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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   If it’s embedded, it’s Kontron.
                                          CONTENTS


Small Form Factor Boards
COM Express Compact module features
integrated condition monitoring                            4

Intelligence: WHERE You Need It,
WHEN You Need It                                           6

Replacing discontinued modules forces
ETX module transplantation                            10

Mini-ITX boards with AMD processors
hit the ground running                                12

Small form factor boards embrace
new generation of the Atom family                     15

Embedded Computing
Highlighting the evolution
in embedded design                                    17

COTS
FMC standard benefits high-speed
FPGAs in aerospace and defense                        20

CompactPCI cards for advanced
avionics systems development                          22                             ETX®
DO-178C and COTS: challenges
and opportunities for avionics software               24
                                                                                     MSC ETE-PV510
                                                                                     ETX Modul with Intel®
Communications                                                                       Atom Dual Core Processor
10G Ethernet is poised to become
the next true standard in networking                  28                             Intel’s 2nd generation Atom with dual core
Performance gains from multi-core                                                    processor on a long-term available ETX module.
processors partnered with ATCA                        32                             The perfect technology refresh for well established
                                                                                     embedded systems.
Built-in development and debugging
tools in MicroTCA systems                             36                             Lead your ETX based device to new success
                                                                                     by simply changing the module!
Industrial Computing                                                                 I   Intel® Atom™ D510 (1.66GHz, Dual Core),
Will Ethernet be the only train bus                                                      integrated Intel® GMA3150 graphics core
in the trains of the future?                          39                             I   Intel® ICH8M I/O controller hub
Performance to the full -                                                            I   Up to 2GB DDR2 SDRAM
even under extreme conditions                         41                             I   2x SATA-300, 2x PATA
Rugged vehicle computing platforms                                                   I   10/100 Base-T Ethernet
– design considerations                               45                             I   LVDS interface (18 Bit)
Modular controllers enable platform                                                  I   CRT interface up to 2048 x 1536 pixels
concept for custom applications                       48                             I   Dual Independent Displays supported
                                                                                     I   Flash Disk option (up to 8 GB, bootable)
                                                                                     I   6x USB 2.0
                                                                                     I   Audio interface
                                                                                     I   Legacy interfaces (LPT, COM1/2, PS/2, ISA Bus)
                                                                                     I   ETX 3.02 compliant
                                                                                     I   Windows® 7, XP (embedded), CE and Linux supported




                   Cover Photo
                   Lippert Embedded Computers
                                                               V-10_2010-WOEI-5262




                                                                                                  MSC Vertriebs GmbH
                             3             December 2010                                          +49 8165 906-122 · boards@msc-ge.com
                                                                                                  www.msc-ge.com
    SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS



COM Express Compact module features
integrated condition monitoring
by Peter Kannegießer, Lippert Embedded Computers


             With the Toucan-TC, LiPPERT
             Embedded Computers offers
           a Computer-On-Module in the
                well-known COM Express
            Compact form factor. Its fea-
             tures CAN bus interface and
                condition monitoring are
              unique for standard COMs.




n Embedded PCs have increasingly found com-        North Bridge to access the RAM. In the E6xxT        LEMT
mon use in recent years. Their applications        processor, this is replaced by an integrated        Embedded computer systems are often used
now range from simple data acquisition systems     memory controller, which saves an integrated        in stand-alone systems that must operate reli-
to complex control systems. Together with          circuit on the board. Likewise, a separate exter-   ably for long periods without intervention.
this comes a growing complexity of the appli-      nal graphics unit no longer required. It is also    For this they are constantly observed — their
cation, requiring extensive flexibility of the     already integrated in the CPU. The correspon-       loss can usually not be tolerated. To monitor
hardware. To meet this demand for flexibility,     ding EG20T Platform Controller Hub (PCH)            their operational state, so-called condition
small form factor Computer-On-Module               contains all the embedded-range standard in-        monitoring can is used. With condition mon-
(COM) are often used, which reduce the com-        terfaces such as LAN, USB, Serial, CAN, SATA        itoring, the module’s key parameters can be
plexity of modern processors and chipsets the      and other I/O functions. This compact and ef-       proactively observed and, when required,
developer must handle by using standardized        ficient combination of processing unit and IO       preventive maintenance can be initiated.
interfaces. These COMs can be easily used as       controller unit allows the creation of small,       Condition monitoring includes not only the
building blocks, like integrated circuits in an    battery-powered, high-
electronic device.                                 performance X86 systems.

With the Toucan-TC, LiPPERT Embedded               The two-chip solution al-
Computers offers a Computer-On-Module in           lows the integration of
the well-known COM Express Compact form            the full functionality on
factor, whose low power consumption makes          a small, only 95 mm x 95
it ideal for battery-powered, mobile applica-      mm very small measuring
tions. The other features of the module -CAN       COM Express Compact
bus interface and condition monitoring- are        Module. Because the
unique for standard Computer-On-Modules.           COM Express specifica-
                                                   tion defines no connec-
The low power consumption is achieved through      tors for the CAN bus or
the use of the Intel Atom processor E6xxT; this    serial interfaces, the Tou-
newly launched CPU, together with the chipset      can-TC places these on a
has a specified thermal design power (TDP) of      lockable option-connec-
only about 3 watts. Hyper-Threading Technol-       tor. Thus, a mechanically
ogy provides two logical cores, allowing multi-    stable arrangement of
threading for quasi-parallel processing of ap-     these interfaces can be
plications. Previous Intel processors required a   achieved.                      Toucan-TC COM Express Compact with Intel Atom processor E6xxT


    December 2010                                                         4
                                                                                                            SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

   current operating state, but also historical        of the COM module and thus obtains all rel-        BIOS automatically takes over when the first
   records of past conditions. The ambient tem-        evant data. The SMC has built-in flash and         one is corrupted. A white paper with detailed
   perature may serve as an example: whether it        RAM areas, which are made available to the         description of LEMT functions and implemen-
   exceeded or fell below the permissible limits       user by LEMT functions. The flash area is di-      tation is available on LiPPERT’s website. n
   is an essential criterion for the electronics’      vided in manufacturer and user specific part.
   expected life time.                                 The manufacturer part is used to store perti-
                                                       nent information about the device, such as
   It is also desirable to know the actual con-        part number, BIOS revision and the like. The
   sumption data of the system. These include          1 kB user flash is available for persistent data
   the current supply voltages and current. With       of the application. Additionally, there is a
   these values, one can make statements about         128 byte one-time-programmable region of
   the state of the system, which are well above a     flash memory for critical data like security
   simple „Go / No go” statement. When doing           keys that may not be changed. All these fea-
   error analysis, not only records of the envi-       tures are accessed using the user interface
   ronmental conditions are important, but also        program provided by LiPPERT. However,
   details of the up-time, or of any previous          LEMT functionality can also be integrated
   errors that have resulted in the restart of the     into the user’s application. A source code in-
   system. It is also interesting to know the entire   terface is available, providing easy access to
   accumulated run time of the system. Thus, its       LEMT’s functions.
   remaining service life can be estimated easily.
                                                       One last feature worth mentioning, even
   The Toucan-TC has built in support for all          though it is not controllable by the user: the
   these functions, the LiPPERT Embedded Tech-         Fail-Safe-BIOS. If an update fails due to a
   nology Management (LEMT). The LEMT                  power failure during the process, the board
   functions are implemented within the in Sys-        can’t be accessed any longer. In consequence
   tem Management Controller (SMC), a mi-              a technician must repair the unit on-site. The
   crocontroller, which is necessary anyway. It        Fail-Safe-BIOS will help to minimize the sys-       User Interface of the LiPPERT Embedded
   communicates via the SM bus with the chipset        tem downtime and save money. The secondary          Technology Management




Rail Computers for Smarter Railways
Enhanced Efficiency, Productivity and Competitiveness
          ff
Enhanced Efficiency, Productivity and Competitiveness                                                     w w w.moxa.com
                                                                                                          www.moxa.com

                                                                                                          Embedded Computers
                                                                                                          V2426
                                                                                                          Cost-efficient Modular Rail Computers
                                                                                                                ff
                                                                                                          Cost-efficient Modular Rail Computers
                                                                                                          Upgrading Train IT Systems
                                                                                                          Upgrading Train IT Systems
                                                                                                              Wireless Gateway Platform
                                                                                                              Wireless Gateway Platform
                                                                                                              (3.5G, WLAN, GPS)
                                                                                                              (3.5G, WLAN, GPS)
                                                                                                                        LA
                                                                                                              Vehicle Mobile Control Unit Platform
                                                                                                              Vehicle / Mobile Control Unit Platform
                                                                                                              Network Video Recorder Platform
                                                                                                              Network Video Recorder Platform
                                                                                                              (SSD or HDD anti-shock technology)
                                                                                                              (SSD or HDD anti-shock technology)




                                                                                                          Moxa Europe
                                                                                                          Moxa Europe
                                                                                                          Tel: +49-89-3 70 03 99-0
                                                                                                          Tel: +49-89-3 70 03 99-0
                                                                                                          Fax: +49-89-3 70 03 99-99
                                                                                                          Fax: +49-89-3 70 03 99-99
                                                                                                          w w w.moxa.com
                                                                                                          www.moxa.com
    SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS



Intelligence: WHERE You Need It,
WHEN You Need It
An interview with Steve Sciarappo, General Manager, Intel® Embedded and Communications Group, Marketing and
Business Operations, on Intel’s latest embedded products and shortening time-to-market through solutions from the Intel®
Embedded Alliance.


n  Smart people built the Internet. Now, intel-
ligent embedded devices are rapidly populating
it, joining the 1.7 billion people online.1 Intel
and the Intel® Embedded Alliance are helping
fuel this proliferation of connectivity. Em-
bedded devices with built-in intelligence for
everything from energy efficiency to active
management and security are communicating
and controlling one another online, signaling
a new era in the young but quickly growing
embedded Internet.

Roughly 5 billion devices are connected to the
Internet and 15 billion are expected online by
2015.2 Home appliances, electric meters, wind
turbines, medical devices, retail signs, trains,
factory robotics, surveillance systems, grocery
carts, and cars are getting connected, driving
an unstoppable transformation all around us.

With its long history in the embedded industry
and its ecosystem, Intel is in the driver’s seat
and shifting into high gear with new and
better ways to add intelligence to devices. Intel    bedded device – and we are well on our way        A: I’d answer that by asking how hard you
and the Intel Embedded Alliance provide the          to meeting that goal. Intel processors are        want to work to keep up. As the world grows
necessary ingredients to instill embedded            now found in a lot of amazing places with         increasingly connected, do you really want to
devices with all kinds of intelligence, as well as   products that span nearly every segment of        spend resources maintaining multiple code
to make you look smarter by shortening your          the embedded industry, including medical,         bases and tools for multiple architectures? Or
time-to-market. This includes a full range of        digital signage, In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI),   would you rather take advantage of development
Intel® embedded processors and product               and factory automation, among others.             efficiencies that come from relying on a single
technologies, plus a complete choice of boards,                                                        architecture? Intel architecture has an enormous
software, programming/development tools,             The embedded Internet is the common theme         base of existing software, and the broadest set
and integration services.                            in these applications. As we seek to connect      of software development tools and open source
                                                     the embedded world, it only makes sense to        software libraries and utilities. This combination
We discussed how important 2010 will be to           use an architecture that is already popular for   can help organizations speed up software de-
the industry and what the Alliance will bring to     Internet-connected home and business              velopment cycles and shorten time-to-market.
the table, with Steve Sciarappo, General Manager,    computing. By deploying Intel silicon, the em-
Intel® Embedded and Communications Group,            bedded industry can maximize the enormous         Another advantage is the sheer number of
Marketing and Business Operations.                   software investment already made in Intel         Intel architecture-based, off-the-shelf solutions
                                                     architecture. Not only do Internet-connected      available from Alliance members. No other
Q: In recent years, Intel has really expanded        embedded devices run well on Intel architec-      embedded architecture offers this breadth of
its embedded product line and focused on             ture, but organizations can also reuse and        products in so many standard and custom
the embedded space. Why?                             repurpose software across multiple product        form factors. This means embedded developers
                                                     lines and future generations of products.         can tap into the full scalability of our product
A: The reality is that Intel® architecture has                                                         line, from the power-efficient Intel® Atom™
fueled innovation in the embedded space              Q: If I were an embedded developer or origi-      processors to the all new Intel® Core™ i3/i5/i7
for more than 30 years. The growth you are           nal equipment manufacturer (OEM) using a          processors and the industry-leading perform-
seeing today reflects our drive to bring             different architecture, why should I consider     ance/watt of the multi-core Intel® Xeon® pro -
intelligence and connectivity to every em-           switching?                                        cessors. This range of off-the-shelf solutions


    December 2010                                                          6
                                                                                                              SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

                                                         Q: We hear there is excitement about the           power and integrated graphics when used in
                                                         desktop Intel® Core™ processors finding their      MicroTCA™ and AdvancedTCA® integrated
                                                         way into embedded applications. Can you            platforms and it is ideal for use in telecom-
                                                         explain?                                           munications applications and test systems for
                                                                                                            wireline networks.
                                                         A: You must mean the Intel® Core™ i5-660 and
                                                         Core™ i3-540 processors paired with the Intel®     RadiSys developed a low-power single board
                                                         Q57 Express and the Intel® 3450 chipsets. This     computer (SBC) based on an Intel Atom
                                                         two-chip solution integrates the graphics engine   processor for the in-home display sector. This
                                                         in the processor delivering enhanced graphics      product can be used in equipment that tracks
                                                         support for visually demanding applications        energy usage and utility pricing. On the upper
                                                         such as retail POS, digital signage, gaming,       end, they announced the Procelerant™
                                                         medical imaging, and industrial automation         CEQM57 COM Express™ module using the
                                                         and control. This, combined with simultaneous      new Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and mobile
                                                         multithreading, performance-boosting tech-         Intel QM57 Express chipset. These modules
                                                         nologies, remote manageability, and integrated     raise the bar for medical imaging, communi-
                                                         memory controller, offers serious performance      cations, military-aerospace, and test and
                                                         improvements while saving valuable board           measurement applications that require high
                                                         real estate.                                       levels of performance.

