, there can be no annoying pop-ups, which degrade the user experience, and they must eliminate false positives, which could render a device effectively useless. A proper solution to securing mobile and embedded devices must provide a unified, comprehensive approach to device management that secures remote device access and communication between devices, supports a full suite of communications protocols, and authorizes user requests. For one thing there must be broad protocol support. Ideally, any security solution would not support just a few protocols. Such restrictions could severely limit both device capability and marketability. The best solutions, such as the Mocana Device Security Framework, include support for all the following: certificate management (SCEP), DTLS, EAP, RADIUS, IPsec/IKE, SSH, SSL and WPA2. A proper solution for embedded sys-


INDUSTRY Watch tems must have an asynchronous architecture. Synchronous designs severely limit the number of cryptography jobs that can be offloaded to silicon at any one time and limit the way that completed cryptography jobs can be propagated back up the stack. Asynchronous, eventdriven architectures, on the other hand, enable cryptographic jobs to be easily offloaded to different CPU cores or silicon channels, fully enabling today’s multicore processors and distributed “cloud” computing models. Also, to enable the most portable solutions, security software should leverage a common abstraction layer that has two integration axes: one for operating system (OS) integration and the other for CPU integration. What this means is that if chips X, Y and Z are supported, along with OS #1, then a port to OS #2 will automatically inherit support for chips X, Y and Z by modifying just the OS abstraction axis. Conversely, if OS #1, #2 and #3 are supported, along with chip X, then a port to chip Y will immediately inherit support for all three OSs by modifying just the CPU abstraction axes. This approach provides maximum coverage of OS-CPU combinations, and maximum flexibility for device designers to make OS and CPU decisions independently of the security component design. High performance is paramount. For a security solution to work well on embedded and mobile devices, it must feature extremely low memory use per connected client, as well as a high-performance, zero-threaded architecture. Additionally, integration with hardware accelerators and multicore awareness enables security solutions to take full advantage of the latest generation of multicore CPUs. For security solutions to be included in embedded devices, the solutions must be easily integrated into the application code; otherwise unacceptably long delays in time-to-market are incurred. Design elements such as APIs, abstraction layers and crypto libraries, which all shield engineers from complexity and protect devices from common security implementation errors, are essential parts of any security answer. One example is Mocana’s Device Security Framework, an extensible software framework that secures all aspects of device data access and communications,

for any connected device (Figure 2). The Device Security Framework helps device designers reduce development costs and dramatically enhance cryptographic performance. The Device Security Framework includes device-resident security software as well as security capabilities delivered across the network. The device-resident software is embedded into devices at the time of manufacture and (optionally) interfaces with the operating system, the CPU, any available cryptographic accel-

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erator, and provides modular support for different open-standards-based device security protocols. Mocana Corporation, San Francisco, CA. (415) 617-0055 [www.mocana.com].

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Featured Products ETXexpress Computer-on-Modules with 45nm Intel processors A robust COM Express module based around the recently introduced high-performance and low-power 45 nm Intel Core 2 Duo processor SP9300 and Intel GS45 chipset, sets new performance-per-watt standards for embedded applications with high demands on data processing and/or multimedia conversion and output. The ETXexpress-PC COM Express Computer-onModule from Kontron excels over the previous 65 nm dual core processor offerings by enabling faster core speeds (up to 2.26 GHz), more L2 cache (6 Mbytes) and a faster FSB (1066 MHz), but without a comparable increase in energy consumption. For high-end data and media-processing applications that require maximum performance, the 2.26 GHz (1066 MHz FSB) version of the ETXexpress-PC module offers high processing power with a CPU TDP of just 25W. The ETXexpress-PC is a COM Express pin-out type 2 Computer-on-Module that supports up to 8 Gbytes of dual-channel memory via two DDR3 SO DIMM sockets. The low voltage version with the 1.3 GHz Intel ULV Core 2 Duo processor (800 MHz FSB) requires a TDP of only 10W, making it the choice for power-sensitive applications. A 1.86 GHz processor version rounds off the selection of ETXexpress-PC modules that together provide enhanced performance-per-watt ratios to suit a wide spectrum of next-generation embedded applications in the automation, medical, infotainment, kiosk, POS/POI and portable computing sectors. These boards will support the built-in Intel vPro technology 4.0 that offers enhanced security and remote management for easier maintenance, higher system availability and, therefore, reduced total costs of ownership. System managers benefit from Intel vPro technology because they can remotely carry out tasks such as installation of a new OS or setting BIOS parameters without the need for additional remote management hardware or an on-site presence. If there is an operating system failure, managers can run diagnostics, update patches and reboot the system via an out-of-band connection from a central service system within a few minutes. System security is provided by Intel Trusted Execution Technology and there is an onboard trusted platform module—TPM 1.2—for software and data protection. Extensive I/O flexibility is provided by five PCI Express x1 lanes, four SerialATA ports, one IDE and eight USB 2.0 ports along with Gigabit Ethernet. The multiplexed PEG pinout, SDVO and Display-Port deliver additional video signals for VGA and DVI monitor outputs, SDTV and HDTV television outputs and TV tuner inputs that greatly simplify system graphics design. All

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the Kontron COM Express Computer-on-Modules provide PCI Express, PCI 32, USB 2.0 and SerialATA available on the PICMG Type 2 connector, guaranteeing scalability within the product family. In particular, the SerialATA ports and native RAID support make the Kontron ETXexpress-PC suitable for data-sensitive applications. There is also continued support for non-PCI Express legacy components such as plug-in cards via the PCI 2.1 interface. The new modules support Windows XP, 2000, XPe, CE and Linux operating systems. With full DirectX 10 capability, Windows Vista is also supported. Kontron, Poway, CA. (858) 623-3006. [www.kontron.com].


&TECHNOLOGY

Products

System Monitoring Solution in a Single Chip

A single-chip solution that monitors multiple computing processes simultaneously is designed to watch the voltage, processor operation and temperature in any type of computing system, including servers, routers, storage area networks and POS registers. The device prevents these types of systems from operating in error or unsafe modes, thus eliminating potential system damage and performance errors. The 9WDV3501 system monitor device from Integrated Device Technology is pin programmable, allowing customers to purchase a single device that meets all of their system specifications rather than purchasing several individual devices—each with separate functionality. This in turn gives customers greater design flexibility while lowering design and inventory costs. The IDT system monitor features a power-on reset function that holds the reset pins in active mode when the user first turns on the power switch, allowing the power supplies to reach maximum levels. This helps prevent incorrect system starts, protecting against potential system errors and unnecessarily restarting the system. The device also features a watchdog timer that monitors the control microprocessor to ensure it is functioning correctly. Acting as a system failsafe, the device monitors an I/O pin on the microprocessor, and if that I/O pin doesn’t pulse in a specified period of time, the system monitor assumes it is in an endless loop and resets the system. In addition, the system monitor has a power supply monitor that continually checks the voltage levels of the system to see if any of the power supplies go below a specified minimum voltage, which could keep the logic or microprocessor from functioning correctly. If power supply levels reach the minimum voltage specification, the system monitor resets the system and keeps it reset until the power levels reach a safe condition, helping increase system reliability and preventing system parts from failing. The IDT system monitor is priced at $2.05 for 10,000 units.

PCB-Mounted Motor/Actuator Pushes 2.5 Foot-Pounds

A wafer-thin, credit-card-sized motor/ actuator can produce a 3/8-inch stroke at 2.5 foot-pounds. The MigaOne from Miga Motor Company is a powerful but lightweight (less than .5 oz.) linear actuator built directly onto a PCB substrate. This new motor, now being adapted for use by NASA and Boeing, is waferthin and smaller than a credit card, with a force/ weight ratio that is unprecedented in the motor industry. This performance with a thickness of less than 0.1 inch is a result of MIGA’s patented shape memory alloy (SMA) technology, which uses SMA wire as the driving element. The innovative flat motor design opens up a new world of product concepts previously not possible with traditional motors and solenoids. The MigaOne also enables design engineers to build a motor directly onto their own PC board with a proprietary electronic circuit. This yields a single board solution that carries out all the electronic signal processing and delivers the end-result: smart mechanical movement.

Integrated Device Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 284-8200. [www.IDT.com]

3U cPCI Card Blends Synchro/Resolver and LVDT/RVDT Sim Functions

The magic of semiconductor integration has fueled the emergence of multi-function boards. Exemplifying that trend, North Atlantic Industries has announced the availability of a 4-channel Digital-to-Synchro/Resolver or Digital-to-LVDT/RVDT Converter on a 3U cPCI card. The 75DS2 3U cPCI card is ideally suited for industrial and commercial applications. The DSP-based 75DS2 includes up to four independent, isolated, programmable Synchro/Resolver or LVDT/RVDT simulation channels. Each channel has 16-bit resolution, ±1 arc-minute accuracy, and a short circuit protected output with 1.5, 2.2 or 3.0 VA drive capability. The unit requires +5 VDC and ±12 VDC power supplies, and operates over a frequency range of 47 Hz to 10 KHz. The 75DS2 provides continuous background Built-In-Test (BIT) on all functions and channels, including reference and signal loss detection. BIT is totally transparent to the user, requires no programming, and doesn’t interfere with the normal operation of the card. Each Digital-to-Synchro/Resolver and Digital-to-LVDT/RVDT Converter channel is self-calibrating, without requiring removal of the card. The 75DS2 is available with an operating temperature range of -40° to +85°C or 0° to +70°C. Conduction-cooled versions with wedgelocks are also available. Pricing for 100 pieces of the 75DS2 starts at $2,495 each.

Other key advantages of MigaOne include controllable stroke that allows a precision velocity profile and non-magnetic operation to drastically reduce EMI. Operation is silent to ensure discretion and comfort and the design eliminates bulky gears and leadscrews. The MigaOne comes in with less than 10% the weight and volume of a comparable motor or solenoid and its scalable design can be easily adapted to customer needs. The MigOne has applications in smart electronic locks/latches, air duct vanes/ shunts, valves, advanced robotics and a wide range of biomedical equipment. The MigaOne motor is priced at $39.95 each. Miga Motor Company, Berkeley, CA. (866) 644-2726. www.migamotors.com].