                                                         Q: What do the new Intel® Xeon® and Intel®         Emerson Network Power released four new
                                                         Atom™ processors mean to the embedded              products featuring the embedded Intel Core
 Steve Sciarappo: “Intel® processors are now             market?                                            i7 and Core i5 processor and the mobile Intel
 found in a lot of amazing places with prod-                                                                QM57 Express chipset. Form factors include
 ucts that span nearly every segment of the              A: In February we launched the new Intel ®         MicroATX*, COM Express, 6U VME and 3U
 embedded industry.”                                     Xeon ® processor C5500/C3500 series com-           CompactPCI, addressing a wide range of
                                                         bined with the Intel® 3420 chipset. For the        industrial, medical and military/aerospace
makes it easy to buy the right board for each            first time, Intel engineers have integrated        applications, and digital signage and retail and
product. Our top-to-bottom range of pro -                PCI Express* (PCIe*) and all input/output          interactive kiosks. These new platforms feature
cessors and chipsets has fueled an explosion             (I/O) functions onto a dual-processing Intel       high quality digital graphics, advanced man-
of offerings in small form factor designs.               Xeon processor, which greatly facilitates          agement capabilities and the integrated Intel®
                                                         dense storage and communications solu-             Trusted Platform Module enhances data
Q: Speaking of a full embedded product line,             tions such as IPTV, On-Demand Video                security and encryption.
Intel has announced a reassuring seven-year              Services, and wireless radio network con-
lifecycle support for many new embedded                  trollers. The Intel Xeon processor                 Advantech announced an All-in-One Digital
processors released in the first quarter of              C3500/C5500 series maintains the outstand-         Signage Station based on our new Intel Core
this year. What are some other reasons to get            ing performance of our latest Intel archi-         i7 processor. The station is a ready-to-go,
excited about these processors?                          tecture (Nehalem), while lowering system           touch-screen, public signage kiosk that can be
                                                         power consumption by at least 27 watts             used to advertise everything from the latest
A: Intel began the year with a bang by introducing       when compared to the Intel ® Xeon ® 5500           film, to the latest fashions. They also developed
10 new processors for the embedded market.               series processors. 3 For smaller form factor,      a 1U rackmount appliance using the latest
Using 32nm process technology, the new 2010              low power applications, we introduced the          Intel® Xeon® 3400 series Quad Core processor,
Intel® Core™ i7 processors, and Intel® Core™ i5          first dual-core Intel® Atom™ processor D510        which is aimed at network security OEMs and
processors and Intel® Core™ i3 paired with the           for embedded. With integrated graphics             uses the processor’s features to help control
mobile Intel® QM57 Express chipset, are the              media accelerator and memory controller,           energy consumption for optimum performance
most intelligent processors available from Intel.        this processor offers a smaller footprint,         and efficiency.
What I mean by “intelligent” is these processors         better efficiency, and enhanced performance
take intelligent, adaptive performance to a new          and system responsiveness.
level, especially when it comes to energy efficiency.
Deploying Intel® Core™ processor-based systems,          Q: Can you give us some examples of the
an IT administrator at a bank could improve              innovations you’re seeing from Intel®
power efficiency and management of system                Embedded Alliance members?
workloads, for embedded applications like in-
formation kiosks, digital signs, and ATMs.               A: That could fill a book, but here’s a look at
                                                         what some of our Premier Alliance members
Four of the Intel Core i7/i5 processors (Core i7-        are doing.
610E, Core i7-620LE, Core i7-620UE and Core
i5-520E) were designed to include Error Correcting       Kontron plans to deliver several new products
Code (ECC), which corrects memory without                in 2010 based on the Intel Core i7 processor.
the need for system reset and is critical for designs    Recently they introduced what could be the
that require high data integrity standards. ECC          market’s most powerful, single-width Ad-
in smart retail registers, for instance, helps protect   vancedMC™ processor module, designed with
against register system memory errors that could         the new Intel Core i7 processor. The Kontron        Kontron AMC module with Intel® Core™ i7
result in numerical miscalculations.                     AM4020 offers the ultimate in computing             processor


                                                                                7                                                            December 2010
   SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

Q: What about application software
developments?

A: Great question. Software solutions are a
critical element of the Alliance’s offerings,
and we are excited about the developments
happening in this area. For example, Associate
member Microsoft recently released the newest
version of the Microsoft Windows® Embedded
Auto software platform. This platform builds
on the Intel Atom processor to deliver engaging
in-vehicle experiences with rich user interfaces.             Wind River ICE JTAG Emulator for Intel® Xeon® processors
The Embedded Auto platform is a great ex-
ample of a solution that helps developers                   River Workbench, which consists of many                        out of the design process by delivering stan-
deliver market-leading products with remark-                productivity-enhancing features, particularly                  dards-based, proven solutions that help devel-
ably low time-to-market.                                    when it comes to multicore development and                     opers reduce development costs and shorten
                                                            debugging. Wind River’s On-Chip Debugging                      development cycles. My advice to developers
We are also working with Microsoft on an op-                solutions are another critical solution for mul-               is to take full advantage of our partners ex-
timized digital signage platform for retail and             ticore, offering visibility and system-level con-              pertise– it’s a lot better than going through
hospitality markets. This high performance,                 trol of the CPU cores, their peripherals, and                  the pain of learning everything on your own.
highly reliable solution is powered by the Intel            OS kernel objects such as threads, tasks, and
Core i7 processor and built with the Microsoft              processes. Additionally, Wind River Hypervisor                 And developers can start leveraging the
Windows® 7-based, Microsoft Windows® Em-                    provides embedded virtualization capabilities                  Alliance today. We’ve built an online
bedded Standard 2011 operating system. We                   for our processors. Virtualization gives devel-                product guide that lets you zero in on
expect this solution to fuel a whole new gen-               opers incredible flexibility in multicore software             the solutions you need quickly and easily
eration of digital signage applications– it will            deployment, and it can greatly simplify the                    (www.intel.com/embedded/solutionsdirectory).
enable some impressive innovation.                          development process.
                                                                                                                           We’re focused on putting the resources you
Q: What is the story on developments tools?                 Q: What advice do you have for today’s                         need at your fingertips. With all of these solu-
                                                            embedded developer?                                            tions in one place, developers can get a head
A: Tools are a key focus area for several Alliance                                                                         start on creating new generations of embedded
members, and this is an area where the Alliance             A: The emergence of the embedded Internet                      systems for an increasingly connected world.
really shines, particularly when it comes to                is introducing a new set of challenges into
real-time operating systems. Associate member               embedded system design. One big challenge is                   Learn more about the Intel® Embedded Alliance.
Wind River is leading the charge there, pro-                selecting the right solutions– developers have                 Visit the community for ideas, solutions and to
viding a comprehensive set of platforms and                 to think about new technologies and new                        collaborate with peers at
development tools based on the real-time op-                components that were never required before.                    www.intel.com/embedded/community.
erating system VxWorks and on Wind River                    This is where the Intel Embedded Alliance                      For more information on the embedded Internet
Linux. These tools include Eclipse-based Wind               comes in. The Alliance takes the guess work                    visit www.intel.com/embedded/intelligence. n

1) Number of Internet users worldwide in September 2009 according to www.pingdom.com.       3) Configurations of the systems used in the benchmark: two Intel® Xeon® processors LC5528
See: http://royal.pingdom.com/2010/01/22/internet-2009-in-numbers.                          (“Jasper Forest”) at 2.13GHz, 60-watt thermal design power, with an Intel® 3420 chipset
                                                                                            versus two Intel® Xeon® processors L5528 at 2.13 GHz, 60-watt thermal design power, with
2) “The Embedded Internet: Methodology and Findings,” John Gantz, IDC, January 2009.        an Intel® 5520 chipset



                                                               The Intel® Embedded Alliance

For a veritable who’s who in helping you overcome design challenges                         Working with Intel Embedded Alliance members gives you access to
in your intelligent devices for the embedded Internet, look no further                      the tools and knowledge-base you need to use their solutions to develop
than the Intel® Embedded Alliance. The Alliance provides real technology                    leading-edge products faster. As part of a well-run ecosystem, Alliance
leadership and a reliable supply line of innovation and performance                         members collaborate closely with Intel to release well-tested and opti-
based on the latest Intel® embedded products and technologies.                              mized products based on the latest Intel platforms. Their early access to
                                                                                            Intel roadmaps, test platforms, and design support translates into
As Intel has expanded and grown its focus on an intelligent, connected                      better solutions and a faster time-to-market for you.
universe of devices, so has the Alliance. Its more than 200 worldwide
members include a diverse group of board manufacturers, operating                           Through the Alliance’s Solution Directory you can access hundreds of
system and software companies, BIOS developers, and system integrators                      Intel-based products– from component-level products, such as boards
all rallying around the enormous potential of the embedded Internet.                        and software, to fully integrated systems–in virtually every performance
Intel Embedded Alliance Director Troy Smith predicts 2010 will be a                         and form factor niche. What’s more, with Intel’s seven-year extended
“notable year where Intel and Alliance members deliver significant                          lifecycle support for embedded processors and chipsets, you’re assured
smart solutions that will compel yet more engineers and developers to                       of meeting customers’ needs until they’re ready to make the next tech-
switch over to Intel architecture.”                                                         nological leap.
                                                                                            www.intel.com/go/embeddedalliance

  December 2010                                                                         8
    SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS



Replacing discontinued modules forces
ETX module transplantation
By Konrad Löckler, MSC


             The following article provides
                  information on points to
               consider, such as long-term
             availability, in order to ensure
                        that an ETX module
            transplantation is as simple as
                                     possible.


                                                                                                                    Figure 1. In the medium per-
                                                                                                                    formance range, the power sav-
                                                                                                                    ing ETE-A945GSE with Intel
                                                                                                                    Atom N270 offers a long-term
                                                                                                                    availability alternative to
                                                                                                                    existing Celeron M modules.


n Over the course of many years, system man-       are based on Intel Atom technology. Two           in order to be able to use the new controllers.
ufacturers that relied on the use of ETX mod-      performance classes are thus fundamentally        The widespread Atom architecture offers the
ules had little reason to change anything on       possible: single core solutions with 1.6 GHz,     significant advantage that the necessary drivers
their established devices. Reliable ETX products   which include the Intel Atom N270 based           are often already integrated in the most popular
were available unchanged over a long period        MSC ETE-A945GSE, and dual-core modules            operating systems, such as Windows and many
of time. However, since Intel’s notification of    with 1.66 GHz such as the MSC ETE-PV510,          Linux distributions. What is lacking is normally
discontinuance of the widely used Pentium M        which is based on the Intel Atom D510. Meas-      made available by the hardware manufacturers.
and Celeron M generations, development de-         urements performed in-house at MSC show           MSC also offers broad support with the inte-
partments have been feverishly discussing how      that the computing performance of an N270-        gration of Windows CE and other operating
to handle this situation: a new design of the      based product approximately corresponds with      systems. Many important module functions
entire platform, or replacement of the ETX         the computing power of a Celeron M with 1.3       and internal information, - such as querying
module with a current model?                       GHz. Therefore, if products with Celeron M        serial number, boot counter or BIOS version,
                                                   from 600 MHz to 1.3 GHz have so far been          access on watchdog, temperature values, EEP-
Manufacturers from various sectors must equip      used then an N270 processor should be             ROM, I²C bus or brightness control of the dis-
their successful product lines with a current      considered.                                       play - are provided via a uniform program in-
processor core as smoothly as possible. Because                                                      terface with the products presented here. The
the change to another form factor of embedded      For higher computing power requirements, a        associated drivers for Windows, Windows CE
COM modules involves a great deal of time          product with the D510 processor with two          or Linux are available from the supplier.
due to the effort required for integration, and    cores and multi-threading offers performance
therefore such a step makes more sense when        that is practically double, provided that the     The necessary or available display interfaces
developing a completely new product genera-        software can still be used with these newer       also need to be carefully considered. In the
tion, ETX suppliers are receiving an increasing    technologies. As experience shows, a dual-core    simplest case, a monitor is driven with a VGA
number of enquiries regarding successor prod-      processor under Windows brings performance        connection. This always works and with Atom
ucts that have long-term availability. With in-    increases of up to 30%, even with applications    modules even ranges from 640 x 480 pixels
dustrial controls, operating panels, robot con-    which run in only one thread. The reason for      right up to a resolution beyond full HD of
trollers, studio mixing consoles, textile ma-      this is that at least the operating system and    2048 x 1536 pixels. However, embedded systems
chines, measuring instruments or medical           driver can run on the second core, and the        normally contain TFT displays with various
equipment, the question always arises whether      application program has a core to itself. Adap-   interface technologies. With LVDS, care must
replacement of the processor module can ac-        tation of the operating system installation is    be taken that 18-bit displays can be easily sup-
tually be made as smoothly as possible, as the     unavoidable when replacing the processor tech-    ported, but not always 24-bit panels. The most
module suppliers always claim. The most cur-       nology in a system. Network drivers, graphics     flexible here is the MSC ETE-A945GSE module
rent and thereby longest available ETX modules     drivers and some other drivers must be replaced   that can even drive two LVDS displays; one


    December 2010                                                        10
                                                                                                             ....www.men.de/switches..........www.men.de/switches..........www.men.de/switches..........www.men.de/switches..........www.men.de/switches..........www.men.de/switches.........www.men.de/sw
                                                            SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rugged MIPIOS®
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ethernet Switches




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          RS2
 Figure 2. Computing power of current Intel Atom processors compared to Pentium M and
 Celeron M generations, measured on MSC ETX modules with SiSoftware Sandra 2007
 Benchmark

with 24-bit and a further one with 18-bit color           not common. For safety-critical applications,




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        RS1
depth. The maximum resolution is 1600 x 1200              the possibility to use such a TPM is now
pixels. The second LVDS interface is located on           offered in order to prevent unauthorized ma-
a connector directly on the ETX module and                nipulations of the system or to encrypt data.
can be used with a special cable. With the MSC            For a long time now, CompactFlash cards
ETE-PV510, due to the different chipset, an 18-           have been popular in embedded systems as ro-
bit interface with up to 1366 x 768 pixels is sup-        bust hard disk replacements. Meanwhile, newer                                                                                                                                                                                                       Absolutely Safe
ported. The most popular display formats are              flash formats exist and especially with ETE-                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fanless, waterproof (as per IP67) and
offered via selection tables in the BIOS setup            PV510 a version with soldered silicon disk,                                                                                                                                                                                                         maintenance-free devices with fault-
program and can be used immediately. Less                 from which the operating system can be booted,                                                                                                                                                                                                      tolerance, self-restoring capabilities
common resolutions can normally also be con-              is offered. 4 Gbytes is the most popular size;                                                                                                                                                                                                      and built-in test mechanisms for
trolled via a suitable EDID parameter set, which          however, capacities up to 16 Gbytes are also                                                                                                                                                                                                        applications in which safety and
is stored in an EEPROM. The manufacturer of-              possible. If a module equipped with silicon                                                                                                                                                                                                         reliability have the highest priority.
fers tools and support for this.                          disk is used, it should be noted that the first
                                                          IDE channel is thus occupied and only the sec-
                                                          ond IDE channel (master/slave capable) re-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Totally Rugged
ISA bus based controllers or plug-in cards are
often still used with systems that have already           mains available for further drives. A final men-                                                                                                                                                                                                    MIPIOS® Ethernet Switches are
been on the market for several years. With the            tion must be made that the D510 processor                                                                                                                                                                                                           prepared as stand-alone devices for
PCI-to-ISA bridge used, the new ETX modules               on the ETE-PV510 is also 64-bit capable (Intel                                                                                                                                                                                                      wall or DIN-rail mounting featuring
offer a complete ISA bus, which is fundamen-              64 architecture) and offers four threads on the                                                                                                                                                                                                     e.g.
tally compatible to existing ISA environments.            two processor cores. The N270 with two threads                                                                                                                                                                                                        8 Fast Ethernet ports
However, one limitation exists when DMA ac-               also supports Intel hyper-threading.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  M12 connectors
cess via ISA are necessary. Intel no longer sup-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rugged aluminum enclosure
ports the relevant DMA protocol with plat-                In addition to software compatibility and                                                                                                                                                                                                             Power over Ethernet, PSE
forms after the 855 chipset generation. An                electrical characteristics, heat dissipation                                                                                                                                                                                                          -40 to +85°C operating temperature
early clarification with the module supplier              must be considered when changing to a more
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                EN 50155 and IP67 compliance
regarding possible workarounds is recommend-              powerful module. Because suitable Atom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                e1 certification
ed in cases where DMA operation via ISA still             processors are consistently implemented in
is required. Since the introduction of the ETX            energy-efficient technologies, a power dissi-
specification 3.0 several years ago, ETX modules          pation of approximately 8 watts can be ex-                                                                                                                                                                                                          Highly Flexible
usually have two SATA connectors in addition              pected with MSC ETE-A954GSE and approx-                                                                                                                                                                                                             Configuration via web interface,
to the two IDE (PATA) channels.                           imately 15 watts with ETE-PV510. If the                                                                                                                                                                                                             Telnet CLI, SNMP ver. 3 or
                                                          older modules that need to be replaced pro-                                                                                                                                                                                                         hardware key adds to full availability
Modern drives can be directly connected to                duced similar or higher heat losses, a good                                                                                                                                                                                                         of firmware sources.
these SATA connectors. In the event that IDE              contact to the already existing cooling meas-
drives - which are becoming increasingly diffi-           ures must be provided during replacement
cult to acquire - are still used in the system,           for the so-called hotspots. These hotspots                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rely on MEN for rugged computer
the chance is offered here also to replace them           are generally the processor and the chipset.                                                                                                                                                                                                        boards and systems in harsh, mobile
with SATA devices. Both the ETX modules                   Where a standard ETX heat spreader has so                                                                                                                                                                                                           and mission-critical environments.
from MSC that are recommended offer - in                  far been used, such a heat spreader is also
addition to four USB 2.0 interfaces routed to             available for the new modules. Thus, a defined
the baseboard - two further interfaces, which             interface for transferring heat exists which
can be tapped on the module via mini-USB                  can be mounted in the same way as before.
connectors. Transmission problems with USB                Alternatively, passive or active cooling solu-
high-speed connections, which in the past oc-             tions are also offered which do not require
casionally occurred with ETX, can thereby be              any further measures, because the heat is
ruled out. The optional availability of a trusted         safely extracted by means of cooling fins
platform module (TPM) was also previously                 and temperature-controlled fans. n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MEN Mikro Elektronik GmbH,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Neuwieder Str. 5-7, D-90411 Nürnberg,
                                                     11                                   December 2010                                                                                                                                                                                                       Tel. +49-911-99 33 55 55, E-Mail: contact@men.de
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              www.men.de/switches
    SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS



Mini-ITX boards with AMD processors
hit the ground running
By Peter Hoser, Fujitsu Technology Solutions


            The on-going convergence of
               the commercial IT business
               and embedded computing
            markets demands board-level
            technologies that can be sold
           in both, such as the ATX-com-
              patible mini-ITX form factor
                  offered by Fujitsu on an
                AMD-based platform with
              high graphics performance.




n Small form factors, big business: mini-ITX        cial IT sector as well as in the field of embedded   they are now offering high-performance graphics
has the strongest growth of any ATX-compatible      computing and is therefore ideally positioned        that allow fast, lag-free work and do not feel
motherboard form factor. This is driven by the      for the future. In the embedded area, for ex-        underpowered to the user. Such a combination
change in IT infrastructure towards smaller         ample, reputable companies such as Siemens           in a small housing was previously not thermally
fanless SFF systems, (thin) client/(cloud) server   and KUKA Robots are long-term customers.             and acoustically feasible. In most cases, no ex-
applications, and increasingly decentralized/dis-                                                        pansion cards need to be inserted either, because
tributed appliances. This is true both in the       So which solutions will work here? Which             all the standard interfaces are supported directly
commercial IT sector and in the field of em-        board-level technologies can be sold in both         by the chipset. In addition, workstations are in-
bedded computing. In these areas, Fujitsu Tech-     markets? Generally speaking, with the increas-       creasingly operated on a virtualized basis, which
nology Solutions exclusively uses AMD proces-       ing convergence of markets and their basic           moves the required performance in the direction
sor technology. This is with good reason.           technologies more and more board-level prod-         of the server. Mini-ITX motherboards with
                                                    ucts can be applied in both markets. This is         their range of functions are not ultra-slim thin-
With the increasing importance of the embed-        why form factors from the embedded area              client boards, since the latter would use an
ded computing segment, the positioning of           may also be found in the commercial area in          AMD Geode for very thin clients. But whenever
the board and system vendor for converging          the future - for example, the single board pico-
technologies becomes more important: it is          ITX form factor, or even Computer-on-Modules.
ideal if the provider can serve both the com-       On the other hand, the time-tested rule still
mercial IT market as well as the embedded           holds true: everything that is widespread in
market. Competitors that produce only em-           the commercial IT sector is suitable for em-
bedded computers will encounter increasing          bedded computer technology. Why? Because
difficulties as the markets produce more and        such technology is mature, well tested, and
more solutions that can be sold in one market       usually inexpensive, including the associated
as well as in the other. This is because the        mechanics. Accordingly, it is not surprising
commercial IT segment (for office and personal      that ATX-compatible form factors, which are
computing applications) is still the major mar-     the worldwide de facto standard for desktop
ket for x86 processors. Commercial providers,       PCs, are also used in embedded applications.
on the other hand, have little grasp of oppor-      Among these form factors, it is the ATX-com-
                                                                                                          Figure 1. The mini-ITX motherboards
tunities in the embedded segment at all, because    patible mini-ITX form factor in particular            Fujitsu D2963-S1 and S2 are equipped with
they do not know the embedded or industrial         that increasingly gains importance. In the com-       the AMD platform ASB1 with AMD M690E
or rugged computing business, which is why          mercial segment this is achieved by using low-        and SB 600 chipset and the power-saving
their organization is not geared to the needs       power processors with sufficient performance          AMD BGA processors Mobile Sempron 200
of these customers. Fujitsu has earned a signif-    which accelerate the trend towards cost-effec-        U (1 GHz / TDP = 8W) or Mobile Athlon
icant position worldwide in both the commer-        tive, small, noiseless workstations and clients;      Neo L325 X2 (1.5 GHz / TDP = 18 W).


    December 2010                                                          12
                                                                                                          SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

it comes to a presentation of multimedia con-
tents even in such extremely thin environments,
they are also an attractive choice in server-
based computing applications. Moreover, we
cannot ignore that an SFF trend also exists in
the field of embedded computing, which is ev-
ident in the evolution of numerous form factors,
with some modules as small as a credit card. In
addition, the IT concepts of the commercial
market are transferred to industrial machines
and facilities, which make the maintenance of
distributed systems easier. Also, smaller clients
have increasingly been used as HMIs. Booting
and data storage will increasingly be handled
via networks. Because the processor technology      Figure 2. Digital signage solution. A separate       Figure 3. The Fujitsu Box is tailored to mini-
                                                    box behind the screen is ideal: the panel can        ITX motherboards. Despite its compact
has also been getting smaller and more energy-
                                                    remain mounted during the upgrade of the             design, it can be supplemented with a 2.5“
efficient, clients do not need as much space as,    system. Dependencies from the display                SATA HDD, a wireless USB module and a
for example, ATX motherboards offer. However,       manufacturer/producer can be omitted.                flat-PCI card.
distributed applications such as kiosk systems
or digital signage applications as well as all
other graphics-intensive applications still need        AMD launches new platforms for embedded systems
local data processing with mini-ITX suitable
SFF performance. Regardless of the changing         AMD announced two new complete plat-                  real-time applications with available
of IT concepts, with reduced development and        forms for the embedded market, the com-               HyperTransport™ 3.0 technology
material costs, the SFF-processors are helpful      pact ASB2 platform (BGA) and the high-
in building smaller housings and designing
                                                                                                     n    ECC for high-reliability applications like
                                                    performance AM3 platform, that offer my-
                                                                                                          SMB/SOHO storage systems
passive ventilation concepts. In sum, costs for     riad combinations of power and perfor-
already existing applications can also be saved.    mance with up to 74 percent improvement          n   Multiple CPU options that offer wide
Additionally, the MTBF of such new SFF sys-         in performance-per-watt over previous                choice of performance and power
tems increases. This goes to show that there        generations. AMD’s new flexible embed-               (Power envelopes in 8, 12, 15, 25, 45,
are several good reasons for using mini-ITX         ded platforms consist of chipset and gra-            and 65 watts TDP; single-, dual- and
motherboards offering simultaneous mechani-         phics solutions along with high-perfor-              quad-core; up to 2.8 GHz)
cal compatibility with ATX, which makes the         mance CPUs as low as 8W TDP for the
accompanying mechanical components, power           ideal solution based on application requi-       n   AMD 785E chipset with support for PCI
supplies, etc cost-effective.                       rements. System designers focusing on                Express® 2.0
                                                    their next-generation products can see
                                                                                                     n   New ATI Radeon™ HD 4200 graphics
Fujitsu offers precisely this form factor, which    immediate benefits commonly associated
                                                                                                         with DirectX® 10.1, full 1080p display
is ideal for SFF devices in the commercial and      with industry-standard x86 processors,
                                                                                                         resolution support, HDMI, and power-
embedded segments, with AMD processor tech-         including streamlined design and deve-
                                                                                                         savings capability with options to sup-
nology. The main reason for this is that AMD        lopment, a large software ecosystem,
                                                                                                         port multiple displays
platforms meet all current requirements, with       and fast time-to-market.
the range of platforms including the AMD                                                             n   Socket AM3 package, compatible with
M690E & ASB1 with SB 600 chipset, or the            “The barriers to widespread adoption of              socket AM2 when using DDR2 memory
power-saving AMD Mobile Sempron BGA                 x86 in the broad embedded market have                for increased design flexibility and
processors 200 U (1 GHz/TDP = 8W) or                traditionally been a combination of power,           scalability
Mobile Athlon X2 Neo L325 (1.5 GHz/TDP =            price and the physical footprint of the sili-
                                                    con,” said Buddy Broeker, director, Em-          n   Lidless BGA package offers low-cost
18W), which are used on the Fujitsu mini-ITX
                                                    bedded Solutions Division, AMD.  “AMD’s              to manufacture, high reliability, and low
motherboards. Thus, the integrated chipset,
                                                    embedded solutions have been steadily                z-height for small form factors and fan-
which is crucial for the features of the board
                                                    driving down those barriers while adding             less designs
and therefore the OS configuration, is scalable
                                                    enterprise-class performance and featu-
with a wide CPU range. On the basis of a                                                             The processor variants, each of which is
                                                    res that may not have been readily avai-
single homogeneous platform, the Fujitsu                                                             combined with the AMD785E / SB850M
                                                    lable to designers in the past.  Our com-
D2963-S1 and S2 mini-ITX industrial mother-                                                          chipsets and which support the Direct
                                                    mitment to the embedded market grows
boards reveal performance ranging from low-                                                          Connect Architecture for a simplified
                                                    stronger as we look to a future introducti-
power design and power requirements, for ex-                                                         board design, are available on the ASB2
                                                    on of AMD Fusion™ technology products
ample Atom performance, to dual-core designs.                                                        platform of the AMD Turion™ II Neo
                                                    into the embedded space.”
For the customer, the motherboards differ only                                                       single-core processor at 1.0 GHz up to
in terms of the CPU. This significantly mini-                                                        the AMD Turion™ II Neo dual-core
mizes the cost of system qualification. Users       New Platform Features                            processor at 2.2 GHz. The AM3 platform
benefit from the increased efficiency provided      n   Faster memory with support for 2             is scalable from the Athlon II XLT Dual
by reduced time-to-market and simplified                channels DDR3                                Core processor with 2.0 GHz up to the
management. This also regards the software                                                           AMD Phenom™ II XLT Quad-Core
adaptation, for example in the BIOS and/or          n   Improved I/O for high-throughput and         Processor (2.2 GHz).
modular operating systems like Microsoft Win-


                                                                         13                                                             December 2010
   SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

dows Embedded OS or Linux, an advantage                parable Atom solutions. While the CPU per-           further interesting possibilities. AMD Fusion
which cannot be found amongst AMD’s direct             formance and power consumption of a moth-            represents a new approach to processor design
competitors. As a consequence of the fact that         erboard         equipped         with      Atom      and software development, delivering powerful
other companies certify processors with various        N270/945GSE/ICH7 competes with that of the           serial, parallel, and visual computing capabilities
chipsets customers are forced to deal with nu-         AMD Sempron 200U and M690T/SB600 plat-               for today’s HD video, 3D and data intensive
merous revisions and versions at the board             form, the latter still has much better graphics      workloads in a single processor called the ac-
level. Moreover, for marketing reasons, the func-      benchmarks. Its graphics performance even            celerated processing unit (APU). APU combines
tionality of some platforms is reduced, even           competes with Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile solu-          high-performance serial and parallel processing
though the technology of the platforms could           tions. Operators of graphics-intensive applica-      cores with other special-purpose hardware ac-
enable these functions without additional effort.      tions such as digital signage, kiosk systems, and    celerators, enabling breakthroughs in visual
In order to achieve an effectiveness and sustain-      imaging applications in the fields of medicine,      computing, security, performance-per-watt and
ability comparable to those achieved with AMD          safety engineering, and quality control have         devices shape factor. With these benefits, the
platforms, a huge effort for version or revision       come to enjoy brilliant, high-resolution graphics    combination of CPU and GPU is ideal for the
management is necessary – efforts which even-          with low latency without the need to over-di-        development of the next generation of embed-
tually produce additional costs for customers.         mension CPU performance on the basis of a            ded computer systems. If one wants to use
However, OEMs who have not changed their               predetermined GPU/CPU combination. And               these benefits efficiently and quickly as soon as
systems for many years try to reduce these sorts       all this comes with a superior price/performance     they become available, one should therefore
of costs. Configurations of particular machines,       ratio not only in terms of the competitive com-      consider switching to AMD today. Currently,
once applied, should remain unchanged in               parison, but also in terms of development            AMD is constantly extending its support espe-
order to reduce maintenance costs and keep             efforts over several generations.                    cially for users in the embedded market. For
the variety of necessary spare parts to a mini-                                                             example, the distribution channels in Europe
mum – at least in EMEA and North America.              This approach is in fact very successful: since      aimed especially at customers in the embedded
Furthermore, different performance versions            the launch of the AMD platforms, Fujitsu has         sector have been strengthened. At the same
(also for future generations) should not cause         sold more than 150,000 mainboards based on           time, marketing efforts have continuously been
much effort, as this is the only way to generate       this platform technology. However, the success       intensified in order to put the prominent posi-
time and cost benefits in the increasingly difficult   of the existing mini-ITX motherboard does            tion of the AMD solutions, which is not in the
competitive environment. In addition to high           not mean that the manufacturers will rest on         least based on the acquisition of ATI, even
and, above all, homogeneous scalability, AMD-          their laurels. Therefore, Fujitsu is already plan-   further into the consciousness of embedded
based platforms also offer another advantage:          ning the next mini-ITX generation, to be             customers. This should finally contribute to
the graphics performance of the AMD-based              launched in spring 2011. The upcoming Fusion         improved brand awareness and acceptance
boards is significantly higher than that of com-       technology already announced by AMD offers           among industrial customers. n


                                                                                   performance. Three new features include:
                                                                                   n Intel® Turbo Boost Technology increases performance by increasing
                                                                                     processor frequency, enabling faster speeds as conditions allow.
                                                                                   n Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology (Intel® HT) lets today’s well-
                                                                                     threaded applications make the most of every clock cycle.
                                                                                   n Intel® QuickPath Technology and an integrated memory controller
                                                                                     speed traffic between processors and I/O controllers for bandwidth-
 Kontron AT8050 ATCA                                                                 intensive applications, to deliver as much as 25.6 GB/s, up to 3.5x
                                                                                     the bandwidth of previous-generation processors.
 10GbE Processor Blade
                                 The Kontron processor ATCA blade                  More AT8050 Features
                                 AT8050 supports two feature-rich proces-          n 8 threads (5500) to 12 threads (5600)
                                 sor options: Single Intel® Xeon® Six-Core         n Support for up to 48 GB on 3-channels, DDR3 1066 MHz, ECC,
                                 5600 Series; and, Single Intel® Xeon®               registered SDRAM on 6 DIMM sockets total
                                 Quad-Core 5500 Series.                            n 1 X Mid-size AdvancedMC bay
                                                                                   n Dual 10 Gigabit on Fabric (PICMG 3.1, Option 9)
 It is optimized for Virtualization thanks to the complementary Intel
                                                                                   n Hot Swap SAS/SATA HDD available via RTM8050
 82599 10 Gigabit Ethernet controller that works to reduce I/O bottle-
 necks and boost server performance. The combination of these ad-                  TO ORDER EVALUATION UNITS OR
 vanced features of the Intel 10GbE Ethernet controller with the Intel®            UPGRADE AN EXISTING DESIGN CONTACT US AT:
 Xeon® 5600 Series Six-Core processor makes for a powerful solution
 to scale volume servers with 10GbE capacities.
 With an available AdvancedMC slot, wireless/telecom equipment                     Kontron Modular Computer
 manufacturers can add an assortment of Kontron AMC storage and
 IO modules for added functionality. Also available is the RTM8050, a              Sudetenstrasse 7
 rear transition module built with a SAS controller to support a Hot               87600 Kaufbeuren
 Swappable SAS/SATA Hard Disk on the RTM and/or a SAS/SATA                         Germany
 AMC module populated in the AT8050’s one AMC slot.                                +49 (0) 8341 803 333
 The Intel Xeon processor 5600/5500 series brings together a number                +49 (0) 8341 803 339
 of innovative technologies to deliver a more intelligent level of                 support-kom@kontron.com



   December 2010                                                              14
                                                                                                           SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS



Small form factor boards embrace
new generation of the Atom family
By Burkhard Specht, AAEON


                This article describes the
                PC/104 form factor CPU
               board and a type 2 COM
          Express CPU module based on
            the Intel Luna Pier and Luna
                  Pier Refresh platforms.




                                                                                                                        Figure 1. PC/104 form factor
                                                                                                                        CPU board PFM-LNP based
                                                                                                                        on the Luna Pier Refresh
                                                                                                                        platform


n The features and performance of embedded          levels previously not available in passive cooling   memory controller functions into the CPU,
systems have been progressing steadily for sev-     configurations. In 2009, manufacturers of em-        Intel has once again given embedded hardware
eral decades. The processors adopted must           bedded CPU boards developed many embed-              manufacturers the ability to further reduce
meet the demands of higher performance with         ded CPU boards in a wide variety of form fac-        design complexity and board size. The two-
more functions and features, while using less       tors that offered the benefits of outstanding        chip solution replaces the well known and tra-
space and lower power consumption. Where            embedded features: strong performance, lower         ditional three-chip solution (i.e. CPU, North-
active cooling is suitable, system engineers        power consumption (less than 10W) and better         bridge IC, and Southbridge IC) with a footprint
may choose from performance levels of very          C/P ratio (cost/performance ratio). The clear        reduction of 33%. Even with the reduced chip
high such as the Xeon and Quad Core to the          embedded CPU board trends include: greater           count, Intel has increased memory performance
scalable levels of Core 2 Duo. However, in          connectivity through multiple high speed con-        to 667MHz while doubling the amount of ad-
many embedded applications, a fan is not de-        nections, miniaturization (in a small form fac-      dressable memory and more than doubled
sirable, such as in medical, transportation, mil-   tor (SFF) and increased USB ports. Therefore,        the graphics core frequency to 400MHz when
itary and certain industrial applications. The      a CPU/chipset platform with smaller footprint        compared to the Navy Pier platform. Meeting
reasons for rejecting active cooling vary by in-    and increased integration of high speed pe-          the needs for high bandwidth I/O, the Luna
dustry but the most common issues are relia-        ripheral I/Os can simplify CPU board design          Pier Refresh platform delivers 6 configurable
bility of moving parts, accumulation of dust        and reduce the cost and effort of system design.     PCIe lanes, Gigabit MAC and provides up to
and noise. With the introduction of the Intel       Intel Luna Pier Refresh platform consists of         10 USB ports. Increased performance and fea-
Atom family of processors and companion             the Intel Atom processor N450 and Intel              tures of Luna Pier come with a decrease in
chipsets, Intel has enabled embedded hardware       82801HM I/O Controller IC, offering the next         power consumption over the previous genera-
manufacturers such as Aaeon to provide CPU          giant leap in low power SFF CPU board design.        tion, which will result in greater adoption in
boards and systems that offer performance           By integrating the graphics controller and           industries where passively cooled systems are


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     FREE            SUBSCRIPTION to boards & solutions
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                                                                           15                                                           December 2010
   SMALL FORM FACTOR BOARDS

                                                                         overall kit TDP (Ther-                                                                                 LVDS LCD interface and analog VGA interface.
                                                                         mal Design Power) of                                                                                   With support for up to 1GB DDR2 memory,
                                                                         12W to 15W. Software                                                                                   the PFM-LNP provides for sufficient system
                                                                         developers will find                                                                                   memory to run the most demanding embedded
                                                                         support for a complete                                                                                 applications. Immediately following the release
                                                                         line-up of typical em-                                                                                 of the PFM-LNP, Aaeon will also unveil the
                                                                         bedded operating sys-                                                                                  COM-LN a type 2 COM Express form factor
                                                                         tems such as: Mi-                                                                                      CPU module (95mm X 95mm) with the Luna
                                                                         crosoft Windows XP                                                                                     Pier/Luna Pier Refresh platform. Thanks to
                                                                         and derivatives, Win-                                                                                  the standardization of the COM Express form
                                                                         dows CE and deriva-                                                                                    factor by PICMG, one COM Express module
                                                                         tives, Windows Em-                                                                                     can be easily exchanged with another.
                                                                         bedded POS, Fedora
                                                                         Linux and Montavista                                                                                   This will allow the COM-LN to be used to re-
                                                                         Linux, and real time                                                                                   place existing COM Express CPU modules to
                                                                         OS such as VxWorks.                                                                                    get the advantages of this new platform. As
                                                                         Aaeon embraces this                                                                                    many inside the industry already know, COM
                                                                         new generation of the                                                                                  Express carrier board design requires strong
                                                                         Atom family by devel-                                                                                  support from the module manufacturers. The
 Figure 2. Type 2 COM Express CPU COM-LN module based on the             oping CPU boards                                                                                       experience in designing both standard and
 Intel Luna Pier/Luna Pier Refresh platform                              based on the Luna Pier                                                                                 highly customized carrier boards through cus-
                                                                         Refresh platform. First                                                                                tomer-oriented design to delivery (DTD) serv-
required. To further increase the scalability of to arrive is the PFM-LNP, a PC/104 form factor                                                                                 ice brings customers the benefits of a solid de-
the Luna Pier Refresh platform, Intel will offer CPU board. This CPU board has the popular                                                                                      sign, fast time to market and reduced invest-
the first dual-core processor of the Atom family PCI-104 connector and a Mini-card (Mini-                                                                                       ment. In other words, while Aaeon is happy to
to the embedded community. The Intel Atom        PCIe) socket for the addition of special feature                                                                               sell just the module, we are experienced and
processor D510 will deliver the same frequency, peripherals. The PFM-LNP provides one gigabit                                                                                   equipped to take your design from concept to
1.6GHz, but with dual cores offering even        LAN, four traditional serial ports and four                                                                                    mass production and provide industry-leading
greater performance while maintaining a low      USB 2.0 ports. Display outputs include an                                                                                      support to all our customers. n




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  December 2010                                                                                                               16
                                                                                                                     EMBEDDED COMPUTING



Highlighting the evolution
in embedded design
By Wolfgang Patelay, Editor


                    Advantech held its
                  European Advantech
         Embedded Design-In Forum in
             Munich. More than 150
               attendees from all over
                Europe joined this first
              European event to learn
           more about the Advantech
                Design-in Services and
               discuss future trends in
                                                                                                                         At ADF experts from
               embedded computing.                                                                                       Advantech and its ecosystem
                                                                                                                         presented new solutions for
                                                                                                                         future trends


n  The Design-in business is one of Advantech’s     eficial relationships with ecosystem partners,       in future. Lin: “There are 3 driving forces to
key strategy businesses. It covers all aspects      which will help embedded developers achieve          make IoT and Smart Planet happen - Instru-
from embedded Core Services, Network &              success by advancing business and technology         mented, Interconnected and Intelligent. In-
Telecom to Applied Computing. The dedicated         changes through collaboration with other in-         strumented means more than 15 billions of
focus on developing Design-in business and          dustry representatives.                              devices will be embedded with sensors, MCUs
the close collaboration with ecosystem partners                                                          or computers to make the device connected to
will bring the design of embedded computing         In his keynote speech Howard Lin, Managing           internet and become smart. Interconnected
in the new era of computing which is charac-        Director of Advantech Europe & Vice President        means all devices (man, machine and objects)
terized by the new mega trends Cloud Com-           of Global Sales opened the first European            may be connected together under Internet
puting and Internet of Things (IOT) to enable       event and highlighted the actual mega trends         networks through wire or wireless. And all of
a smarter planet. The Advantech Embedded            driving embedded computing solutions. He             this must happen intelligent via cloud com-
Design-in Forum is the annual flagship event        presented a slide created by former IBM CEO          puting, super computers, artificial intelligence
for the Embedded Design-in services allowing        Lois V. Gerstner, Jr., which says, that there is a   and ongoing innovation. “With the conversion
embedded developers to learn form experi-           15 year cycle in the computer industry. 1965         of the 3 “I” our life will become total different
enced technology leaders and top engineers          started the era of mainframe computers, fol-         from nowadays and opens up a new era of
from all around the world. It comprises a con-      lowed 1980 by the PC era. 1995 started the In-       life”, comments Lin.
ference forum complete with keynote sessions        ternet to dominate the computer industry and
and industry presentations, an exhibition high-     now in 2010 the future of Cloud Computing,           In view of evolving embedded board technol-
lighting design process support for customers       Internet of Things and the creation of a             ogy, Advantech established Embedded Core
through integrated product and service port-        Smarter Planet begins. Lin: “Cloud Computing,        Services, which includes the computing plat-
folios from Advantech and its extensive partner     Internet of Things and Smart Planet are the          form, design-in services, and software solutions.
network, and networking opportunities with          three mega trends of automation industry,            Miller Chang, Assistant Vice President of Ad-
employees and ecosystem partners. At the Eu-        these three mega trends will expand Advantech        vantech Embedded Core Group said that Ad-
ropean event, key industry players such as AU       business landscape in the next several years.”       vantech not only associated with Intel products
Optronics, Enea, 6Wind, Emlix, Freescale, Phi-      The advent of Cloud Computing means that             to provide embedded boards, but also get an
son Electronics, QNX, Solectrix, TI, Tyco Elo       powerful computers are not longer necessary          early start on development of the next genera-
Touch Systems, Wind River, and leading part-        for enterprises but a reliable connection to the     tion of embedded boards. At the same time,
ners like Intel and Microsoft attended. Together,   cloud. This also means embedded computing,           the company is focusing on the core features
they jointly showcased the latest embedded          wireless connectivity, intelligent software in-      of embedded intelligence platforms, such as
technology trends, and innovative concepts,         cluding artificial intelligence, and new con-        low power consumption, compact form factors,
as well as practical development tools for em-      nectivity technologies will be needed to serve       reduced software complexity, and plug & play.
bedded development engineers and system in-         the expected 2 billion mobile users, 2.5 billion     Advantech Embedded Core Services offers de-
tegrators. ADF intends to form mutually ben-        Internet users, and 15 billion connected devices     sign-in oriented services. These streamlined


                                                                           17                                                             December 2010
EMBEDDED COMPUTING

                          solutions broadly integrate embedded boards,
                          peripheral modules and software. This dedi-
                          cated focus on Embedded Design-in services
 Embedded News            fulfills electronic engineering demands at their
                          design-in phase, and brings benefits that short-
 Free E-mail Newsletter   en the design and integration cycle, minimizing
 for Europe`s Embedded    uncertainty and risk. In order to enable cus-               f
                          tomers to fully understand the advantages of
 Engineers                this new service model, Advantech organized
                          the Advantech Embedded Design-In Forum
                          (ADF) which was designed to draw together
                          embedded systems engineers, software devel-
                          opment engineers, R&D engineers, and indus-
                          trial technology leaders to address and discuss
                          the latest developments in Embedded Design.

                          Michael Vierheilig, Intels Archietcture Con-
                          version Manager EMEA, presented in his keynote
                          speech the common Intel processor architecture
                          used in most embedded designs from mobile
                          devices up to high performance servers. He
                          highlights the scalability of the architecture           Howard Lin: “Embedded will be the core
                          which is suited for multi core systems as well as        technology for Advantech in the future and
                          for small battery powered devices. Beside the            an event like ADF is very important for us
                          hardware offerings Intel increased its software          because it is an important activity to gather
                                                                                   our worldwide customer base and ecosystem
                          activities for optimal use of multi core designs.
                                                                                   partners to show our position on the market.
                          This includes not only compilers and libraries           It also shows new product introductions
                          but also Intel Parallel Studio and libraries with        which prove the future technical trends
                          DSP algorithms for all Intel processors. Future          which can be discussed at this event.”
                          trends for Intel are computers in automobiles,
                          extended Digital Signage Systems, and mobile            The Technology & Innovation session was di-
                          smart meters which allow additional services            vided into tracks A/B/C, talking about Design-
 Issued every 2 weeks     like near field communication. The future trend         in Services & Innovation Technologies, Net-
                          in the digital factory is the integration of various    work & Communications, and Peripheral In-
                          subsystems into one high performance multi-             tegration Solutions. The breakout sessions
                          core system. Virtualisation will be used to             were presented by Advantech experts and key
 • Chips & Components     protect the individual subsystems against inter-        industrial leaders covering the following topics:
                          action. He closed his speech with the promise           Embedded design techniques, value-added em-
 • Tools & Software       that Intel guaranties “at least” 7 years availability   bedded BIOS, OS and software API, key com-
                          for its embedded products.                              ponents integration, DSP technology and it’s
 • Boards & Modules




 www.embedded-control-
 europe.com/newsletter     During Café Chats ADF attendees had the opportunity to see new product innovations from
                           Advantech and its ecosystem partners and discuss future trends more in detail with the experts


December 2010                                     18
                                                                                                                 EMBEDDED COMPUTING

innovation in voice & video applications, and       require extraordinary specification and relia-    Advantech experts for in-depth discussions
the new cutting-edge of blade and system            bility. This presentation discussed trends in     and knowledge sharing the following topics
computing platforms, as well as embedded            the industrial display market highlighting that   were discussed with the experts: embedded
software development strategy for new gener-        environmentally friendly panels with green        design-in services + SFF boards, embedded
ation networks and communications markets.          solutions have become mainstream and will         BIOS + embedded OS & API, embedded mod-
One example of session A is Microsoft s             reach 55% market share in 2011. Secondly,         ules, maximizing networking performance
presentation.                                       touch panel integration was discussed and         with multi-core, video and voice transcoding
                                                    thirdly 3D display technology as applied to       with DSP, playing safe with high availability
Apart from the embedded hardware platform,          gaming, public information displays and digital   software. A full range of embedded platforms
the embedded OS plays an important role in          frames was described. Finally the Microcup        with various specialist design-in services was
the embedded application. Enhanced security         technology to replace conventional paper in       also showcased. n
and stability, as well as streamlined manage-       ebook and etag applications was explained.
ment and user friendly interface are major          During Café Chats which brought together          For more information see: www.advantech.eu
concerns for users. Utilizing the right embedded    leading respected industry representatives and    and www.advantech.eu/adf/Munich
OS enables developers to create a better custom
embedded operating system, and helps devel-
opers create applications and drivers more ef-
ficiently. Pascal Angée and Sylvain Ekel, OEM
Embedded Devices Group, Microsoft, intro-
duced the new versions of embedded operating
systems Windows Embedded Standard 7 and
Windows CE 6 which offer the needed en-
hanced security and stability. The next version                                      Mec        d
                                                                                     M hanics and electronics
of Windows CE will be called Windows Em-
bedded Compact 7 and will include enhanced
security to protect devices in the network and
in application, simplifies communication with
Windows 7 and feature an extendable user in-
terface framework including touch interface
based on Silverlight. The new Microsoft oper-
ation systems are targeting on vertical markets
like Smartphones, medical devices, computers
in vehicles and Point of Sales / Point of Service
terminals.
                                                        CompactPCI/CompactPCI Serial, VME/VME64x, VPX and VXS
One example from the networks & communi-
cations track is the Freescale presentation
about a new generation of network processor
platforms. QorIQ platforms enable the next
era of networking by offering new levels of             AdvancedTCA, AdvancedMC and µTCA
performance, power-efficiency and program-
mability. Whilst aligned with general processing
needs, QorIQ new combination with AltiVec
technology enables DSP-level performance to
both control and data path processing. The
first presentation demonstrated how QorIQ
scales as a coherent multicore migration solu-
tion for networking applications. The second
presentation demonstrated how VortiQa soft-
ware is optimized to take full advantage of
QorIQ technology, including pattern matching
engines, security accelerator, datapath acceler-
ation and other technologies. The combination
of P4080 with VortiQa software enables appli-
cation-optimal functionality which boosts
performance in asymmetric and symmetric
multi-processing systems.