North Atlantic Industries, Bohemia, NY, (631) 567-1100. [www.naii.com].

October 2008

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Products & TECHNOLOGY PC/104-Plus Module Combines Location, Data Acquisition and Wireless

A complete vehicle communications manager implemented in a single high-performance PC/104-Plus module combines all the essential functions for vehicle location, engine data acquisition and wireless/cell phone connectivity. The Locator-G3 from Advanced Micro Peripherals features two independent CAN controller buses for linking to the vehicle networks, a 20-channel GPS receiver for acquiring location information, a 4-band GSM radio for data and voice communication over the cell phone network, and GPRS for a high-speed, always-on wireless link. It also has an RS-232 port, and an RS-485 port running at up to 10 Mbits/s. Locator-G3 operates from a single +5V power supply, consuming less than 400 mA during normal operation. The GSM hardware features support for quad GSM modes, hands-free voice and SMS capability. It accepts 1.8V or 3V SIM cards. Locator-G3 operates GPRS Class 8 or GPRS Class 10 at up to 85.6 Kbits/s and supports DataFax transmission. The GPS location is acquired with a 20-Channel SiRF-Star3 receiver with a hot start time of less than 2 seconds and an interface speed of up to 57.6 Kbits/se. The receiver also features a real-time clock and alarm. The optional CAN Bus interface uses dual SJA1000 CAN 2.0B Bus Controllers providing two independent full-duplex channels with Basic and Extended (Pelican) Mode support. The Locator-G3’s compact, low-power, high-performance design is targeted for telemetry, security, transportation, position tracking, fleet management and automotive applications. The product is delivered with drivers for Win XP/NT/2000 and Linux, and a sample GPS/GSM application in C/C++ source code. Advanced Micro Peripherals, Witchford, Cambridgeshire, UK. +44 (0) 1353 659 500. [www.ampltd.com].

Low-Power PMC Supports Dual Graphics Heads for Harsh Environments

A blend of graphics and video performance is vital for advanced sensor fusion, image/frame capture and recording in applications avionics and moving map applications often deployed in harsh environments. Aitech Defense Systems offers a high-performance 3D graphics and imaging functionality available in a single, low-power PMC. Based on the ATI M9 graphics processor, the new M590 Multi-standard Graphics and Video PMC uses dual independent graphics heads to simultaneously output information from two separate data streams to two different monitors, whether analog or digital. Designed for harsh environments, the PCI-X Rev. 1.0b and PCI Rev. 2.3-compliant M590 supports advanced 2D/3D video displays and image capture/frame grabbing with overlay and underlay for highresolution man-machine interfaces with resolutions of up to 1536 x 2048 at 30 to 200 Hz refresh rates and up to 32 bits per pixel (Truecolor+). A host of channel-independent analog and digital video input and output formats are provided, including DVI, LVDS single/double link, progressive RGBHV/RGsB, RS-343 and composite/S-video supporting RS-170, NTSC and PAL, as well as internal or external sync. The M590 is available in commercial, rugged and military temperature ranges, and in either conductioncooled or air-cooled versions. Pricing for an M590 starts at $3,440 in OEM quantities. Aitech Defense Systems, Chatsworth, CA. (888) 248-3248. [www.rugged.com].

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Quad-Core PICMG 1.0 SBC with Latest Intel Q35 Express Chipset

A PICMG 1.0 full-size single board computer is powered by the next-generation Intel Core2 Quad/Duo processor on 45nm process. Featuring a 1333 MHz front side bus and Intel Q35 Express chipset, the NuPRO-935A from Adlink is specifically designed for high-performance computing applications such as industrial automation, intelligent transportation, medical and Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). With processor speeds up to 3 GHz, the board is designed to be a high-performance industrial computing solution. High-bandwidth dual-channel DDR2 800 MHz memory up to 4 Gbytes is supported, meeting high-speed data transfer requirements.

By applying the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 (Intel GMA 3100), the NuPRO-935A is able to provide integrated VGA functionality and excellent graphics performance. For data protection, the NuPRO-935A supports a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) hardware security chip, which is used for disk encryption. TPM offers hardware-based facilities to effectively secure the data on your platform. The PICMG 1.0 SBC offers an ample range of I/O ports for data processing and storage. It provides up to five USB ports, two Serial ATA II storage ports, five USB 2.0 ports, two 10/100/1000 Mbit/s Ethernet ports, one RS-232 port, one RS-232/422/485 port and one parallel port. Other features include a PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, Watchdog timer and Hardware Monitor. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech.com].


SATA Solid-State Drive Family Meets MIL-STD-810F

Flash-based solid-state drives are rapidly growing in capacity to where rotating disk solutions are now needed for only a shrinking niche of rugged military systems, but the capabilities are attractive for embedded applications in all kinds of rugged environments as well. Apacer Technology has introduced the SDM (SATA Disk Module) to meet an expanded range of SATA storage demand applications. The new SDM SSD (solid-state disk) series is available with a 7-pin or 22-pin connector that is oriented at 90 degrees or 180 degrees and is designed for a variety of housing configurations adopted in embedded computers. Supporting SATA 1.5 Gbits/s and read and write speeds up to 35 Mbytes/s and 25 Mbytes/s respectively, the SDM offers outstanding reliability based on high-speed SLC (Single Level Cell) flash memory in capacities of 128 Mbytes to 4 Gbytes. For strict rugged requirements, the SDM offers competitive and innovative features based on Apacer’s advanced technology. Certified for MIL-STD-810F shock-resistance and anti-vibration, the SDM is suitable for harsh operating conditions in extended temperatures of -40° to 85°C, and includes industry-leading 8-bit ECC (Error Correcting Code) for high reliability. With less than 300 defective parts per million (DPPM), the SDM has undergone on-going reliability testing (ORT) to guarantee product dependability and longevity, with a mean time between failures (MTBF) of two million hours. Apacer Memory America, Milpitas, CA. (408) 586-1291. [www.apacer.com].

PCIe x8 Gen2 Cable Adapter Delivers 40 Gbits/s

With what may be the first x8 Gen2 PCI Express host cable adapter, One Stop Systems enables high-speed expansion over a PCIe cable from a host system at 40 Gbits/s to a PCIe downstream device or expansion chassis. The PCIe x8 cable adapter provides greater bandwidth for applications demanding high-speed throughput such as video, imaging and audio devices and requires no additional software or drivers to operate. The PCIe x8 Gen2 cable host adapter is based on redriver technology. No switches are involved, thus there are no latency obstacles to throughput. The half-card form factor makes it easy to install in any space-constrained slot. It can be fitted with standard-height or halfheight slot brackets. The PCIe x8 cable connector on the slot bracket and the PCIe x8 edge connector are routed directly to the Pericom 5804 redriver chip. In host mode, the add-in card will accept a clock as an input. In target mode, the add-in card will drive a clock. A target version is available to be used with the OSS 2-slot Gen2 backplane (OSS-PCIe-BP-2000) and then cabled to the host version installed in the host system. A PCIe I/O board can be inserted in the second slot of the backplane. The card then operates on the PCIe bus as a component of the host system. A good example is a PCIe RAID board installed in the second slot and then connected to drives in a drive array such as in the OSS 3U 12-drive RAID array (OSS-PCIe -3U-RAID-12-x8). This provides faster throughput of data to the RAID board, which can then provide more data faster to a greater number of drives. The PCIe x8 host cable adapter lists for $750. One Stop Systems, Escondido, CA. (877) 438-2724. [www.onestopsystems.com].

MIL-STD-1553/ ARINC 429 AMC Card Targets Mil/Aerospace Applications

A new Multi-I/O 1553/429 AMC card provides up to four dual redundant MIL-STD-1553 channels operating in BC, RT, MT, or RT/MT modes, eight ARINC 429 receive channels, four ARINC 429 transmit channels, six user programmable Digital Discrete I/Os, two RS-232 Serial I/O channels, two RS-422/485 Serial I/O channels and an IRIG-B time synchronization input. The BU-65590A AMC card from Data Device Corporation provides an innovative solution by combining multiple protocols on one card saving valuable space, power and weight in a MicroTCA or ATCA system. These features make it ideal for use in navy applications, flight data recorders, ground vehicles and other embedded systems that require an AMC card. The card has a PCI-E back-end interface and provides front panel I/O using a rugged micro-miniature D connector. Each 1553 channel supports enhanced features such as 1 Mbyte RAM with parity per 1553 channel, 48-bit/1 microsecond time tag and built-in self-tests. An intelligent hardware offload engine provides extremely low host CPU utilization while storing 1553 monitor data in a convenient IRIG-106 Chapter 10 format. The industry standard IRIG-106 Chapter 10 format is commonly used for digital flight data recorders. The card comes with Software Development Kits (SDKs) for MILSTD-1553 and ARINC 429 data bus applications. The SDKs allow users to develop “C” source code to simulate, monitor, or troubleshoot 1553 and/or 429 data buses simultaneously or independently with support for the latest operating system versions including VxWorks 6, Linux 2.6 and Windows 2000/XP. These SDKs enable users to quickly integrate DDC’s multi-protocol avionics BU-65590A AMC into their “C” code applications. A common SDK exists across all operating systems allowing the programmer portability across multiple platforms. The easyto-use, high-level functions abstract all low-level hardware accesses and memory allocation such that specific hardware knowledge is not required. Data Device Corporation, Bohemia, NY. (631) 567-5600. [www.ddc-web.com]. October 2008

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Products & TECHNOLOGY AdvancedMC Board Uses the 64Core Tilera TILE64 Processor

Based on a new 64-core processor, the TILE64 from Tilera, an AdvancedMC (PrAMC) platform, offers 64 cores of general-purpose and signal processing compute power coupled with over 20 Gbits/s of full-duplex I/O. The T6M-100 from JumpGen supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces addressing growing market requirements for IP networks. The T6M-100 enables equipment manufacturers to reduce their time-to-market and fulfill the growing demand for converged, content-aware IP networks that accommodate data, voice and video. The board’s dual 10Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and 64 processor cores make it attractive for hosting high-bandwidth embedded communication applications such as wireless radio network controllers (RNCs), multimedia gateways, media transcoders/transraters, session border controllers, modular servers, firewalls and deep-packet inspection appliances. The T6M-100 is supported by the Tilera Multicore Development Environment (MDE), an integrated set of tools and libraries that brings simplicity to multicore programming and helps programmers harness the full potential of their processors. The MDE offers full support for C/C++, standard programming paradigms, and the most advanced multicore debugging and optimization tools. The RoHS-compliant T6M-100 features the TILE64 processor with 64 cores running at 700 MHz, 2 Gbytes of ECC DDR2 memory running at 800 MHz, and up to 8 Gbytes of persistent memory. It incorporates dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces (AMC.2 Type 6 or AMC.2 Type 5 with 10 Gbit/s SFP+ on front panel) as well as dual Gigabit Ethernet interfaces (AMC.2 Type E2). The front panel I/O includes an RS-232 Serial and an optional SFP+ for 10 Gbit/s fiber connection. The T6M-100 is available in both full and mid-size AMC configurations for AdvancedTCA (ATCA), MicroTCA and proprietary architecture systems. A complete set of tools and runtime software stack is provided by the Tilera Multicore Development Environment. JumpGen Systems, Carlsbad, CA. (760) 931-7800. [www.JumpGen.com].

Atom Processor Climbs Aboard Nano-ITX

Low-power systems and handheld mobile devices are one of the most active areas of embedded development using small form factors. Feeding those needs, American Portwell Technology has announced the NANO-8044. This is the first embedded board using the Nano-ITX form factor that is based on the Intel Atom processor Z510/Z530 and the Intel System Controller Hub US15W. At a mere 120 mm x 120 mm (4.72 x 4.72 inches), the compact NANO8044 measures only 50 percent of the standard Mini-ITX. The NANO-8044 is specifically designed to operate at very low power consumption (less than 10W at full loading) and low heat, so it can be a truly fanless configuration and battery operated. It supports 1 Gbit Ethernet, audio, 6 USB and dual display by LVDS and SDVO connector. The NANO-8044 supports one 200-pin SO-DIMM memory slot for DDR2 SDRAM up to 1 Gbyte and comes with one IDE, one Type II CompactFlash socket, one SD card and one PCI-E expansion slot. American Portwell Technology, Fremont, CA. (510) 403-3399. [www.portwell.com].

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Nano-ITX Board Boasts All-inOne Media System Processor

A compact, low-heat, power-efficient Nano-ITX board is suitable for compact industrial PCs and embedded automation devices. The addition of the Via VX800 media system processor, an all-in-one chipset solution that provides an extensive feature set while using less real estate, helps to make the EPIA N700 from Via Technologies an attractive choice for developers of compact systems.

Measuring only 12 cm x 12 cm, the Via EPIA N700 board is the lowest profile NanoITX board yet. VGA, USB, COM and Gigabit network ports are provided on the board to help reduce system footprint size and eradicate cluttered cabling for improved air-flow and enhanced stability in always-on systems. The Via VX800 offers an integrated DirectX9 graphics core and excellent hardware accelerated video playback for MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9, VC1 and DiVX video formats. An onboard VGA port is provided along with support for DVI and a multi-configuration 24-bit, dual channel LVDS transmitter, enabling display connection to embedded panels. The Via EPIA N700 is available with either a power-efficient 1.5 GHz Via C7 or 500 MHz Via Eden processor, supports up to 2 Gbytes of DDR2 system memory and includes two onboard S-ATA connectors, USB 2.0, COM and Gigabit LAN ports. Expansion includes a Mini-PCI slot with an IDE port, additional COM and USB ports and PS/2 support available through pin-headers. VIA Technologies, Fremont, CA. (510) 683-3300. [www.via.com.tw].


2

C OTS MXM Adapter Connects High-Performance Graphics to PC/104 Express

Your product

A Mobile PCI Express Module (MXM) type II adapter for the connection of a graphics module to the PCI/104Express bus allows for an easy change of the graphics as with desktop systems. The Microspace MSMMX104EX from Ditial-Logic is connected to the PCI Express bus via a PCI Express for graphics (PEG) slot with 16 lanes. The adapter is equipped with an ATI E2400 MXM graphics module, a high-performance graphics processing unit, which delivers 2D, 3D and multimedia graphics performance, and 256 Mbyte video memory. Besides the MXM port there are two other interfaces for DVI-I (digital + analog), LVDS and TV-out on the peripheral card. Software support is available for Windows XP and Windows Vista. A flexible heat pipe solution coupled to a thermal interface is available that allows the housing to be used for cooling. The MXM adapter has dimensions of 90 mm x 96 mm x 17 mm (W x L x H) and a weight of 120 grams. It requires a 5V and 12/3A power supply and operates within the standard temperature range of -20° to +70°C. Typical applications are high-performance graphics, H.264/MPEG4 decoder and direct X10. Quantity 100 unit pricing for the MSMMX104EX starts at 128.00 Euros.

cPCI PMC VME PCI ATX choice of OS

Standard & custom designs Extended temp. conduction or convection cooled SBCs Fast, flexible, reliable

ISO 9001:2000 Certified 321-452-1670 Visit us: www.OTIsolutions.com

Digital-Logic, Luterbach, Switzerland. +41 (0)32/ 681 58 40. [www.digitallogic.ch]. Untitled-1 1

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COT C CO OT O OTS TS TS

DC/DC Converters Provide Brown-Out Protection

Embedded systems deployed in outdoor, harsh or remote areas must often wrestle with uncertain and unreliable power conditions. Serving that need, Calex has announced its Hold Up and Hold Up Light product offerings. The Hold Up modules are designed for use with Calex DC/DC Converters to protect against brown-out and temporary power loss conditions and provide a clean, uninterrupted source of power for downstream circuitry. The Hold Up model, part number HU-28, provides a complete turnkey solution for easy design integration. The Hold Up Light model, part number HUL-28, requires the use of an external capacitor bank in addition to the HUL module. The HU-28 and HUL-28 have an input range of 15.5 VDC to 36 VDC. Both the HU-28 and HUL-28 offer user programmable hold-up trip voltage. Both modules have two modes of operation: “stand-by� and “tripped.� During stand-by, the module charges the hold-up capacitors to 45V and maintains that voltage. When tripped, the module stops charging the hold-up capacitors and connects them to the Vout pins. The operating temperature range for both models is -40° to 100°C.

RAID/SAN/NAS RAID/SA AN/NAS VME/cPCI

Phoenix International designs and builds rugged COTS Data Storage Systems that plug and play in any application -- from Multi-Terabyte Fibre Channel RAID and Storage Area Network configurations to plug-in Solid State Disk Drive VME/cPCI Storage Modules.

'PSPVSFOUJSFMJOFPGTUPSBHFQSPEVDUTXXXQIFOYJOUDPNt*OGP An ISO 9001: 2000 CertiďŹ ed Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business

Calex, Concord, CA. (925) 687-4411. [www.calex.com]. Untitled-3 1

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VME SBC Product Showcase Featuring the latest in VME SBC technology SVME/DMV-682 FireBlade

SVME/DMV-1901 6U Intel™ Core™2 Duo

Fully managed, intelligent multi-layer (layer2/3) Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switch in a 6U VME form factor Complete range of convection and conduction cooled formats (IEEE 1101.1 and IEEE 1102.1) with shock and vibration support Up to 24 x 1GbE (10/100/1000 Mbps) auto-negotiating copper interfaces (4 of the ports can be optical) Up to 2 x 10GbE (10 Gbps) XAUI interfaces

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing - Ottawa Phone: (613) 599-9199 Fax: (613) 599-7777

E-mail: info@cwcembedded.com Web: www.cwcembedded.com

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing - Leesburg Phone: (703) 779-7800 Fax: (703) 779-7805

E-mail: info@cwcembedded.com Web: www.cwcembedded.com

SVME/DMV-184 PowerPC® 8641

SI-9147 Dual Channel VXS Tuner

Powerful general-purpose single board computer with Freescale 8641 PowerPC processor Dual e600 cores at 1.0GHz 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM controlled by dual 64-bit controllers Full complement of I/O capability (Ethernet, SCSI, serial, USB 2.0, 1553, Serial ATA, TTL and differential discretes) including front panel Gigabit Ethernet connection

6U VXS Digital VHF/UHF Tuner Dual 16-bit Digitizer, 30 MHz Bandwidth 36 Channels ASIC-Based DDCs Three Virtex-4 FPGAs Serial Rapid I/O or S-FPDP data transport VITA 49 (VRT) Compliant Digital IF

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing - Ottawa Phone: (613) 599-9199 Fax: (613) 599-7777

Intel® Core 2 Duo Processor: 1.5 GHz (ultra low voltage) 4 MB L2 cache Up to 4 GB ECC DDR2 SDRAM 2 GB onboard USB User Flash (2) PCIx 100-133 Mhz PMC sites

E-mail: info@cwcembedded.com Web: www.cwcembedded.com

DRS Signall S Solutions l t Phone: (301) 944.8616 Fax: (301) 921-9479

E-mail: marty.cunningham@drs-ss.com Web: www.drs-ss.com

VPX SerDes Test Module

MVME7100 VMEbus SBC

Multi-lane differential serial fabric test card for VPX Lab-on-board eliminates need for acquiring a whole rack of equipment Directly evaluate true Gbps serial link BER performance inside chassis Test both line cards and backplanes Perform pre-emphasis tuning MicroTCA, VXS, and ATCA versions available upon request

Elma Bustronic t i Phone: (510) 490-7388 Fax: (510) 490-1853

Emerson Network Power E-mail: info@bustronic.com Web: www.bustronic.com

Setting the Standard for Digital Signal Processing

Pentek, IInc. Phone: (201) 818-5900 Fax: (201) 818-5904

Model 4207 – VME/VXS PowerPC SBC with FPGA and Gigabit Serial Interfaces

Freescale MPC8641 dual core PowerPC processor Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGA Hosts two PMC/XMC modules Gigabit serial crossbar switch connects board resources to interfaces Fibre Channel interface for 800 MB/ sec recording/playback Pentek ReadyFlow® Board Support Libraries Pentek GateFlow® FPGA Design Kit and installed IP cores E-mail: info@pentek.com Web: www.pentek.com/go/rtc4207