In track C it was shown that AU Optronics
has devoted much new product research and
development to the industrial display market.
Its General Display Division provides displays,
mainly used in retail, banking, gaming/amuse-
ment, medical, advertisement and HMI which


                                                                          19                                                         December 2010
    COTS



FMC standard benefits high-speed
FPGAs in aerospace and defense
By Jeremy Banks, Curtiss-Wright


             Choosing the mezzanine
       format best suited for rugged
     embedded computing solutions
               ultimately turns on the
       application details, perception
        of risk, development timeline
             and personal preference.
     The baseline is how it compares
           with a single PWB with all
                functionality onboard.
             A monolithic card usually
                     provides the best
                    technical solution.
                                                                                                                       Figure 1. A typical FMC I/O
                                                                                                                       mezzanine module


n New generations of FPGAs present develop-        of commercial ADC devices has increased dra-         sample at rates near 200 MS/s, and soon will
ers with a level of processing performance         matically. Today high-end ADCs are approach-         reach 250 MS/s with 16-bit resolution. They
and potential I/O bandwidth that cannot easily     ing 4 Gs/s bandwidth with 12-bit resolution.         can dramatically enhance the capabilities of
be matched by conventional CPU configura-          Earlier ADC technology was either not fast           wideband receivers by increasing their sensi-
tions. While many COTS solutions enable de-        enough, or lacked the resolution, or both com-       tivity and selectivity, which affects the system
velopers to readily make use of FPGAs for pro-     bined, to enable direct digital conversion of        ability to intercept and characterize captured
cessing, the real challenge to an application is   analog signals. This resulted in more cost and       signals. The design challenge at these high
often measured in terms of I/O bandwidth, la-      reduced performance because a system would           data rates is how to interface these newly ob-
tency and connectivity. For example, military      typically require two RF heterodyne receiver         tainable levels of resolution to the digital do-
electronic counter-measures (ECM) applica-         front-ends to handle the down-conversion             main, a task that traditional processors cannot
tions require high bandwidth data input, pro-      stage before the data got to the ADCs attached       handle. The answer is a combination of base-
cessing and data output with minimum latency.      to the FPGAs. Today the function of FPGAs is         board FPGAs and FMC I/O cards.
The FPGA mezzanine card (FMC) (ANSI/VITA           as true processors that have large blocks of
57.1) directly addresses the challenges of FPGA    digital circuitry in which signal processing al-     When combined with larger FPGAs and the
I/O by solving the dual problem of how to          gorithms such as FFTs can be stored. FPGAs           new industry-standard FMCs, the new genera-
maximize I/O bandwidth while still being able      are very good at handling signal processing in       tion of ADCs enables system designers to inte-
to change the I/O functionality. FMCs offer        the digital domain.                                  grate open standards-based board systems in
an elegant, simple solution because they only                                                           which both ADC and DAC capabilities are di-
host I/O devices, such as ADCs, DACs or trans-     Nowadays faster, higher resolution ADCs have         rectly coupled to the processing element, pro-
ceivers. FMC modules have no on-board proces-      the ability to take an input signal at a microwave   vided by the FPGA. The result is an order of
sors or bus interfaces, such as PCI-X. Instead,    frequency and convert it at that frequency           magnitude improvement in latency from input
FMC modules take advantage of the intrinsic        rather than requiring the use of a costly inter-     to output. Even better for space, weight and
I/O capability of FPGAs to separate the physical   mediary down converter. Higher end ADCs              power constrained embedded systems, the in-
I/O functionality on the module from the           can sample at rates in excess of 3 to 4 gigasam-     creased bandwidth of the new ADC devices
FPGA board design of the host of the module,       ples, which approaches the 1.5GHz L-Band             does not come at the cost of a comparable rise
while maintaining direct connectivity between      and beyond. Sampling rates that exceed 1 GHz         in power consumption. We are seeing these
the FPGA and the I/O interface.                    and faster now allow bandwidths of up to 500         devices with power dissipations rated near
                                                   MHz to be processed. And the higher bit-reso-        2W per converter, which means that a quad-
As recently as two or three years ago, leading     lution of the new ADCs has increased system          channel FMC will require less than 10W. The
off-the-shelf high-end ADCs could only achieve     dynamic range, the span from the weakest to          FMC (VITA 57) standard, recently approved
1.5 to 3 Gbit/s bandwidth performance with         the strongest detectable signal that it can          by ANSI, provides a method for directly cou-
8-bit resolution. Since then, the performance      handle. These new high-resolution ADCs can           pling FPGAs on the baseboard with I/O devices


    December 2010                                                         20
                                                                                                                                          COTS

                                                                formance and I/O bandwidth.          variant. Although aimed at I/O, FMCs can be
                                                                The purpose of the FMC specifi-      used for any function that might connect to
                                                                cation is to allow one or more       an FPGA including DSPs, memory or even an-
                                                                FPGAs on a host card to connect      other FPGA. Connectivity for FMC modules
                                                                directly with the I/O devices on     is unusual in that the number of active con-
                                                                the mezzanine module - just as if    nections is not defined, only the upper limit.
                                                                the device were on the host board.   This means that host carriers need not provide
                                                                Busses like PCI-X are redundant      the same number of FPGA signals as another
                                                                and would get in the way of the      host. To fully populate an HPC solution may
                                                                FPGA and its I/O devices. This       require a large FPGA, so reduced pin-out
                                                                intimacy means the interface can     offers cost sensitivity. This is something to be
                                                                be optimal and savings can be        aware of, but the specification defines that the
                                                                made in real estate, cost and        signals populate the LPC or HPC connector
                                                                power - with boosted bandwidth       at a given position and add to the connector
                                                                and reduced latency. An FMC is       in a given sequence such that if two hosts pro-
 Figure 2. The FMC module is significantly smaller than the     similar in height and width to a     vide x signal, they will use the same connector
 popular PMC and XMC module form factor.                        PMC, but almost half the length.     pins. When it comes to power supply require-
                                                                                                     ments, the FMC specification has a neat trick:
on the small mezzanine FMC board. FMCs            The reduced width, compared with PMC or            the host detects what the FMC power should
enable the board bus structure to be bypassed,    XMC, enables up to three FMCs to be fitted to      be and the host provides it. This is achieved
providing direct I/O to the FPGA processing       a 6U host. The FMC specification has a default     through the host interrogating the FMC
element on the host card. This drastically im-    stacking height of 10 mm, but also permits a       E2PROM and an adjustable power supply. The
proves data rates and reduces latency compared    stacking height down to 8.5 for low-profile so-    benefit to the FMC is a simplified power re-
to designs where the I/O devices reside on the    lutions. The majority of FMC host/carriers         quirement thereby freeing up valuable real es-
main PCB. Another advantage is that FMCs          use VPX (3U and 6U), VXS and AMC formats,          tate for more I/O. Although around half the
make it easier to tune a particular I/O need      but there are also PCI Express solutions such      PWB area of an XMC, the FMC can sometimes
with a common processing engine, and to up-       as the Xilinx ML605 Virtex-6 evaluation card.      achieve greater I/O functionality, most notably
grade performance as newer and better I/O         The FMC specification provides for a large         for rugged applications. If the solution requires
devices become available without a major base-    number of differential connections, up to 80       a large FPGA and if the XMC module complies
board redesign. The most popular mezzanine        pairs, (or 160 single-ended signals), to support   with the VITA 20 specification, there are re-
format for defense embedded computing is          one or more high speed parallel interfaces be-     strictions as to where the FPGA can be located.
PMC which uses the PCI, and PCI-X.                tween the FPGA and I/O devices.                    In turn, this may limit the available area to fit
                                                                                                     the I/O devices.
The newer XMC replaces PMC parallel PCI           There are also a number of serial connections
or PCI-X bus with a serial interface, of which    (up to ten pairs) suitable for multi-gigabit       Let us consider an actual example with a pair
the most common protocol support is PCI Ex-       transceivers (MGTs) operating up to 10             of designs using the same I/O devices for a
press. Unfortunately, the throughput available    Gbytes/s. FMC modules and hosts support            rugged application; one using an XMC format
from FPGAs is beyond the capabilities of PMC      two connector options; a low-pin-count (LPC)       card and one using an FMC format card. Be-
or XMC. FPGAs can be used to implement the        160-pin connector and a high-pin-count             cause the rugged XMC specification requires
necessary interfaces, so advantage can be made    (HPC) 400-pin connector. The majority of           an area across the middle of the board to mate
out of the direct coupling of processing per-     FMC solutions are likely to use the HPC            up with a host-stiffening bar (which doubles
                                                                                                     as a primary thermal interface conduction-
                                                                                                     cooled variant), a large FPGA (for example
                                                                                                     35mm x 35mm) invariably needs to be fitted
                                                                                                     to the area of the circuit board closest to the
                                                                                                     front panel, and just where the design would
                                                                                                     want to fit the I/O devices.

                                                                                                     The useful space in which to fit the I/O devices
                                                                                                     is perhaps a quarter of the overall real estate
                                                                                                     of the XMC and not very efficient. In compar-
                                                                                                     ison, the FMC even though it is around half
                                                                                                     the size of the XMC, has a far greater real
                                                                                                     estate area for the I/O devices. In this example,
                                                                                                     the FMC is able to support two ADCs for two
                                                                                                     3GS/s channels compared to the single channel
                                                                                                     of the XMC. Of course an XMC using a
                                                                                                     smaller FPGA, or not restricted by the rugged
                                                                                                     XMC specification, may not be affected to
                                                                                                     such an extent, provided it still has a sufficient
                                                                                                     number of I/O connections to the devices. An
                                                                                                     FMC may be smaller, but it may still be able to
                                                                                                     support greater functionality than its larger
 Figure 3. This diagram shows FMC-to-FPGA connectivity on a host card.                               XMC equivalent. n


                                                                        21                                                            December 2010
    COTS



CompactPCI cards for advanced
avionics systems development
By Michael J. Randazzo, DDC


              CompactPCI is a first choice
              for modernizing legacy test
              equipment or developing a
           new system. Its modular hard-
              ware design, wide range of
                  COTS I/O options, good
            instrumentation control, and
           clear migration path to future
             technology make it a smart,
                cost-effective and flexible
                  solution able to support
           avionics systems development
                        for years to come.
                                                                                                                       Figure 1. Example of a
                                                                                                                       CompactPCI chassis


n The CompactPCI (cPCI) form factor has             nated by VME since the early 1980s. The cPCI       Data Device Corporation (DDC) provides
continued to allow avionics system designers        form factor maintains core system requirements     CompactPCI/PXI cards for MIL-STD-
to keep development costs low through the           such as vertical card orientation, positive card   1553/1760, ARINC 429, and synchro/resolver
use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) prod-        retention, excellent shock and vibration           with many cards combining different types of
ucts. It remains a very popular form factor         characteristics, and front or rear I/O options.    I/O on one board to save even more power,
choice for systems requiring multiple and           What really added to its appeal was the use of     space, weight, and cost. For example, the latest
modular I/O capabilities, specifically avionics     standard PCI silicon, which was already being      generation of Multi-IO CompactPCI/PXI cards
protocols, such as MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC           manufactured in large volumes for use in the       BU-67107T would require only a single 3U
429. In the defense/aerospace sector, some          desktop computer marketplace. This greatly         card to support 4 dual-redundant MIL-STD-
sample applications are system simulation/in-       reduced the cost of manufacturing cPCI cards       1553 channels, 8 ARINC-429 receivers, 4
tegration, production/automated test (ATP),         compared with VME cards. As VME designs            ARINC-429 transmitters, 6 user-programmable
portable test equipment, and rapid prototyping      become more difficult to manufacture and           digital discretes, 2 RS-232 channels, and 2 RS-
of custom hardware designs.                         support, cPCI offers an ideal alternative to       422/485 channels. Using only single-IO solu-
                                                    support the needs formerly handled by VME          tions, an equivalent system would require 4
The cPCI specification was developed by the         cards.                                             separate devices, greatly increasing the cost
PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group                                                            and installation time expended by system
(PICMG) in the mid 1990s to incorporate             Once the test and measurement community            designers.
PCI-based technology into industrial comput-        started to adopt cPCI, it was clear that they
ers. It is electrically a superset of desktop PCI   needed more capability to meet timing and          With respect to the MIL-STD-1553 protocol,
with a different physical form factor. Com-         synchronization requirements across multiple       DDC gives more control to the system designer,
pactPCI leverages the Eurocard form factor,         devices. Previously, VME cards addressed this      by offering two levels of functionality. Its latest
popularized by the VME bus, and supports            need with the VXI Bus enhancement. This re-        1553 generation, AceXtreme, now comes in
both 3U (100mm x 160mm) and 6U (160mm               sulted in the creation of the PXI (PCI eXten-      single and multi-function configurations. The
x 233mm) card sizes. Though mainly used in          sions for Instrumentation) platform. The PXI       single-function configuration offers emulation
lab environments, a conduction-cooled form          platform added an additional optional con-         of a bus controller (BC) or up to 31 remote
factor variant exists to support harsh shock,       nector to the already defined cPCI form factor.    terminals (RTs). Either mode can concurrently
vibration, and temperature conditions, while        This connector enabled integrated timing and       execute the bus monitor (MT), to capture all
maintaining the same electrical PCI character-      synchronization that is used to route synchro-     data on the bus. The multi-function configu-
istics and signaling. Since cPCI uses a chassis     nization clocks and triggers internally through    ration, targeted for test and simulation systems,
rack-mountable backplane and is physically          the chassis backplane. Today, most test appli-     adds the ability to concurrently run the BC,
similar to VME, it was quickly adopted by the       cations that previously would have required        up to 31 RTs, and MT, and also includes the
avionics community, which had been domi-            VME cards now rely on lower cost cPCI cards.       1553 test and simulation toolkit. The toolkit


    December 2010                                                         22
                                                                                                                                               COTS

                                                                                                          gramming time for the embedded system that
                                                                                                          would otherwise be required. All CompactP-
                                                                                                          CI/PXI systems require a CPU card or system
                                                                                                          controller. Following the COTS approach, there
                                                                                                          are many CPU vendors in the marketplace of-
                                                                                                          fering standard 3U and 6U controllers. A ma-
                                                                                                          jority of these systems are x86-based, but other
                                                                                                          processor families, like PowerPC, can be pro-
                                                                                                          cured. Since the controllers are based on stan-
                                                                                                          dard processor architectures, cPCI systems de-
                                                                                                          signers have a wealth of choices regarding op-
                                                                                                          erating systems and programming environ-
                                                                                                          ments. One environment that stands out as a
                                                                                                          leader in the cPCI/PXI community is the Lab-
                                                                                                          VIEW programming language. Short for labo-
                                                                                                          ratory virtual instrumentation engineering
                                                                                                          workbench, LabVIEW was developed by Na-
                                                                                                          tional Instruments in the 1980s as a visual pro-
 Figure 2. 6U (Synchro/Resolver) vs. 3U (MIL-STD-1553) CompactPCI cards                                   gramming language. Execution is determined
                                                                                                          by the use of a graphical block diagram on
                                                                                                          which the programmer connects different func-
                                                                                                          tions by drawing wires.

                                                                                                          The inherent parallel execution and multi-pro-
                                                                                                          cessing makes it a great fit for data acquisition,
                                                                                                          instrument control and test automation. Com-
                                                                                                          bined with extensive support for COTS hardware,
                                                                                                          a test system can be developed rather easily,
                                                                                                          without sacrificing capability. DDC LabVIEW
                                                                                                          support package BU-69093S0 enables developers
                                                                                                          to use LabVIEW to develop applications using
                                                                                                          MIL-STD-1553 and/or ARINC-429 protocols.
                                                                                                          To make development even easier, a collection
                                                                                                          of “Intermediate Vis” was created, which allow
                                                                                                          the user to quickly configure commonly used
                                                                                                          1553/429 functionality. Combined with a DDC
                                                                                                          cPCI/PXI hardware device, the DDC LabVIEW
                                                                                                          package is a good choice for any avionics testing
                                                                                                          or development task. The DDC package also
 Figure 3. DDC Multi-IO MIL-STD-1553/ARINC-429 3U cPCI/PXI card                                           supports LabVIEW Real-Time (RT), which ex-
                                                                                                          tends the LabVIEW framework to deliver deter-
adds error injection, internal/external triggering,   tested using one form factor (such as cPCI),        ministic, hard real-time performance by execut-
and the ability to test out-of-bounds 1553            and reused in its entirety on a different form      ing all time-sensitive application code on an
parameters (such as intermessage gap). The            factor (such as PMC or component-level              embedded target running the IntervalZero (Phar
BU-67210T 1553 multi-function series are 3U           solution). Designers using this approach have       Lap) ETS real-time operating system.
CompactPCI/PXI cards with up to 4 dual-               benefited from shortened development sched-
redundant 1553 channels, 8 digital and 8 avion-       ules, less system troubleshooting, and avoiding     With the advent of PCI Express (PCI-E) as the
ics-level discretes, and IRIG-B input/output.         costly board re-spins.                              replacement for the PCI bus in desktop com-
                                                                                                          puting, CompactPCI needed to evolve accord-
Since it is relatively easy to assemble and pro-      To simplify the software development process        ingly. CompactPCI Express was released by
cure a CompactPCI system with COTS hard-              even further, DDC offers code generation            PICMG in 2005, keeping the Eurocard form
ware, it is a great choice for prototyping custom     capability with its BusTrACEr BU-69066S0            factor, but replacing the parallel PCI Bus with
embedded systems. This allows system design-          MIL-STD-1553 data bus analyzer. The tool al-        serial PCI-E links. Due to the wide usage of
ers to configure a system with identical hard-        lows the user to configure a 1553 bus controller,   CompactPCI systems and peripherals in the
ware and software functionality as the final          multiple remote terminals, and a bus monitor        field, PICMG defined the CompactPCI Express
system, except using the CompactPCI form              with an easy-to-use point-and-click graphical       backplane and connectors not only to support
factor. It also enables any software development      interface. Once the 1553 configuration is com-      new cPCI Express cards, but also support
to begin before initial prototype hardware is         plete, a single click will generate ANSI C source   existing cPCI cards. A hybrid peripheral slot
available so that the designer can address any        code to duplicate the same configuration using      can support either a Type 2 cPCI Express
system level concerns before mass production.         DDC 1553 SDK. The generated source code             board or a 32-bit cPCI board, thereby enabling
All DDC software development kits (SDKs)              then can be used with any operating system          any cPCI designer to have a cost-effective
for MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC-429 are hard-              (Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7, Linux, VxWorks,           evolutionary path; cPCI cards can be eventually
ware independent and have a common API.               etc.) and any DDC board or component, saving        replaced with cPCI Express cards without
This enables software to be developed and             the designer many hours of additional pro-          changing the backplane or cabling. n


                                                                            23                                                             December 2010
    COTS



DO-178C and COTS: challenges
and opportunities for avionics software
By Jakob Gärtner, Esterel


          This article describes how the
         new DO-178C safety standard
               for airborne software will
                clarify the framework for
             modern software-develop-
          ment methodologies and the
           related tools. A combination
                                       of
                model-based design and
          verification and formal meth-
         ods based on qualified tools is
         the state of the art and is fully
                         supported by the
                            new standard.


n During the last three decades, the airline in-   While software content creation for large pro-      pliers and certification authorities. It has re-
dustry has undergone fundamental changes.          grams is being created more and more globally       mained stable during 15 years of being used
The time after the golden ages of jet airplanes,   by the established companies, new competition       on every single civilian aerospace program,
that started with players like Sud Aviation, De-   is arising from new players from the BRIC           and no major safety issue has been discovered
Havilland, McDonnell- Douglas, Lockheed            (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries.        during its use. DO-178B defines objectives
and Boeing and culminated with aircraft like       Experience from the B787 and A380 programs,         and principles which shall be followed during
the Concorde and the jumbo jet, was charac-        and even more from some military projects,          a software development effort. It is, as far as
terized by two main developments. On one           shows that distributed development, outsourc-       possible, and much more than any other con-
hand a consolidation in the US airframes in-       ing and globalization are more complicated to       temporary software safety standard, require-
dustry that left only Boeing as player in the      implement than imagined. Large financial and        ments-oriented, and with very few exceptions,
civilian aerospace market, and the advent of       technical efforts have been necessary to recover    not prescriptive on the means that must be
Airbus as global player, which increased its       some of the consequential problems, but have        used, in order to be less sensitive to technology
global market share to more than 50% of air-       not proven to be sufficient for completing the      evolution and more open to adaptation to
craft over 100 seats.                              effort on time. Rising competition at airframe,     specific requirements.
                                                   systems and software levels, together with a
The most recent aerospace programs like the        much more diverse and complex industrial            Created 18 years ago, DO-178B has remained
Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A380          universe and the requirement for fast time-to-      apparently stable, despite the swift evolution
tried to take advantage of heavy outsourcing       market, calls for commercial and technical an-      in software technology. But behind the scenes,
even of former core competences and work           swers. At the same time, the well-established       CAST (Certification Authorities Software
packages. They both also faced major technical     safety standard for airborne software, DO-          Team) papers and CRIs (Certification Review
obstacles, program delays and cost increases.      178B will be soon replaced by its next incre-       Items) have been created in order to answer to
Both Boeing and Airbus are confronted with         ment, DO-178C.                                      specific issues. These papers do not always
damage claims from airlines and cancelled or-                                                          represent a consensus of the stakeholders and
ders. At the same time, emerging aerospace         Since 1992, creation of software development        are often subject to intense discussions. It is a
countries such as Brazil, China, South Korea       for safety-critical airborne systems has been       challenge in itself in a software development
and Japan are launching major aerospace pro-       governed by the internationally recognized          effort to find a way through all the accumulated
grams not only aimed at the much more frag-        standard DO-178B. On just 48 pages, it con-         documents and opinions. Organized by work-
mented regional airliners market, but also at-     denses the inputs, constraints and requirements     groups in order to efficiently handle the various
tacking the current cash cows such as the Boe-     from all the involved stakeholders. It represents   fields of interest, representatives of more than
ing 737 and Airbus 320 families. Subcontractors    the consensus that has been achieved from           150 stakeholders have been working on reach-
see new opportunities with the new players,        discussions and negotiations between airframe       ing a new consensus which answers to the
while pressure for risk sharing is rising.         manufactures, equipment suppliers, tool sup-        new techniques such as MBDV (model-based


    December 2010                                                        24
                                                                                                                                               COTS

                                                                                                          viously said about bridging the gap between
                                                                                                          different tool suites applies even more between
                                                                                                          the different phases of the lifecycle. Transitions
                                                                                                          from one step to the next along a development
                                                                                                          flow can be very costly. Seamless software de-
                                                                                                          velopment, while being one of the most used
                                                                                                          buzzwords, has, with a few exceptions, re-
                                                                                                          mained a dream.

                                                                                                          While more and more companies are trying
                                                                                                          to find COTS replacements for their in-house
                                                                                                          tools, the new players in the airplane and
                                                                                                          equipment makers market have the advantage
                                                                                                          (and the challenge) to start from a white sheet
                                                                                                          of paper. They all meet some tool providers
                                                                                                          who all claim to have the golden key to software
                                                                                                          development. When carefully reading DO-
                                                                                                          178C and its supplements it becomes clear
                                                                                                          that: 1) tool qualification can have clear ad-
                                                                                                          vantages, if the tool has been designed to pro-
                                                                                                          vide the benefit from specific certification
                                                                                                          credits to the user, such as being able to
                                                                                                          shorten, automate or render obsolete certain
                                                                                                          expensive design or verification activities; 2)
                                                                                                          model-based design and verification is now
                                                                                                          recognized and can provide important gains
 Figure 1. Model-based development flow: now formally defined in DO-178C                                  in efficiency; and 3) formal methods and their
                                                                                                          usage now benefit from a clearly described
development and verification), formal methods         tions and guidelines on when and how to             framework which helps to integrate them in
(FM), automatic code generation and object-           qualify tools (TQ supplement). The DO-178C          the development and verification plans. It ap-
oriented methods while keeping the objective-         committee intends to complete and approve           pears that the ideal tool and method would
oriented approach of the former version of            the new text by end of 2010.                        combine the ease of use and efficiency of a
the standard.                                                                                             model-based approach with the completeness
                                                      Most of the well-established creators of em-        and verifiability of a formal method.
Marketing buzz created by some tool vendors,          bedded airborne software have, in the context
depending on the source, tells: use my tool           of the large programs of the civilian aerospace     Unfortunately, almost all model-based tools
and you bridge the gap. Now you can use Java          duopoly era, created their own tool suites to       are not formal, and most formal methods are
and C++ and exploit full benefits from dynamic        support software development. Several factors       neither model-based nor easy to use. The in-
environments, inheritance and variants. Ob-           are fueling a trend to now opt out of these in-     dustry standard in model-based design for
ject-Oriented has now arrived in aerospace.           house tools. The consolidation of Tier1 and         DO-178B projects, Esterel Technologie SCADE
Remembering the pain created on some proj-            Tier2 equipment providers and airframe mak-         (Safety-Critical Development Environment)
ects by following the tool providers promises         ers has the side-effect that within a large com-    is based on a formal notation and has proven
a bit too willingly, it is well worth the effort to   pany, which is the result of a series of mergers,   its efficiency and ease of use on most existing
have a deeper look at the spirit, concepts and        a plethora of tools may exist that try to tackle    aerospace programs. It is a direct implementa-
contents of DO-178C. The message is very              the same problem from slightly different angles.    tion of all the principles that are the foundation
simple: compared to DO-178B, the new release          Tool harmonization is becoming an important         of DO-178B and has shaped the discussions
neither raises nor lowers the bar for certifica-      driver for cost reduction. Each boundary be-        on tool qualification, model-based design and
tion. It documents the intent of DO-178 more          tween tools becomes a river to cross, with ex-      formal methods in the DO-178C committee.
consistently and provides important clarifica-        pensive bridges required to cross them. The         It is the only approach on the market which
tion on some aspects.                                 tools themselves are often highly specialized.      merges model-based design and formal meth-
                                                      While in the past, it was possible to hide tool     ods. Like DO-178B and DO-178C, it is very
It provides three technology-specific supple-         costs within a large project budget, agile meth-    simple yet complete in its approach.
ments. 1) Model- based design: MBDV is now            ods and the trend to concentrate on the core
fully recognized by DO-178C, but precise syn-         competencies of a company do not really             Similar trends towards COTS can be found
tax and semantics on model-level are required.        justify the effort to create such custom tools      on the hardware platform side and the run-
Demonstration of model test coverage is a             anymore, not to mention the pain and cost to        time environments and operating systems.
mandatory activity. 2) Formal methods: the            maintain them.                                      Custom hardware was, some years ago, the
supplement provides a framework for the use                                                               only way to answer performance, certification
of formal methods. 3) Object-orientation: Ba-         This situation provides the field for COTS          and scaling issues. Available hardened proces-
sically, very demanding constraints for the use       (commercial-of-the-shelf) software tools. Such      sors and peripherals did not perform at the
of OO methods and requirements for costly             tools may span the entire software lifecycle of     level necessary to allow for standard hardware,
verification of software properties, in particular    a software system: requirements management,         and, as a consequence each LRU (line re-
for memory management and inheritance, are            requirements analysis, system design, software      placeable unit) contained a very expensive,
provided. One supplement provides explana-            design, verification and testing. What was pre-     special purpose piece of hardware. Software


                                                                            25                                                             December 2010
  COTS

                                                                Using a model-based methodology            to a systems integrator, but by the Tier1 sup-
                                                                provides another level of abstrac-         pliers. Model-based design and verification
                                                                tion. When utilized effectively and        with qualified tools allow the air framers to
                                                                done the right way, it makes the           regain more control, as they provide a clear
                                                                application totally independent            interface to exchange requirements and
                                                                even from a specific API, assuming         standardized verification approaches.
                                                                automatic code generation is avail-
                                                                able. Again, it is important that          The environment is becoming more and
                                                                this automatic code generation is          more challenging, competition more fierce,
                                                                done by a qualified tool in order          and the swing of globalization is swinging
                                                                to make it efficient. If not, all the      back. The emerging countries do not remain
                                                                expensive testing, reviews and other       pools of cheap labour and soaring markets.
                                                                verification will make porting and         They become major players themselves. DO-
                                                                hence hardware obsolescence very,          178C will clarify the framework for modern
                                                                very costly.                               software-development methodologies and
 Figure 2. A base document defining principles and                                                         the related tools. A combination of model-
 objectives, with specific supplements handling specific          As airframe makers have shifted          based design and verification and formal
 aspects of software technology: the new structure of DO-178C
                                                                  the boundary between themselves          methods based on qualified tools is the state
                                                                  and their suppliers quite far already,   of the art, and is fully supported by the new
was also highly tailored to co-operate as           and are often not even providing the high-             standard. Any software development team
closely as possible with the custom hardware.       level software requirements as input to the            which combines the best practices of software
If such hardware reaches the highly feared          system providers, they are facing unexpected           engineering with such a tool empowers its
end-of-life, software maintenance and up-           issues. The savings are not as large as hoped          engineers to concentrate on their competence
grades become impossible. The entire system         for, and they are losing competences and con-          in analyzing and designing systems, which
becomes obsolete. Standardized operating sys-       trol, so that they do not only experience quality,     answers the needs of the end customer, on
tems promise to relieve the user from such          functionality and integration issues, but also a       time and on budget. Most importantly, for-
problems. If the software application uses          shift in the balance of power between them-            mal model-based development frees their
only a standard API (application programming        selves and the major suppliers. The bulk of            minds to create that difference in value that
interface), it will run on any hardware for         the value in an aircraft is not input anymore          can only come from human creativity and
which an OS with that API is available.             by the airframe maker, who is being reduced            imagination. n