1.3 GHz system-on-chip Freescale MPC8641 with dual PowerPC® e600 processor cores and dual integrated memory controllers Up to 2GB of DDR2 ECC memory, 128MB NOR flash and 4 or 8GB NAND flash Four Gigabit Ethernet ports USB 2.0 controller 2eSST VMEbus protocol offering higher bandwidths Board support packages for VxWorks, LynxOS, and Linux

Phone: (602) 438-5720 E-mail: EmbeddedComputingSales@emerson.com Web: www.EmersonNetworkPower.com/EmbeddedComputing

Embedded TinyModem Modules Serial TTL interface RJ-11 jack built in -40C to +85C operating temperature Compact size: 0.66” x 1.25” x 0.75” up to 56K bps data rate 14.4K bps fax, voice AT command DTMF, ring and Caller ID detection Transferable FCC68, CS03, CTR21 telecom certifications Global safety: c/UL, IEC60950-1, IEC60601-1 (Medical) approved Radicom Research, Inc. CE marking E-mail: sales@radi.com Phone: (408) 383-9006 Web: www.radi.com Fax: (408) 383-9006


VME SBC Product Showcase TC2D64

Capacitive Touch Demo Board Simplifies Integration of Interfaces into 16-bit MCUs

An easy-to-use demo board for developing and trying capacitive touch interfaces is being offered by Microchip technology. The PICDEM Touch Sense 2 board comes with the updated, royaltyfree mTouch Sensing Solution Software Development Kit (SDK) and is populated with a 16-bit PIC24FJ256GB110 microcontroller (MCU), which features an integrated charge time measurement unit (CTMU) peripheral for fast capacitive touch sensing. This is also a 16-bit MCU family with USB On-The-Go (OTG). The board and supporting materials provide a complete platform for implementing capacitive touch-sensing interfaces, without the need for external components. Additionally, with the PIC24FJ256GB110 family’s rich peripheral integration and 256 Kbytes of flash memory, and Microchip’s broad portfolio of free and low-cost software libraries, embedded designers can use a single MCU to cost-effectively implement a wide variety of additional user-interface functions, including QVGA touch-screen displays.

Themis Phone: (510) 252-0870 Fax: (510) 490-5529

Intel® Core™ 2 Duo-based SBC with clock rates of 1.5 GHz to 2.16 GHz Memory – up to 4 GBytes SDRAM Flash Memory: 1MByte Error Detection/Correction – 8-bit ECC PMC single slot (64-bit/66MHz) Up to 4 PMC slots with options (2) Gb Ethernet ports (4) USB and (4) Serial ports Low 42 watt power dissipation (1.5GHz without PMC) and 54 watt power dissipation (2.16GHz without PMC) Cooling – -5 to +55ºC (ambient temperature) OS Support - Solaris™, Linux®, & Windows® E-mail: info@themis.com Web: www.themis.com

TA64

Many applications in the consumer, appliance, medical, industrial and automotive markets are rapidly adopting capacitive touchsensing technology for reasons such as aesthetics, maintenance, cost and cleanliness. Expanding on Microchip’s existing 8-bit PIC microcontroller-based mTouch development tools for capacitive touch, the PICDEM Touch Sense 2 Demo Board enables designers to implement this user interface with Microchip’s wide portfolio of 16-bit PIC24F MCUs. Equipped with capacitive touch-sensing keys and sliders, the board allows designers to evaluate this interface in their applications using the Windows-based mTouch Diagnostic Tool, an easy-to-use Graphical User Interface (GUI) that is included in the mTouch Sensing Solution SDK. The software libraries, source code and other support materials that come with the board further shorten development time and reduce design costs. Single unit pricing is $99.99.

AMD® Turion™ 64-based SBC with clock rates at 1.6GHz Memory – Up to 4 GBytes SDRAM Flash Memory: 1MByte Error Detection/Correction – 8-bit ECC PMC single slot (64-bit/66MHz) Up to 4 PMC slots with options (1) Gb Ethernet port (4) USB and (4) Serial ports Low 45 watt power dissipation (without PMC) Cooling: 0 - 50ºC (sea level) OS Support - Solaris™, Linux®, & Windows®

Themis Phone: (510) 252-0870 Fax: (510) 490-5529

E-mail: info@themis.com Web: www.themis.com

SBC731 6U VPX-REDI Single Board Computer with Serial RapidIO and PCI Express Freescale MPC8641D Processor with support for 1.0, 1.33 and 1.5GHz Dual PMC/XMC Mezzanine sites with support for PCI Express x8, PCI/PCI-X & Serial RapidIO x4 Up to 2GB of DDR2 memory Full Serial RapidIO fabric connectivity Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA System Control Node for chassis management

Microchip Technology, Chandler, AZ. (480) 792-7200. [www.microchip.com].

VMETRO Phone: (281) 584-0728 Fax: (281) 584-9034

E-mail: info@vmetro.com Web: www.vmetro.com


Products & TECHNOLOGY Linux Board Support Package Rolls for Sidewinder SBC

Embedded system developers have found the Linux operating system a dependable choice to get started with. It lets them begin software development without committing to any one commercial embedded OS vendor. VersaLogic has announced the release of the DEV-CD-L5, a Linux quick-start Board Support Package (BSP) for their “Sidewinder,” a VIA Eden-based single board computer. Using this BSP streamlines the hardware setup task by eliminating the need for Operating System (OS) configuration and driver installation. This allows embedded developers to create applications in a shorter time frame and reduce time-to-market. The package is based on the popular Debian Linux 4.0 (etch/stable) product running Linux kernel 2.6.25-2. The bootable CD has been configured for easy installation and support of the Sidewinder’s basic hardware features, including Ethernet, audio, video, USB and serial communications. Three stable images are provided to meet a range of functionality requirements. Additionally, an Advanced User Package (AUP) is available containing kernel sources, a customized config file, and driver patches for users who wish to run a Linux distribution other than Debian. The DEV-CD-L5 BSP is available immediately to qualified applicants for a nominal charge. VersaLogic, Eugene, OR. (541) 485-8575. [www.VersaLogic.com].

Slot-Card Disk Drive Offers New Media Options

The rise in software-based functionality in embedded systems is driving demand for ever more programs and data storage. VMetro has added new storage alternatives for its VMDrive. The VMDrive 6U VME/cPCI slot storage products now include rotating media options as well as several larger capacity solid-state storage options. The rotating media VMDrive offers 300 Gbytes or 450 Gbytes storage capacity. This dual-slot VME or cPCI alternative is available in commercial air-cooled models. The VMDrive rotating media version stores data at 100 Mbytes/s via dual channels of 2 Gbit/s Fibre Channel. For demanding applications that require solid-state storage, the VMDrive is available with dual channel 2 Gbit/s Fibre Channel interfaces using both high and low-density media. The low-density VMDrive stores data at 60 Mbytes/s and is available with up to 256 Gbytes of storage capacity. The low-density models occupy a single VME or cPCI slot in air- and conduction-cooled versions. High-density VMDrives offer 146 Gbytes and 500 Gbytes storage capacity. Available as a dual-slot, air-cooled solution, the high-density solid-state stores data at 120 Mbytes/s. VMETRO, Houston, TX. (281) 584-0728. [www.vmetro.com].

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October 2008

AdvancedMC Processor Module for Multiple Markets

A new Advanced MC processor board is targeted for use in multiple markets that require multicore performance and high data throughput, plus PCI Express, Gigabit Ethernet and SATA connectivity via the backplane. The AM4011 AdvancedMC processor module from Kontron is available with the LV Intel Core 2 Duo processor representing substantial processing power and maximum MIPS per watt for both AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA system designs. The Intel Core 2 Duo processor, in tandem with the Intel 3100 serverclass chipset, takes advantage of processor performance and the high-speed FSB. The Intel 3100 chipset is a space-saving, two-in-one solution that combines both the Intel Memory Controller (E7320/ E7520) and the Intel I/O Hub Controller (6300ESB). Designed for compute-intensive applications, the versatile Kontron AM4011 may be used as a main controller, data server, traffic processor or media processor in any single-width MicroTCA platform deployed for applications in the 3GSM, triple play, military, police, government, defense, transportation and avionics market segments. Carrier-grade telecommunications, as well as image and video processing applications in the medical, industrial quality management and simulation markets also benefit from the processing power and communication capabilities of the Kontron AM4011 AdvancedMC processor module. The AMC.1/.2/.3-compliant AM4011 has full hot-swap capabilities for replacing, monitoring and controlling the module without the need to shut down the AdvancedTCA carrier board or the MicroTCA system. A dedicated Module Management Controller (MMC) is used to manage the board and to support a defined subset of IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface) commands and PICMG (ATCA/AMC) command extensions, which enable operators to detect and eliminate faults faster at the module level. IPMI enhances the board’s availability while reducing the overall operating costs and mean-time-to-repair. The Kontron AM4011 AdvancedMC processor module is highly integrated and available in both mid-size and full-size form factors. It also includes up to 4 Gbytes of memory (DDR2) with ECC running at 400 MHz, plus up to 8 Gbytes of flash memory via an onboard USB 2.0 flash controller. Four Gigabit Ethernet interfaces—two available on the front panel, two in accordance with AMC.2—provide comprehensive networking capabilities. Furthermore, the Kontron AM4011 offers connectivity in accordance with AMC.1 (PCIe x4) and AMC.3 (2x SATA). Kontron, Poway, CA. (858) 623-3006. [www.kontron.com].


Second Gen 5U Horizontal AdvancedTCA Chassis Boasts Full Redundancy

A new 5U AdvancedTCA Chassis features full redundancy, giving the unit high-availability features in a compact horizontal format. The 2nd Gen 5U AdvancedTCA Chassis from Elma Electronic offers dual redundant fan trays, shelf managers and A/C power supply options. The system platform features side-to-side cooling via plug-in fan trays with dual 170 CFM fans with PWM (pulse width modulation) control. The redundant push/pull configurations of the fans offer higher levels of reliability. The fans reach the back of the chassis for cooling the rear I/O slots. The 5U chassis offers dual 1200W AC power supplies and dual shelf managers, which are all front pluggable above the card cage. DC power versions are also available.

The 5U ATCA Chassis is a 19” rackmount unit with rugged steel construction. The system platform features a second-generation shelf manager with bused or quasi-radial IPMB (Intelligent Platform Management Bus) routing. A unique 5-slot ATCA backplane provides specially placed connectors for pluggability. Full Mesh, Replicated Mesh and Dual Star topologies can be implemented on the same backplane. The backplane utilizes the common AMC connector for plugging to Elma’s 2nd Gen Shelf Manager. A 6-slot backplane is also optional in certain configurations. Elma’s board mating receptacle on the card guides provides secure grounding, accurate alignment and accepts wide tolerances of the alignment pin spacing. Other chassis features include dual on/off switches on each side of the rear of the enclosure and NEBSgrade washable air filters, which are attached via Velcro to the filter trays. For serviceability, the filter tray and fan tray are separately removable. Pricing is under $2,500 depending on volume and options. Elma Electronic, Fremont, CA. (510) 656-3400. [www.elma.com].

Power Manager ICs Aim at Li-Ion/Polymer Battery Apps

Power management circuitry that used to require several components is now possible in one chip. That’s a great benefit for space, weight and power constrained battery-power devices. Linear Technology has announced the LTC3586, its most highly integrated PMIC in a family of multi-function, compact power management solutions for Li-Ion/Polymer battery applications. The LTC3586 integrates a switching PowerPath manager, a stand-alone battery charger, always-on LDO and four high-efficiency synchronous switching regulators: one buck-boost, one boost and two buck regulators, all in a compact, low-profile 4 mm x 6 mm QFN package. The LTC3586’s PowerPath control seamlessly manages power flow between multiple input sources such as a wall adapter or USB port and the Lithium battery while preferentially providing power to the system load. In addition, its “instant-ON” operation ensures system load power even with a dead battery. For fast charging, the LTC3586’s switching input stage converts nearly all of the 2.5W available from the USB port to charging current, enabling up to 700 mA from a 500 mA limited USB supply or up to 1.5A when wall powered. The LTC3586 is available in a compact, low-profile (0.75 mm) 4 mm x 6 mm QFN-38 package. Pricing starts at $5.30 each for 1,000-piece quantities. Linear Technology, Milpitas, CA. (408) 432-1900. [www.linear.com].

USB-to-Serial Adapters Is Software Configurable

Embedded applications are rapidly finding ways to use USB for functions once served by serial ports. Sealevel Systems announces two additions to the popular SeaLINK USB to serial product line, the SeaLINK.SC and SeaLINK+2.SC. Offering one or two serial ports that are software configurable for RS-232, RS-422, or RS-485, the adapters eliminate the need to open the enclosure to change jumper settings or dipswitches. The devices maintain their electrical interface settings locally, allowing the host computer to be repaired or upgraded without reconfiguring the serial ports. The serial ports on each SeaLINK adapter appear as standard COM ports to the host computer enabling compatibility with legacy software. All Sealevel SeaLINK USB serial adapters use a state-machine architecture that greatly reduces the host computer’s overhead when communicating over multiple serial ports simultaneously while supporting data rates to 921.6 Kbits/s. Status LEDs on the front of the enclosure indicate serial data activity, electrical interface and power. Standard operating temperature range for SeaLINK products is 0° to 70°C, and extended temperature range (-40° to +85°C) models are available. Both are available immediately from stock priced at $259 for the SeaLINK.SC (Item# 2123) and $309 for the SeaLINK+2.SC (Item# 2223). Sealevel Systems, Liberty, SC. (864) 843-4343. [www.sealevel.com]. October 2008

49


Products & TECHNOLOGY ATCA Blade Features Intel Dual Quad-Core Processors

An AdvancedTCA node blade supports Intel Xeon processors coupled with the power-optimized Intel 5100 Memory Controller Hub (MCH) chipset operating with up to 1333 MHz Front Side Bus. The PRA-200 from JumpGen Systems features dual 10 Gbit/s fabric interfaces and may be deployed with 1 or 2 quad-core processors to host high-bandwidth embedded communication applications. The PRA-200 design may be configured with an AdvancedMC, PMC, or SATA hard drive expanding customer deployment options. The PRA-200 is one of several JumpGen products that support 10 Gbit/s fabric addressing growing market requirements for IP networks. The PRA-200 features one or two low-power Intel Xeon L5408 quad-core processors running at up to 2.13GHz or Intel Xeon dual-core L5238 processors at up to 2.66 GHz or yet other Intel Xeon processors 5400, 5300, 5200 and 5100 Series. It includes the Intel 5100 Memory Controller Hub supporting Front Side Bus up to 1333 MHz. The blade supports up to 32 Gbytes of ECC DDR2 memory running at 667 MHz and up to 16 Gbytes of SSD, also useable as persistent memory. The PICMG 3.1 dual 10GigE ATCA Fabric Interfaces can also function as 1GigE. The front panel I/O includes 10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet, RS-232 Serial and USB, and the board is RoHS compliant JumpGen Systems, Carlsbad, CA. (760) 931-7800. [www.JumpGen.com].

Fanless Ultra-Low-Voltage Celeron M PC/104-Plus SBC

A fanless PC/104-Plus embedded single board computer (SBC) boasts the processing power of Intel’s ultra-low-voltage Celeron M CPU, but operates without a fan and uses only eight watts of power. The new Cheetah EPM-32v from VersaLogic is targeted at applications such as medical, avionics, navigation and tracking, system monitoring and security/ homeland defense that require substantial processing power and low power draw, as well as extensive features in a rugged, compact design. The Cheetah is especially well suited for embedded control applications requiring a very small footprint, which the 3.6” x 3.8” (90 mm x 96 mm) size provides. Standard onboard features of this RoHS-compliant SBC include two COM ports, two USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, IDE, LPT, audio and PS/2 keyboard/mouse support. The board also features integrated high-performance video with support for both analog monitors and LVDS flat panels. The Extreme Graphics 2 video processor includes high-speed 3-D rendering, full-motion video and MPEG-2 decoding. The PC/104-Plus interface supports both ISA and PCI add-on modules. Standard pass-through connectors allow the board to be used above other PC/104 modules. It may also be used as a CPU module for larger systems, by plugging it into a proprietary base board that includes specific user I/O circuitry. As with other VersaLogic embedded computer boards, the fanless Cheetah includes a customizable, OEM-enhanced BIOS that is field-upgradeable. It is designed to work with embedded operating systems, including Windows CE/XP/XPe, Linux, VxWorks, QNX, DOS and others. The EPM32v is available starting at $1,170 in OEM quantities. VersaLogic, Eugene, OR. (541) 485-8575. [www.VersaLogic.com].

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October 2008

PC/104-Express Card with Intel Atom Processor 4x COM and GPS

Based on the latest Intel Atom processor, a PC/104-Express board can be used for applications in battery-powered mobile computers, information terminals with video displays, game systems with music output, measuring instruments and telecommunication devices. Besides the fast CPU, the MSM200X/XL/XP

from Digital-Logic provides all standard PC interfaces required for such demanding applications, including Ethernet LAN, an audio controller (HDA-AC97), four RS-232 interfaces, two SATA and one PATA interfaces. In addition, the PCI/104-Express bus (PCI + PCIe), PCIe Minicard and six USB interfaces are available as functional extensions. The PCIe Minicard permits extending the board with GSM or WLAN functions. Optionally the MSM200 can be equipped with a GPS receiver (COM4). The typical power consumption of only 4W or 5W allows passive cooling within a very broad working temperature range. All three options (X, XL and XP) are equipped with the SMA200 Atom Z510/ Z530 processor (1.1 or 1.6 GHz) and offer up to 1 Gbyte RAM. The XL version is a lowcost variant without battery or sound codec, while the XP version features a 4 Gbyte SDD on board (optional for the two other variants). The versions MSM200X and MSM200XP are also available for the extended temperature range of -40°C to +85°C. The boards have dimensions of 90 mm x 96 mm (W x L) and a weight of 105 or 115 grams respectively. The MSM200 is priced starting at 364.00 Euros in quantities of 100 or more. Digital-Logic, Luterbach, Switzerland. +41 (0)32/ 681 58 40. [www.digitallogic.ch].


Test and Verification Suite Now Covers DO178B

A software verification and test tool suite has extended its complement of programming standards and code coverage up to DO-178B Level A certification, an essential certification level for the avionics sector. This latest version of the LDRA tool suite from LDRA Software Technology adds TBreq v2.2, LDRA’s requirements traceability tool, and TBvision, a tool designed to increase visibility for industry standards compliance, security vulnerability and defect and fault detection. The integrations enable LDRA tool suite to verify all aspects of software development from requirements through run-time while easy-to-read graphical reports and other enhancements boost development team productivity. TBreq, LDRA’s collaborative, requirements-focused development and verification solution enables project teams to automate the processes of requirements verification and traceability, solving some of the most difficult aspects of software development. TBvision enables developers to see how the source code performs against security vulnerabilities, fault-detection, and adherence to the required quality standards. Aimed at enhancing collaboration and communication between development teams, TBvision enables managers, team workers and individual developers to collectively monitor testing and quality metrics. During software development, requirements traceability, static analysis, dynamic analysis and testing strategies contribute significantly to software quality and fault reduction. With the additional requirements traceability and graphical reporting in LDRA tool suite v7.7, developers and testers can now enjoy an extremely mature integrated product, capable of identifying faults earlier in the development process and of tracking projects requirements. With faults minimized, fault handling at run-time secures safety-critical software from unforeseen events that can creep in during the operation of complex software applications. LDRA Software Technology, San Bruno, CA. (650) 583-8880. [www.ldra.com].