                                                                                 Business Benefits of ATCA Open Platforms
                                                                                 n Faster time-to-market
                                                                                 n Development cost savings
                                                                                 n Reduced inventory costs
                                                                                 n Faster upgrades to new technology advances
                                                                                 n Achieve shorter lead times for build-to-order systems

 OM9140 10GbE 14-Slot ATCA Platform                                              n Kontron global services & maintenance


                        The Kontron OM9140 series of 10GbE ATCA                  OM9140 Configuration Options - Customer-Specific
                        platforms offer carrier-grade, high-density so-          n AT8050 10GbE Processor Board – 5600 and 5500 Intel Xeon
                        lutions across a common platform capable of                Processor Series
                        being converted into dedicated or cross-func-            n AT8904 10GbE Switch
                        tional network elements for 3G and 4G wireless,          n AT8404 10GbE Carrier (4 AMC Slots)
                        IMP, IPTV, and core network applications.                n AT8050 Rear Transition Modules

 With dedicated validation and integration teams, Kontron alleviates
 all the heavy-lifting of configuring and testing multiple hardware and          Storage, Processor and IO Modules
 software elements, such as IPMI, OS, HA Middleware, and HPI,                    n AM4020 AdvancedMC Core i7 Processor Module
 enabling TEMs and NEPs to leverage their dedicated resources more               n AM4020 AdvancedMC OCTEON Plus Module
 towards application designs.                                                    n AM4500 AdvancedMC Storage Module


 Kontron is currently assisting its TEM clients in a multi-phase                 TO ORDER EVALUATION UNITS OR
 migration program that prepares them to develop immediately with                UPGRADE AN EXISTING DESIGN CONTACT US AT:
 40G-ready AdvancedTCA platforms. As the first phase, TEMs can
 fully deploy them as 10G systems and, when ready, initiate the second           Kontron Modular Computer
 phase to field upgrade them with 40G switching and any other
 multicore processing capabilities.
                                                                                 Sudetenstrasse 7
                                                                                 87600 Kaufbeuren
 Telecom and network equipment vendors who need to speed up their                Germany
 design of wireless and wireline infrastructure systems seek out com-            +49 (0) 8341 803 333
 mercial-off-the-shelf open platforms, such as ATCA, as a more efficient
                                                                                 +49 (0) 8341 803 339
 deployment strategy.
                                                                                 support-kom@kontron.com


  December 2010                                                             26
                                                                                                                                            PROFILE


                                                                                 White Papers and Videos
                                                                                 Trusted Architecture – Data Protection with the
                                                                                 QorIQ Platform
                                                                                 Curtiss-Wright has given data protection a very high priority in the
                                                                                 design of its next-generation Power Architecture single board computers.
                                                                                 After a thorough evaluation process, Curtiss-Wright selected Freescale’s
Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing                                       next generation system-on-chip QorIQ P4040/P4080 platform proces-
                                                                                 sors as the centerpiece of its data protection strategy.
Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing is the defense and
aerospace industry’s most comprehensive and experienced single
source for rugged embedded computing solutions. Our complete                     Using the Intel® Architecture in High-Performance,
portfolio of products includes processing, data communications,                  Military Embedded Signal Processing Applications
digital signal processing, video and graphics, rugged displays, recording        Historically, PowerPC®/Power Architecture® processors have been
and storage, analog acquisition and reconstruction, radar and integrated         the dominant choice for implementing Digital Signal Processing
subsystems. All of our products are architected with the most advanced           (DSP) in high-performance embedded military applications. Today,
technology for a rugged environment and are enhanced by services                 beginning with Intel Core™ i7 dual-core processors, the low-power,
such as life cycle management and custom engineering.                            high-performance advantages of the Intel architecture processor tech-
                                                                                 nology can be used to design DSP engines for the rugged deployed
As part of the Motion Control division of Curtiss-Wright, our focus
                                                                                 COTS signal processing space.
on engineering excellence is based on more than a century of innovation,
including some of the most important advancements in aviation pio-
neered by our founders, Glenn Curtiss and Orville and Wilbur Wright.             Risk Management for Counterfeit Materials: The
                                                                                 Role of the COTS Board Manufacturer
Our mission is to target and overcome one of the most pressing issues
confronting rugged system integrators - ensuring that the systems’               There is ample evidence to suggest that the proliferation of counterfeit
pieces integrate and work together. With its end-to-end expertise, the           parts and materials in the electronics industry is becoming increasingly
Embedded Computing organization will remove this critical concern                widespread, particularly in aerospace and defense. Through stringent
by providing a single company that stands behind the interoperability            obsolescence and supply chain management, combined with thorough
of its system components, from host CPU board, to mezzanine                      inspection, testing and quality assurance procedures, embedded
module, to ATR chassis.                                                          COTS suppliers can mount an effective defense against counterfeit
                                                                                 materials.
Curtiss-Wright offers a broad range of products founded on open sys-
tems architectures like OpenVPX/VPX/VPX REDI,VME, CompactPCI,                    An OpenVPX System Specification Primer
FMC, XMC and PMC. With board-level products, enclosures, software
and systems integration services, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded               OpenVPX™ expands on the VPX Base and Dot Specifications and
Computing can offer an embedded computing solution that meets the                provides a System Specification to address interoperability issues be-
requirements of any development or production program.                           tween VPX modules and Chassis. OpenVPX™ is an extensible specifi-
                                                                                 cation which addresses the current and future needs for computing in
                                                                                 harsh environments.

                                                                                 The Skyquest Video Management System
                                                                                 Aerial reconnaissance has dramatically changed our view of the world.
                                                                                 With unprecedented amounts of data available, the world’s leading
                                                                                 surveillance authorities demand a video management system that
                                                                                 makes processing this intelligence second nature.

                                                                                 The VPX6-185 Single Board Computer
                                                                                 The VPX6-185 combines the performance and the advanced I/O
                                                                                 capabilities of the Freescale™ MPC8641/8640 processor with an
                                                                                 extensive I/O complement, providing a highly capable processing
                                                                                 platform for a wide range of embedded military/aerospace applications.



                                                                                                  Curtiss-Wright Controls
                                                                                                  Embedded Computing
                                                                                                  20130 Lakeview Center Plaza, Suite 200
                                                                                                  Ashburn, VA 20147
                                                                                                  USA
                                                                                                  T: +1 703.779.7800
                                                                                                  F: +1 703.779.7805
                                                                                                  www.cwcembedded.com


                                                                            27                                                             December 2010
    COMMUNICATIONS



10G Ethernet is poised to become
the next true standard in networking
By Christoph Neumann and Dr. Stephan Rupp, Kontron


               For over 25 years, Ethernet
           has proven itself able to adapt
                     to meet the growing
                    demands of computer
              networks while maintaining
             low cost of implementation,
                   ease of installation and
              highest reliability. Now 10G
           Ethernet is becoming available
               in embedded form factors,
                   removing performance
                                bottlenecks.
                                                                                                                           Figure 1. The Kontron CP6930
                                                                                                                           is a performance-optimized
                                                                                                                           10-Gigabit Ethernet switch.


n High-speed Ethernet technologies allow             Voice over IP). For aggregation of traffic, 10G      and maintenance hassles, and the hypervisor
simplifying the structure of computer systems        avoids multiple 1G links with complex link ag-       must manage traffic between VMs (thus
in a significant way. 10G is available in advanced   gregation mechanisms. With multi-core CPUs,          becoming a multi-port Ethernet switch), or
CPUs and Ethernet MACs for processing and            the number of virtual machines per processor         alternatively traffic between VMs can be
storage subsystems. One pipe may handle both         is increasing. 10G Ethernet MACs support vir-        channeled over exterior network interfaces.
the operation of clusters as well as high-speed      tualization, i.e. network interfaces can be shared
communications to the outside world. Re-             between VMs in a hardware-independent way.           This scenario is not far-fetched: VMs in em-
sources may be allocated by virtualization, in-      The same technology is applied in local and          bedded computing are increasingly being used
cluding network interfaces. Components and           remote communication, resulting in reduced           to encapsulate parallel jobs. Today 4-core CPUs
interfaces are entirely based on worldwide in-       complexity, reduced cabling and improved re-         easily support 4 to 8 VMs per core. As shown
dustrial standards. Developers are now con-          liability. Carrier Ethernet services allow native    in figure 1 (lower part), this results in a number
fronted with the questions which 10G tech-           connectivity for remote operation.                   of network interfaces exceeding 16 ports. In
nology to choose and which embedded systems                                                               addition, the traffic capacity of the CPU exceeds
provide the ideal environment. Multi-core            On many desktop devices, virtualization has          1 Gigabit speed, requiring multiple 1GbE ports
CPUs come with 10 Gigabit/sec speed for              been used to boot one operating system or the        per VM. 10G NICs with support of virtualiza-
inter-process communication. Several standards       other. In this case, one virtual machine (VM)        tion solve many problems including the sharing
are available to provide the required transfer       may own the complete hardware, with no               of 10G Ethernet ports between VMs without
rates. So there are many good reasons to use         need to share. In IT server infrastructure and       need of link aggregation. Most importantly,
10 Gigabit Ethernet now.                             in embedded systems, virtualization is increas-      inter-VM traffic is handled within the NIC
                                                     ingly used to run multiple VMs in parallel on        without impact on the hypervisor.
Prices of interfaces have come down. There           the same hardware. With current network in-
are SFP+ transceivers available in the same          terface cards (NICs), Ethernet ports cannot be       At customer premises, IT infrastructure serves
small form factor as SFP with passive copper         shared easily between parallel VMs. The usual        a variety of applications; whether for enterprise
links for short-range, price-sensitive applica-      solution is to allocate Ethernet ports to indi-      communication, facility management, process
tions (such as chassis interconnect, up to           vidual VMs, as shown in figure 2 (upper part).       technology or computer center, the general
several meters), as well as optical connections      While this type of solution works with a             structure is similar. Front-end servers handle
for longer distances. Different traffic classes      limited number of VMs and a sufficient num-          exterior connectivity to other sites (locally or
can be allocated to one single pipe (with QoS        ber of NICs, it has major drawbacks as the           remotely) including security screening and
providing many service levels). With protocols       number of VMs increases. The number of net-          traffic distribution. On a second tier, application
such as iSCSI, storage can use the same interface    work interfaces needs to match the number of         servers handle the computing tasks. A third
technology as inter-process communication            VMs, resulting in extra cost, space requirements,    tier handles the storage and safe backup of
or exterior services (such as web traffic or         cabling, as well as additional configuration         persistent data. Figure 3 shows the principle


    December 2010                                                           28
                                                                                                                        COMMUNICATIONS

                                                                                                     established solutions have their benefits, the
                                                                                                     result is a diverse environment, with complex
                                                                                                     configurations, which requires a diversity of
                                                                                                     skills for operation.

                                                                                                     The arrival of 10GbE technology removes the
                                                                                                     performance bottleneck of past Ethernet tech-
                                                                                                     nology for server and storage networks and al-
                                                                                                     lows a diversity of applications to be placed
                                                                                                     on a single technology platform. For server in-
                                                                                                     terconnection, 10 GbE can accommodate the
                                                                                                     speed of modern CPUs. Standards like iSCSI
                                                                                                     allow for the building of equivalent storage in-
                                                                                                     frastructures to fibre channel solutions without
                                                                                                     the need for specialized fibre channel switches
                                                                                                     and software environment. The speed of 10
                                                                                                     GbE is also sufficient to support native fibre
                                                                                                     channel protocols over Ethernet (FCoE). The
                                                                                                     result is a simplified architecture for computer
                                                                                                     networks. Reduced complexity also results in
                                                                                                     reduced costs because fewer components are
 Figure 2. Allocation of network interfaces to virtual machines                                      needed, allowing technical skills to be focused
                                                                                                     elsewhere, and thus lowering operational costs.
architecture. Today, a diversity of technologies    Communication between servers (inter-process     Some server architectures allow multiple proces-
is used. While local network interconnectivity      communication) requires high-speed connec-       sor blades to be placed in a single server
to clients and other sites is largely provided by   tions over Infiniband, aggregated GbE links      chassis, which can also contain 10GbE switches.
Ethernet, connections to remote sites are pro-      or proprietary solutions. Storage networks       Such systems considerably reduce space and
vided over a choice of telecommunication in-        (network-attached storage or storage area net-   cabling by providing Ethernet connectivity
terfaces (such as ISDN, leased lines or xDSL).      works) connect over fibre channel. While all     over the backplane. Embedded form factors
   COMMUNICATIONS

                                                                                                        shows the setup between customer premises
                                                                                                        and the public wide area networks. Between
                                                                                                        customer premises, Ethernet connectivity is
                                                                                                        transparent, like a local area network connection.

                                                                                                        Behind Carrier Ethernet, considerable stan-
                                                                                                        dardization activities of major equipment sup-
                                                                                                        pliers and network operators are at work. One
                                                                                                        of the most prominent organizations is the
                                                                                                        Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). Standardization
                                                                                                        activities span a wide range of IETF, IEEE and
                                                                                                        ITU standards. The MEF ensures that MEF-
                                                                                                        certified Carrier Ethernet equipment is inter-
                                                                                                        operable over public networks and local con-
                                                                                                        nections. At a much lower level of connectivity,
                                                                                                        the progress of technology is considerable.
                                                                                                        Over just five years, connector sizes and power
                                                                                                        consumption of fibre-optic or copper trans-
                                                                                                        ceiver modules have been consistently shrinking
                                                                                                        from XENPAK to XFP and SFP+. Figure 5
                                                                                                        shows the evolution.
 Figure 3. One pipe fits all - reducing complexity lowers costs.
                                                                                                        As a consequence, the new high-speed trans-
                                                                                                        ceivers such as SFP+ 10 GbE can be easily in-
                                                                                                        corporated into embedded products. The small
                                                                                                        form factors allow a high density of interfaces
                                                                                                        with low power per port (below 1 watt). The
                                                                                                        new form factors also facilitate 10G cabling
                                                                                                        considerably. SFP+ transceivers are available
                                                                                                        as a directly attached version on pre-configured
                                                                                                        copper or optical cables. Passive copper cable
                                                                                                        covers distances of up to 7 meters (with no
                                                                                                        power consumption). The cables are factory
                                                                                                        configured with SFP+ connectors on each end
                                                                                                        using parallel shielded two-pair cables (twin-
                                                                                                        axial cables). Optical cables cover distances of
                                                                                                        up to 300 meters at 850nm according to the
                                                                                                        LRM specification for long-range multi-mode
                                                                                                        fibre, and up to 10km at 1350nm according to
                                                                                                        the LR specification for long-range fibre, re-
                                                                                                        spectively.
 Figure 4. Long distance connectivity - Carrier Ethernet
                                                                                                        All 10G form factors are industry standards.
for such architectures use low-power processors      tion over public networks, which are provided      The initial standard for Ethernet at 10 Gbits/sec
and reduce total cost of ownership through           by a network operator. Network operators pro-      was published in 2002 as IEEE standard 802.3ae.
lowered operational expenses. The use of Eth-        vide a diversity of interfaces for mobile con-     The extensions SR, LR, ER and L4 of the same
ernet for server and storage interconnection is      nectivity (over GSM, UMTS or WiFi hotspots),       year define fibre optic connections. In 2004,
supported by worldwide standards: iSCSI rep-         and fixed lines (over ISDN, xDSL or leased         extension 802.ak-CX4 defined the use of copper
resents an IETF standard published in 2003,          lines). With increasing demand from corporate      twin-axial cable (InfiniBand cable). The use of
which defines encapsulation of SCSI messages         customers on high-speed interconnections,          10GBASE-T twisted-pair copper cable was spec-
in Ethernet frames and usage of TCP/IP to            many network operators now offer Carrier           ified in 2006 as 802.3an. In 2007, two further
handle traffic flows. In this way, iSCSI builds      Ethernet services: native Ethernet connectivity    extensions followed: 802.3ap-KR for serial back-
on a foundation that has been proven world-          at a variety of speeds including guaranteed        planes, and 802.aq-LRM for optical cables. The
wide on the internet. For storage networks,          availability of service and quality at different   SFP+ form factor is defined in the SFF-8431
iSCSI allows 10GbE NICs to work like SAN             service levels. While speeds above 100             specification of the SFF committee (an industry
controllers. Without the need for dedicated          Megabits/sec need a dedicated optical fibre at     group concerned with small form factors that
hardware, storage devices such as RAID net-          the customer premise and today still represent     represents major IT manufacturers).
works or backup servers can be shared over IP.       the exception, the offer of high-speed links is
                                                     increasing. For the corporate customer, Carrier    While 10G has been available for embedded
While Ethernet is a traditional technology for       Ethernet represents native Ethernet links over     server technologies like AdvancedTCA for
local area networks, it is also gaining momen-       long distance networks, which can carry local      some time (and is now moving up to 40G),
tum in remote communications. Connections            Ethernet services to remote sites. Carrier Eth-    10G is now becoming available in form factors
between two sites of an enterprise (customer         ernet also provides a reliable connection with     with lower thermal budgets and hence lower
premises) or to remote clients need a connec-        respect to downtimes and traffic. Figure 4         power consumption including CompactPCI,