Full-sized, AdvancedMC SBC Features Core 2 Duo

A full-sized AMC single board computer module features an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.16 GHz processor and is designed for MicroTCA and AdvancedTCA applications. The AMC122 from Performance Technologies adds another high-end offering to the company’s wide line of processor AMCs targeted at emerging design applications in telecommunications, aerospace and defense, enterprise and industrial settings. The AMC122, when combined with Performance Technologies’ MicroTCA platform, the MTC5070, and Carrier Grade Linux OS, NexusWare, offers a ready-to-use solution for next-generation MicroTCA-based applications, such as communication servers, security, and data acquisition and processing applications. Key features include the 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 dual-core architecture processor, and up to 8 Gbyte DRAM. An onboard MiniSD card site with program and operating system storage space enables the module to boot without an external connection. The architecture includes enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology for more efficient power management. The board also provides TCP/IP Offload (TOE), iSCSI and RDMA on Ethernet Channels Performance Technologies, Rochester, NY. (585) 256-0200. [www.pt.com].

Time and Frequency Synchronization OEM Board for Digital Broadcast and WiMAX

A highly reliable, versatile and readable time and frequency engine for digital broadcast and WiMAX applications is a competitively priced, fully integrated GPS synchronization solution in a board ready for integration. The EB03 from Spectracom boasts a state-of-the-art, compact design that is suited for digital broadcast single frequency networks as well as emerging WiMAX infrastructure. The EB03 can also use an external 1PPS or external 10 MHz as its reference in place of GPS. For instance, it switches automatically from one reference to another while minimizing phase jump. Depending on the customer’s configuration, the connectors can be positioned on the top or bottom of the board in the factory before shipment for maximizing space. The EB03 features remote management via SNMP. From the convenience of a PC, hundreds of transmitters can be monitored and configured regardless of their geographic location. For best WiMAX performance, the EB03 can be configured with a low-cost oscillator resulting in competitive pricing, which is critical for successful WiMAX implementation worldwide. For the most precise performance, mandatory for digital broadcast, a high-performance OCXO oscillator is available. The EB03 is RoHS compliant. Spectracom, Rochester, NY. (585) 321-5800. [www.spectracomcorp.com].

October 2008

51


Products & TECHNOLOGY SATA Disk Module Expands SSD Solutions for Industry and Embedded

A new SATA Disk Module (SDM) meets an expanded range of SATA storage demand applications. The new SDM SSD (solid-state disk) series is available with a 7-pin or 22-pin connector that is oriented at 90 degrees or 180 degrees and is designed for a variety of housing configurations adopted in industrial, embedded, and commercial computers. Supporting SATA 1.5 Gbit/s and read and write speeds up to 35 Mbytes/s and 25 Mbytes/s respectively, the SDM offers high reliability based on high-speed single level cell (SLC) flash memory in capacities of 128 Mbytes to 4 Gbytes, particularly well-suited for applications such as POS, kiosk, gaming, digital signage, STB, low-cost NB surveillance systems and Thin client. Certified for MIL-STD-810F shock-resistance and anti-vibration, the SDM is suitable for harsh operating conditions in extended temperatures of -40° to 85°C, and includes 8-bit ECC for high reliability. With less than 300 defective parts per million (DPPM), the SDM has undergone on-going reliability testing (ORT) to guarantee product dependability and longevity, with a mean time between failures (MTBF) of two million hours. The SDM delivers the many benefits of solid-state disks, including shock and vibration resistance, durability and energy-saving. Extensive reliability tests, such as temperature, humidity, vibration and impact, are performed on SDMs to ensure the highest quality.

Fanless PC/104 Card Sports 500 MHz Geode LX800

The PC/104 form factor with its compact size and inherent ruggedness continues to be a favorite for space-constrained industrial applications. Diamond Systems announced its latest PC/104 form factor single board computer, Rhodeus, based on the AMD LX800 processor. Rhodeus offers mid-range computing power in a compact, low power consumption and low cost PC/104 single board computer.

Apacer Technology, Taipei, Taiwan. +886-2-2696-1666. [www.apacer.com].

Timing Card for PCI Express Offers Flexibility and Low Cost

A new bus-level timing card for the PCI Express peripheral component interconnect standard is targeted at synchronizing critical operations in embedded computing systems for industries such as aerospace, defense and industrial automation. The new TSync-PCIe time code processor from Spectracom is based on the company’s new time synchronization platform that offers the most flexibility including the ability to add features in the field from future development and changes in user deployment. The TSync-PCIe comes with a comprehensive set of standard features to allow users to read and generate time codes, program timing and frequency signals, and time-stamp events with greater flexibility than before. The card has the ability to read multiple prioritized time codes, generate multiple time codes and other synchronization outputs, and time tag multiple signals at a maximum rate over 50,000 events per second. Not only does the TSync-PCIe support a large variety of synchronization needs, it easily integrates into the software environment of the application because it is supplied with drivers for the latest versions of popular operating systems including Linux, Windows and Solaris. The time code processor is offered with an option for enhanced timing accuracy in case of loss of the synchronization references. Synchronization to GPS is available via an onboard or remote GPS receiver. Spectracom, Rochester, NY. (585) 321-5800. [www.spectracomcorp.com].

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October 2008

Rhodeus is based on the AMD Geode LX800 processor operating fanless at 500 MHz. It includes 64 Kbyte L1 cache and 128 Kbyte L2 cache. The board supports up to 1 Gbyte of DDR SDRAM using a SO-DIMM socket. It provides both IDE and CompactFlash mass storage options. Video consists of an integrated VGA controller with 2D acceleration and support for high-resolution CRT and LCD displays. A full set of I/O is provided to support application requirements, including Ethernet, UDMA-33 IDE, two USB 2.0 ports, one RS-232 and one RS-232/422/485 serial port, floppy, legacy keyboard and mouse, and programmable watchdog timer. Power consumption is 5W typical, and operating temperature is 0° to 60°C. The board includes the PC/104 ISA bus for additional I/O expansion. The Rhodeus single board computer is available immediately. Prices start under $350 in small quantities for models with 256 Mbytes of DDR SDRAM. Diamond Systems, Mountain View, CA. (650) 810-2500. [www.diamondsystems.com].


45nm Dual-Core Processor Powers 6U CompactPCI Board

Representing a higher performance-per-watt standard in the 6U CompactPCI class for rugged reliability, availability, scalability, manageability (RASM) applications, the new CP6016 from Kontron is based on the high-performance and low-power 45nm Intel Core2 Duo processor T9400. This CompactPCI board excels over the previous 65nm Intel Core2 Duo processor T7500-based board with up to 25 percent faster core speeds (2.53 GHz), 50 percent more L2 cache (6 Mbytes) and a 60 percent faster FSB (1066 MHz) with similar energy consumption. Designed for densely packed, thermally constrained CompactPCI systems that require the most performance in a typical 50 watt or less power envelope, the power-optimized CP6016 enables out-of-band communication with all hardware components through the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI). It thereby meets standards for the management of high-availability applications and there is an onboard Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) for data and software protection. This makes the CP6016 board exceptionally attractive to multiple markets, including highly sensitive, security-relevant telecom and datacom applications. Bandwidthintensive image processing, multimedia and test and measurement applications will also benefit from the 6 Mbytes of L2 cache and up to 16 Gbytes of registered DDR2 ECC SO-RDIMM memory. For additional application flexibility the Kontron CP6016 CPU board comes with an extensive range of interfaces: 6x SATA ports with RAID 0/1/5 functionality for enhanced data security, 7 x USB 2.0 ports, 2 RS-232 ports, VGA and High Definition Audio (HDA) interfaces as well as 5 x Gigabit Ethernet interfaces connected via PCI Express to meet the high-performance requirements of communications applications. One of the 6 available SATA ports can be used for an onboard 2.5-inch SATA hard drive. An XMC socket (via PCI Express x8) and PMC socket for mezzanine cards ensure plenty of room for customized expansions. An onboard USB flash option completes the feature set of the CP6016, which can be used in a system or peripheral slot. The CP6016 CompactPCI 6U processor board runs with Linux, Microsoft Windows XP, XP embedded or Windows Server 2003. Highly integrated support packages support all onboard hardware devices, and also specific features like Hotswap, IPMI, power and thermal management, enabling effortless integration among scalable multi-CPU systems.

Module Enables ZigBee Network Control from a PC

Based on a 2.4 GHz ZigBee-compliant radio transceiver and featuring mesh networking using the latest EmberZNet 3.1 ZigBee PRO software, the ETRX2USB stick from Telegesis is an attractive complement to the Telegesis range of Zigbee mesh networking modules and provides an easy route to Zigbeeenable a PC or any USB device to monitor and control a ZigBee network. Success in reducing all critical dimensions of the assembly has resulted in a new slimmer, smaller module making it suitable for applications where physical size is important or where the ETRX2USB must reside in close proximity to other USB peripherals. The height of the new USB stick has been reduced by over 30% and overall volume is reduced by over 40%. Additionally, a new redesigned light pipe in the casing allows a clear visual indication of ZigBee network activity via an onboard LED. The ETRX2USB module is a full-speed USB2.0 device; powered by the USB bus, the module supports low power modes and can be configured as a ZigBee coordinator, router, or end device. The new stick is also available as a PA version with additional power amplification offering a boosted output power. To reduce time-to-market and simplify design, the ETRX2USB module utilizes the Telegesis AT style command line interface, which allows a designer to quickly integrate ZigBee meshing radio technology into a design without the need for complex programming or RF design experience. The USB stick acts effectively as a USB2.0 to serial bridge, and by using a virtual COM port, the AT command set can be easily accessed by host application software. As a starting point for designers, Telegesis supplies its “Telegesis Terminal� software with the ETRX2 USB stick. This application is specifically designed to let designers quickly gain an understanding of how the Telegesis AT command set is used to manage a network of Telegesis ZigBee ETRX devices and helps in connecting to Telegesis wireless ZigBee modules by sending commands and viewing responses received from remote ETRX ZigBee devices. Designers aiming to develop custom firmware are also well supported by the addition of an in-circuit Programming/Debugging header accessible under a small rubber seal on the side of the USB stick. Telegesis. Marlow, UK. +44 (0) 1628 894347. [www.telegesis.com].

Kontron, Poway, CA. (888)-294-4558. [www.kontron.com].

October 2008

53


Products & TECHNOLOGY Switching Power Manager with USB On-The-Go and Overvolt Protection

A multifunction power management IC is aimed at Li-Ion/Polymer battery-based applications such as HDD-based media players, digital cameras, personal navigation devices, PDAs, smart phones and automotive-compatible portable electronics. The LTC3576 from Linear Technology features a bidirectional switching power manager with input overvoltage protection and USB On-The-Go (OTG) functionality, a stand-alone battery charger, three high-efficiency synchronous buck regulators, an ideal diode, I2C control, plus an always-on LDO, all in a compact, low-profile 4 mm x 6 mm QFN package. The LTC3576’s USB-compatible bidirectional switching regulator features programmable input current limits of 100 mA and 500 mA, as well as a 1A wall adapter input current limit. For fast charging, the LTC3576 converts nearly all of the 2.5W available from the USB port to charging current, enabling up to 700 mA from a 500 mA limited USB supply and up to 1.5A from a wall adapter. The bidirectional switching regulator can also take power from the battery to generate 5V and deliver up to 500 mA for USB OTG applications without any additional components. The IC provides an overvoltage protection (OVP) control circuit that prevents damage to its input from the accidental application of voltages as high as 66V. The OVP circuit can protect the USB port even when the IC is providing power for USB OTG. The LTC3576’s PowerPath control with automatic load prioritization seamlessly manages power flow between a variety of input power sources such as a wall adapter or USB port and the Li-Ion/Polymer battery while preferentially providing power to the system load. The IC’s "instant-ON" operation ensures system load power even with a discharged battery. An internal 180 mOhm ideal diode plus optional external ideal diode controller provide a low loss power path from the battery to the load when input power is limited or unavailable. Pricing starts at $4.80 each for 1,000-piece quantities. Linear Technology, Milpitas, CA. (408) 432-1900.[www.linear.com].

Increased Capacity and Performance Target Card for Use in Professional Video

Speed and capacity keep leapfrogging in CompactFlash memory. The SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash (CF) card is the latest addition to the SanDisk Extreme III line. Combining very high storage capacity with fast data transfer rates, the new memory card is designed to meet the demands of professional digital videographers and photographers. For many cards, an increase in storage capacity often comes at a cost to speed, but the 32 Gbyte SanDisk Extreme III CF card at 30 Mbytes/s offers customers the best of both worlds. The 32 Gbyte SanDisk Extreme III CF card provides increased capacity for longer-duration filming, and its 30 Mbyte/s (200x) read and write speeds enable users to record and transfer content quickly and reliably, thus maximizing critical workflow. These complementary features make the new card especially attractive to field producers and camera crews who typically operate under tight deadlines. The 32 Gbyte SanDisk Extreme III CF card also benefits professional photographers, who often shoot strictly in RAW format. RAW images demand up to ten times as much space as regular JPG images. Photographers often use continuous shooting mode during high-action situations such as sporting events or theatrical performances, and the high-resolution photos add up quickly. SanDisk Extreme III CF cards have a guaranteed operating temperature, ranging from -25° to +185°C). The manufacturer’s suggested price in the United States is $299.99. SanDisk, Milpitas, CA. (408) 801-1000. www.sandisk.com [http://www.sandisk.com].

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HMI Development Software Features Enhanced Local & Remote Security,

A suite of fast HMI application development software features a combination of HMI functions, including multimedia capability, remote PC access, high-speed device linking and a built-in control logic editor. The GP-Pro EX software from Pro-face America is designed to speed application development for both OEMs and end-users who need to standardize on one HMI package that supports both Microsoft Windows-based systems and dedicated operator interfaces.

New security features in GP-Pro EX applications reduce system tampering and provide a safe machine environment by managing access to both the local machine and remote maintenance and control tools. The addition of object-based security at the HMI screen level means key individuals have access to critical controls, greatly reducing development time. Tampering and accountability are reduced using an operation log that tracks operator changes that have occurred via data entry or with the editing of any object on the screen. GP-Pro EX’s new Smart Simulation feature allows developers to test entire projects on their laptops—at their desk or on a plane. No external hardware or cabling is required. The software simulates HMI screens, ladder logic and external devices. Once complete, a tested project can then be e-mailed to a customer. The new Object Animation feature changes the appearance of objects on the screen based on plant conditions or the security clearance of the operator. To simplify operator interaction, objects on the screen can disappear when not needed, moving or rotating parts can be animated, and tank colors can change in accordance with temperatures. The expanded set of remote connectivity tools in GP-Pro EX Version 2.2 are designed to monitor, control, upgrade, diagnose and upload logged information on machines around the world without the need to travel on-site. Pricing starts at $295. Pro-face America, Saline, MI. (734) 429-4971. [www.profaceamerica.com].


GPU in XMC Card Billed as Obsolescence-Proof

A PCI Express Mezzanine Card (XMC) was conceived to address the ongoing needs of high safety- and security-critical applications such as primary flight instrumentation and multi-level security (MLS) systems. Certifiable to DO-178B for software and DO-254 for hardware, the Sentiris AV1 from Quantum3D offers an obsolescence-proof design. This is accomplished by leveraging a field programmable gate array (FPGA)-based video and graphics processing core instead of the traditional approach of using dedicated graphics processing units (GPUs), which are rapidly made obsolete by end-of-life (EOL) announcements. The hardware, the core of which is Xilinx’s Virtex 5 FPGA, is programmed as an embedded GPU that can be upgraded over the lifetime of the product. The company’s approach is different from traditional GPUs, however, in that it has fully DO-254-certifiable firmware rather than the traditional approach of obtaining a hardware waiver based on a statistical time test. While originally designed for applications such as flight-certified image generation, the Sentiris AV1 is also applicable for other uses, such as real-time imaging for medical applications. The product’s video and graphics processing capabilities with analog and HD-SDI video outputs enable three-dimensional graphics in cockpits and mission-critical applications in particular. Its upgradability means that safety-critical applications can be rapidly implemented without the fear of obsolescence as GPUs are quickly EOLed when new GPUs come to market. This is crucial for embedded applications requiring long lifecycles, robust performance, reliable operation and design flexibility to address future needs. Integrators can use Sentiris AV1 with any operating system or CPU environment because the driver and all other software have been written from the ground up with DO-178B practices. This is in contrast to commercial GPUs, which are typically limited to Windows, Linux and x86 architectures with no access to source code. In addition to its safety-critical DO-178B and DO-254 certifiability, Sentiris AV1 meets the shock, vibration, temperature and other requirements of MIL-STD-810F, making it suited for the harsh and demanding environmental conditions posed by military and civilian field-computing implementations. Sentiris AV1 offers 512 Mbytes of ECC-protected DDR2 memory, dual RGB and dual HD-SDI outputs and eight lanes of PCI Express. The product comes standard as a conduction-cooled XMC. Pricing starts at $9,980. Quantum3D. San Jose, CA. (408) 361-9999. [www.quantum3d.com].

Ruggedized MicroTCA 19-Inch Rackmount Enclosures

A new ruggedized 19-inch rackmount MicroTCA chassis features modified front panels that can be secured to the chassis. This provides more protection for shock and vibration. Shock absorbers/dampers can also be added to the enclosure for extra protection. Thermal management can be achieved via either convection or conduction-cooling. The 19-inch rackmount enclosures are designed to meet MIL-STD-810F, 167, 461D and 901D. Standard ruggedization techniques can be utilized, including a shock isolated card cage and device mounting. Rugged chassis shells are incorporated using thick aluminum sheets, extrusions and die-castings. The MicroTCA backplane used has 6 AMC, 1 MCH, 1 PM (to 600W) slots. Optimized via signal integrity studies, the backplane supports PCI Express, Serial Rapid I/O and 10GBase-BX4 Switching. It has direct SATA / SAS connections and three synchronization clock networks. Other configurations are available. Other chassis features include front-to-rear evacuative cooling, line filter, GND stud, shielded relay, I/O panel, USB port and fuse holder. The removable fan tray has 1x (120 mm x 120 mm) fan and 2x (40 mm x 40 mm) fans and a finger guard. The price is under $7,500, depending on volume and options. Elma Electronic, Fremont, CA. (510) 656-3400. [www.elma.com].

Solid-State Storage PCI-104 RAID Adapter Boasts over One Million Cycles

A high-performance PCI-104 32-bit, 33 MHz, 4 channel SSD RAID adapter supports data rates of up to 120 Mbytes/s. The LT-PCI-104-CF from Lauron Technologies adopts the PC/104 stacking architecture offering embedded designs a compact solidstate storage device. This single-slot adapter is available in 2 Gbyte to 64 Gbyte capacities and is populated with only the fastest, most reliable SLC Compact Flash modules available today. Since the adapter houses all SSD memory, the LT-PCI-104-CF provides a suitable single-card solution for non-rotating media requirements. The unit has an MTBF greater than 1,000,000 hours provided by built-in EDC/ECC and wear leveling algorithms. The endurance boasts Erase/Write Cycles greater than 1,000,000, with an extended version that offers 2,000,000 Erase/Write Cycles. The benefit of the built-in flash SSD controller/bridge is that it supports Ultra DMA modes, which yield data transfers at speeds of up to 133 Mbytes/s per channel. The LT-PCI-104-CF supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, RAID 5 or JBOD. Stripping modes transfers data to all 4 channels simultaneously while mirror modes transfers data on both channels. The LT-PCI-104-CF is shipped with Windows and Linux Device drivers along with RAID management utilities. Delivery for the LT-PCI-104-CF is 2 weeks ARO. Lauron Technologies, Naples, FL. (239) 431-6237. [www.laurontech.com]. October 2008

55


NEWS, VIEWS &

Comment October 2008

Warren Andrews Associate Publisher

A Deafening Crash

T

he tremendous clamor of the crash of the financial markets has all but obliterated all other news of the time. Investment banks are falling by the wayside. Household names in the finance business that I grew up with are gone—Lehman Brothers is out, Merrill Lynch has been gobbled up, AIG is the walking wounded with an infusion of some $85 billion from the Treasury, and more salvage work is ongoing. We’ve seen the largest commercial bank ever to fail: Washington Mutual. And, as this goes to press, Congress continues to bicker over details of what will ultimately be the largest and most expensive bailout of what’s left of the financial community. Everyone asks “how is this going to affect me?” Ultimately, we’ll all be affected in some way or other. But how is this expected to impact the embedded-computer community? A friend once commented that when elephants fight, it’s the ants that suffer. So, as the titans of finance try to battle their way out of insolvency, the capital investment that is the lubricant of industry starts to dry up. This trickles down from the large megaliths to small companies alike. I am already hearing cries of dismay from a number of embedded-computer suppliers that projects are being put out into the future, perhaps indefinitely—and in some cases canceled. This is as true for companies serving the military and aerospace markets as it is for those in the commercial sector. The watchword now, as in the past, is caution. However, the bailout will happen (and I’m sure will have happened before this reaches the street) and perhaps the financial community may never be the same, but there remains a bright future for a large segment of the embedded-computer business. The name of the game is to jump into the fray and take advantage of your competitors cowering by the sidelines.

Almost Lost in the Noise

Amid all the noise of happenings on Wall Street, it was almost missed that lawmakers set aside $487.7 billion for the defense department in a quickly cobbled together bundle of bills that cleared the House and is expected to be passed by the Senate

56

October 2008

and signed by the President well before this goes to print. This amount was “only” $4 billion less than requested by the White House and will undoubtedly leave Congress and the next president to hash out problems dealing with government spending in the midst of the Wall Street crisis. Some quick details of the bill include a $26 million boost in FCS’ $3.6 billion request (see NV&C September), $2.7 billion for 36 V-22 Osprey aircraft, a half billion dollar increase above the $2.9 billion to keep the F-22 Raptor alive, another 6.3 billion for continued work on the F-35 (also dropping the number of planes to be purchased to 14 from 16) and a bequest to GE to develop a second source to UTI’s Pratt & Whitney’s F-35 power plant. Further, Congress has displayed its superior knowledge of Naval matters and strategy by going against the Navy’s plan to eliminate a third “high-tech” destroyer. Navy officials succumbed to what was described as “intense political pressure,” giving shipbuilders Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics a new lease on the program. I’m not at all sure how this will be reflected in the bottom line of suppliers of embedded computers and electronics in coming months. I’ve been hearing from at least a small handful of vendors that it’s certainly not business as usual. Program managers are reported to be more tight-fisted with their budgets, and the typical end-of-year purchases to use up leftover funds are not happening.

Intel Is Alive and Well

As Intel rounds out its 40th year, a recent interview of company president and CEO Paul Otellini detailed some of the company’s plans for the future. However, I believe it also gave former CEO Craig Barrett a bum rap. Otellini is the fifth CEO in the company’s 40-year history, stepping into the shoes of such industry greats as Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove— another sign of my advancing age, I have known and interviewed them all at some time or other. Barrett was at the helm of Intel during some pretty turbulent


years. He will always carry the baggage of trying to jump on the communications bandwagon through billions of dollars in purchases of companies, many of which were near and dear to our hearts: Ziatech, Dialogic and a host of others. While Barrett, like many others failed to see the bursting of the dot.com bubble, he had the foresight to dramatically invest in new process capacity setting the stage for Intel’s current growth. This showed courage as, at the time, the economy was in a tailspin and most companies were pulling in their horns. Intel, under the leadership of Otellini, came out from under assault from its major competitor, AMD (whether it was Intel’s leap forward or AMD’s move in the other direction is still in debate), and continued to develop new generations of processors. These include a number of multicore devices and perhaps most notable, the Atom family of low-power processors now taking the market by storm. What’s ahead for Intel? We’ve covered a lot of it in these pages in the past, but Otellini reiterates that the company has to dominate cell phone and mobile device markets as well as personal computers. He envisions an x86-based processor in everything. Where’s the technology future? “I guarantee you that Moore’s Law will not end on my watch,” he says. So expect to see Intel continue process development on a grand scale. Probably at a grand price. In other Intel news, the company’s latest addition to its Xeon line, code named Dunnington, gets rave reviews by computer makers. The six-core chip has gotten favorable responses from companies such as IBM, Dell, HP and Sun who are looking at the chip for server products. Separately, Intel has boosted the speed of its Xeon chips while decreasing power dissipation.

Whither Goeth VPX?

Talking with some industry people, the VSO VPX standard keeps coming up. This high-speed standard was developed to provide a next-generation performance to systems that have run out of gas using traditional VME—and perhaps need to squeeze the system into a smaller space (3U). While the standard remains relatively new, there are reports that several hundred development platforms have been shipped and that contractors are looking to include the technology in a variety of next-generation systems. Aside from the market being seeded with development platforms, backplane and enclosure makers claim significant design wins. However, there are vague reports out there of problems with the ruggedness of the connector. It’s expected these issues will be resolved and at least one connector company has a new connector ready to go. However, at least one system developer reports that the cost of VPX is relatively high and many of their programs don’t need the higher performance. This is yet another indication that budgets are being tightened. It has backed off to conduction-cooled, 3U CompactPCI, which has sufficient performance at a lower cost and with a critical mass of suppliers. And while talking about the x86 architecture (and forthcoming systems based on Intel’s Atom family and other multicore processors), I spent the afternoon with the surviving entity of the old VentureCom company that supplies a real-time, determin-

istic operating environment for the x86. Without going into the history of mergers and acquisitions over the past decade or so, the new company named IntervalZero continues the VentureCom tradition of leadership (VentureCom developed one of the first real-time OS for the x86). Look for some interesting developments from IntervalZero in the coming months as it looks at next-generation processors.

Headlines from Other News

IBM may quit standards bodies: IBM is reviewing its membership in many standards bodies because of frustration with opaque processes and poor decision making at some of the technical standards bodies. Gordon Moore gets 2008 IEEE Medal of Honor “for pioneering technical roles in integrated circuit processing and leadership in the development of MOS memory, the microprocessor and semiconductor industry.” HP lays off 24,600 workers: The layoff comes in the afGordon Moore termath of HP’s acquisition of EDS. Couldn’t happen at a worse time for the employees. Cray ventures into small computers: Supercomputer maker Cray has a new line of computers starting at $25,000, using Intel’s processors and a version of Microsoft’s Windows. It’s looking at the market that needs more than a PC, but not a supercomputer.

Mergers and Acquisitions

International Rectifier turns down a $23/share buyout bid from Vishay Intertechnology, saying the $1.7 billion offer significantly undervalues IR’s prospects. SanDisk Rejects Samsung Offer: More turndowns than acceptances this time around. SanDisk spurned a $5.8 billion cash offer from Samsung. Power supply giant, Cherokee International to be acquired by Lineage Power Holdings: The deal went down for about $105 million in cash. Transmeta Seeks Buyer: Former chip design company plans to sell itself. In recent times it has resorted to being a business based on licensing its patents. It got a settlement from Intel that should ease the sale process.

October 2008

57


with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for.

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Advertiser Index Get Connected with technology and companies providing solutions now Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for.

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Acromag................................................................................................................19................................................................................................ www.acromag.com ACT/Technico........................................................................................................22............................................................................................www.acttechnico.com

Products

End of Article

AIM - USA .............................................................................................................39........................................................................................ www.aimusa-online.com Austin Semiconductor.............................................................................................4...............................................................................www.austinsemiconductor.com Birdstep Technology..............................................................................................21................................................................................................. www.birdstep.com Concurrent Technologies Plc..................................................................................31..................................................................................................... www.gocct.com

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congatec...............................................................................................................24................................................................................................www.congatec.com products featured in this section.

with companies mentioned in this article.

www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Data Device Corporation.........................................................................................2.................................................................................................. www.ddc-web.com Diamond Systems Corporation...............................................................................30....................................................................................www.diamondsystems.com Digital Logic AG.....................................................................................................26............................................................................................. www.digitallogic.com ELMA Electronic Systems.......................................................................................32...................................................................................................... www.elma.com

Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnectedwww.embeddedforecast.com Embedded Market Forecaster................................................................................35................................................................................. Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Eurotech...............................................................................................................23.................................................................................................... www.eurotech.it GE Fanuc Embedded Systems.................................................................................9.................................................................................. www.gefanucembedded.com

Harting, Inc. EPT....................................................................................................37.............................................................................www.harting.com, www.ept.com Innovative Integration............................................................................................16........................................................................................www.innovative-dsp.com Interface Concept..................................................................................................12....................................................................................www.interfaceconcept.com Lippert Embedded Computers................................................................................20................................................................................................www.lippert-at.com Magma.................................................................................................................59.................................................................................................. www.magma.com MEN Micro, Inc......................................................................................................13.............................................................................................. www.menmicro.com Micro/sys, Inc.......................................................................................................29........................................................................................ www.embeddedsys.com Ocean Server Technology.......................................................................................36.......................................................................................... www.ocean-server.com One Stop Systems.................................................................................................33.................................................................................... www.onestopsystems.com Orion Technologies,Inc...........................................................................................45............................................................................................www.otisolutions.com Pentair Electronic Packaging..................................................................................17.............................................................................................. www.pentair-ep.com Pentek, Inc............................................................................................................11................................................................................................... www.pentek.com Phoenix International.............................................................................................45................................................................................................ www.phenxint.com Phoenix International.............................................................................................60................................................................................................ www.phenxint.com Sensoray Company................................................................................................25................................................................................................www.sensoray.com Themis Computer..................................................................................................38................................................................................................... www.themis.com VME SBC Product Showcase............................................................................... 46,47.......................................................................................................................... WinSystems..........................................................................................................15............................................................................................www.winsystems.com

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October 2008


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