  December 2010                                                            30
                                                                                                                          COMMUNICATIONS

                                                                                                       Serial RapidIO, SATA and others. MicroTCA
                                                                                                       defines 1GbE as basic communication infra-
                                                                                                       structure between boards over the backplane.
                                                                                                       In addition, extra fabrics can be used. 10 GbE
                                                                                                       is currently implemented on the backplane
                                                                                                       via 4x 2.5 G lanes using the XAUI interface
                                                                                                       (according to 802.3ap -KX4). Future imple-
                                                                                                       mentations will use 10 Gigabit/speeds per lane
                                                                                                       (according to 802.3ap -KR). Systems with 10G
                                                                                                       backplanes have been on the market for some
                                                                                                       time already. What will drive 10G is the next
                                                                                                       generation of processor blades in the AMC
                                                                                                       form factor. The double-wide (4U) form factor
                                                                                                       allows a thermal budget of up to 80 watts per
                                                                                                       AMC.

                                                                                                       With this it is possible to implement quad-
                                                                                                       core CPU boards in MicroTCA applications,
                                                                                                       combining an extremely compact, modular
                                                                                                       system design with highly parallel computing
                                                                                                       power. As the de facto standard for many de-
                                                                                                       ployed military applications, 6U VME success-
                                                                                                       fully adopted Gigabit Ethernet on the backplane
                                                                                                       thanks to VITA31.1. The choice of leveraging
 Figure 5: Evolution of 10G interfaces                                                                 a common baseline with the CompactPCI net-
                                                                                                       work infrastructure such as 6U CompactPCI
                                                                                                       switches now permits VME computers to offer
                                                                                                       the same evolutionary path towards 10 Gigabit
                                                                                                       Ethernet using the common solutions of 10Gb-
                                                                                                       enabled switch boards and 10Gb XMC mezza-
                                                                                                       nines.

                                                                                                       These products are already supported on x86-
                                                                                                       based computers and also on PowerPC Altivec
                                                                                                       single board processor boards. By offering
                                                                                                       computers that are compatible with existing
                                                                                                       application software, VME repeats the previous
                                                                                                       success of adopting a new standard without
                                                                                                       having to throw out the vast infrastructure de-
                                                                                                       veloped over many years. Designed right from
                                                                                                       the start for high-speed serial interfaces, VPX
                                                                                                       provides transfer rates of up to 6.25 Gbit/s per
                                                                                                       lane with a cross-talk attenuation of maximum
                                                                                                       3% and is well prepared for Multigig-Ethernet
                                                                                                       and other high-speed serial technologies such
 Figure 6. The Kontron AM5030 with its Intel Xeon processor extends the performance range of           as PCI Express, SATA and Serial RapidIO.
 MicroTCA into the realm of high-end processing.                                                       With a total of 464 signal contacts for 6U
                                                                                                       boards and 280 signal contacts for 3U VPX of-
MicroTCA, VME and VPX as well as embedded           way, 10G links may be connected over standard      fers enough capacity for even faster fat pipes,
rack mountable servers. CompactPCI supports         10G cabling. For multi-processor systems, the      that are not necessarily already envisaged today.
GbE on the backplane according to the PICMG         front cables will usually meet at a 10G Ethernet
specification 2.16. While 1 Gigabit/sec speed       switch. The most compact solution is to place      10G Ethernet implementation is usually done
is sufficient for many embedded applications,       a 10G switch directly into the CompactPCI          via PCI Expressed based extension cards. Em-
it represents a mismatch to the latest generation   system. Also, for rugged environments, M12         bedded Rackmount Servers are usually based
of CompactPCI processor blades, which handle        connectors are now becoming available for          on motherboards or PICMG 1.x with a system
traffic at speeds of 10 Gigabits/sec. However,      both 1G and 10G. Like CompactPCI, MicroT-          host board and an application-specific back-
when placed in a CompactPCI system, the             CA represents a PICMG standard for embed-          plane with multiple PCI and PCI express ex-
traffic capacity of the backplane generates a       ded systems. MicroTCA is the first standard        tension slots. Both system architectures can
bottleneck. This bottleneck can be solved by        using serial interfaces on the backplane, rather   easily implement standard PCIe NICs for
front cabling.                                      than the traditional parallel bus architectures.   adding 10G Ethernet interfaces parallel to the
                                                    The AMC connector provides 21 ports, which         implemented 1G Ethernet ports on the system
An extension board (mezzanine board) can            can be used for high-speed links at 2.5            board. Already available low-profile extension
be placed on the processor blade in order to        Gigabit/sec each. Thus there is ample space        cards enable to implement 10G Ethernet even
provide two 10 GbE links over SFP+. This            for high-speed fabrics like 10 GbE, PCI Express,   in space-saving 2U designs. n


                                                                          31                                                            December 2010
    COMMUNICATIONS



Performance gains from multi-core
processors partnered with ATCA
By Gene Juknevicius, GE Intelligent Platforms


              Today, multi-core processors
                are an integral element of
                electronics design and are
                     well supported by the
             AdvancedTCA infrastructure.
                This article describes tech-
              nologies and tools designers
             can use to get full advantage
               from multi-core processors
                    combined with ATCA.


                                                                                                          Figure 1. ATCA integrated
                                                                                                          platform from NEI


n  Multi-core processor technology combined         were the first to market with multi-core general     a single server with two or four multi-core
with the AdvancedTCA form factor results in         purpose processors. Then followed the giants:        processors is required, the 19-inch rack-mount-
multi-faceted performance scaling options:          Intel, AMD and Freescale. Today, 4-8 cores           able enclosure – the pizza box - works very
performance can be scaled by using processor        within a processor are the norm - and there          well. When the application requires more than
silicon with more processor cores, as well as       are architectures available that feature as many     that, or when redundancy and higher reliability
by adding more ATCA blades into the chassis.        as 64 cores within one processor. The motiva-        are required, AdvancedTCA becomes a good
Moreover, ATCA systems are easy to configure        tion for multi-core processors is fairly simple:     choice for system implementation. The Ad-
for a specific workload by combining standard       when running a typical application, the proces-      vancedTCA chassis can support up to 14 dual-
multi-core x86 processors with specialized          sor spends most of its time waiting for data to      processor blades interconnected via two high-
packet processors. Having multiple cores within     process. Historically, memory latency has im-        performance Ethernet switches in a redundant
a processor is potentially highly advantageous,     proved at a much slower pace than the speed          fashion. All blades within the chassis share
of course, but they are useless unless the soft-    of the processor. Today, the mismatch between        power supplies and cooling fans, which are
ware infrastructure has a means of utilizing        processor and memory is such that adding a           also implemented to support redundancy and
these cores. Virtualization is one technique        few extra clocks to the processor does not im-       higher reliability.
that allows use of multiple cores to run multiple   prove performance to any worthwhile degree.
applications and their operating systems in         As if this is not a big enough problem, there is     A key requirement when building a multi-
parallel. New application development - or          the issue of power consumption: adding a few         blade system is a high-speed, reliable intercon-
porting an existing application to a multi-core     extra hertz to the clock translates into a signif-   nect between the blades. From this perspective,
environment - is eased by the development           icant increase in power consumption.                 an ATCA system interconnects each blade via
tools that are available. Packet processors in                                                           a fabric interface and base interface. The fabric
particular have a powerful set of tools that        From the multi-core architecture perspective,        interface, which is considered to be a data
allow the design of applications that run in        having multiple cores, each running perhaps          path interface, is predominantly 10Gbit Ether-
parallel on multiple cores.                         at a slightly slower speed, results in a higher      net today and will soon support 40Gbit Ether-
                                                    overall performance solution. Considering that       net. The base interface is a control path and is
Just a few years ago each new processor silicon     the processor spends roughly three-quarters          implemented using 1Gbit Ethernet. Both fabric
release brought along a worthwhile clock fre-       of its time waiting for the memory, this ap-         and base interfaces are implemented in a re-
quency improvement. Today, however, clock           proach works well for applications that can          dundant fashion, such that each ATCA blade
frequency is not the main news in a new gen-        benefit from parallel processing. Obviously,         connects to both ATCA hubs which provide
eration processor release; it is the number of      the memory subsystem implementation has              the required Ethernet switching resources. All
processor cores within the device that is taking    to support multiple data accesses in parallel,       connectivity is provided via the ATCA back-
center stage. As usual, small startups such as      which is typically the case today. Let us move       plane, reducing external cabling, thereby mak-
Cavium Networks and RMI (now NetLogic)              the focus from the silicon to the system. When       ing the overall system more reliable and more


    December 2010                                                          32
                                                                                                                             COMMUNICATIONS

serviceable. The separation of the control plane      storage blades would be accessed via Ethernet       two Ethernet hubs, two GE A10200 multi-
and data plane not only enables high perform-         using either the FCoE or iSCSI protocols.           core x86 processor blades and up to 12 GE
ance blade management and control services,           ATCA storage blades can be shared among             AT2-5800 packet processor blades with dual
but also isolates the control traffic from the        multiple processor blades. Finally, an external     16-core OCTEON Plus processors. Simple
revenue-generating data plane traffic. Such           storage array can be connected via Fibre            math reveals that this system provides 320
isolation of the two planes becomes critical          Channel, FCoE or iSCSI.                             MIPS64 cores (OCTEON devices) and 24 x86
when overall system security is considered.                                                               cores (Intel Westmere devices).
Plane isolation ensures that data plane traffic,      A key feature of communication applications
which is typically customer-facing traffic, will      is their requirement for high data throughput       From the data processing perspective, data en-
not intentionally or unintentionally start            and packet processing. Also, they typically         ters the system via Ethernet hubs where packets
managing Ethernet switches and disrupt the            lend themselves well to parallel processing         are distributed - based on policies - among
operation of the complete system.                     which is where multi-core technology finds its      packet processing blades. Then, within the
                                                      optimal advantage. Although processors from         packet processor blade, packets are further
Depending on the application type, the high           both AMD and Intel are excellent computing          distributed between two OCTEON devices
performance interconnect brings a different           devices - especially when multiple cores are        and finally, within each OCTEON device, be-
value proposition. In a compute type applica-         considered - both lack the ability to efficiently   tween the cores. The packet processors perform
tion, it is essential that large numbers of proces-   get data in and out at very high data rates.        the majority of the high throughput packet
sors communicate with high throughput and             Packet processors, another type of multi-core       processing, and specific packets requiring more
very low latency. To that extent, 10Gbit and          processor architecture, are specifically opti-      extensive processing power are forwarded to
40Gbit Ethernet can provide the required data         mized to address the problem of efficient           x86-based blades. The key principle here is
throughput. Some Ethernet switches also sup-          movement in and out of packetized data. Such        that although the majority of packets require
port pass-through switching mode where pack-          devices are readily available in the ATCA blade     little processing, a small subset requires more
et transmission starts before the packet is fully     form factor allowing system designers to take       significant processing power. It is clear that
received. In such cases, packet switching latency     advantage of both x86 compute resources and         any ATCA system is useless without software.
can be lower than 500ns. Although configuring         packet processor packet manipulation resources      Having hundreds of processor cores offers
two hubs (Ethernet switches) in an ATCA               within the same system. The interoperability        huge potential, but unless used efficiently they
chassis is primarily for redundancy, it is also       inherent in the ATCA specification enables          are a waste of silicon. Historically, most
possible to use both hubs in parallel, effectively    designers to plug in multiple x86 processor         applications were written without any parallel
doubling the available bandwidth. From the            blades as well as multiple packet processor         computing concepts in mind. Consequently,
compute power density perspective, it is inter-       blades and interconnect them via high               although modern compilers attempt to recog-
esting to note that 14 GE Intelligent Platforms       performance Ethernet interfaces.                    nize areas in the code that lend themselves to
A10200 ATCA blades, each featuring dual Intel                                                             parallel processing and try to harness the
6-core Westmere processors, yield no fewer            From this perspective, Ethernet switches within     power of multiple cores, performance improve-
than 168 x86 cores within a single ATCA               hubs provide additional value in load distri-       ments are very limited when running legacy
chassis, all interconnected via an in-chassis         bution. Ethernet switches today employ so-          applications on multi-core hardware. Virtual-
high-speed interconnect.                              phisticated access control list features that       ization is often used today to better utilize
                                                      allow packets, based on their Layer-2 to Layer-     multiple processor cores. In a virtualized envi-
Compute applications also tend to require             4 information, to be steered to a specific ATCA     ronment, multiple instances of the operating
significant storage capacity, bandwidth and           blade. Such policy-based routing allows packet      system – or even multiple dissimilar operating
reliability. There are three main ways to address     streams to be distributed at very high data         systems - run on the same multi-core processor.
storage requirements. At the lowest level, each       rates (10Gbit/sec to 100Gbit/sec) among             Since each operating system has no relationship
ATCA blade can have local hard disks, located         multiple ATCA blades, while ensuring that           with the others, the operating systems can be
on the blade itself or on an associated RTM:          packets belonging to the same flow are always       happily executed in parallel on multiple cores.
these could be two redundant SAS drives. At           directed to the same blade. An example of a         Hardware, with the help of Hypervisor, ensures
the next level, one or more storage ATCA              high-performance communication system is            that each operating system can safely access
blades could be used within the system. Such          shown in figure 4. This ATCA system employs         its own memory and I/O devices without




 Figure 2. 16-slot ATCA chassis internal interconnect diagram                    Figure 4. ATCA System with two Westmere blades and ten OCTEON blades


                                                                            33                                                            December 2010
   COMMUNICATIONS

                                                                          server to the other if           Simplistic applications, such as a packet filter
                                                                          hardware failure occurs.         or L-2, L-3 switch, can be developed as se-
                                                                          Since packet processors          quential code which runs to completion and
                                                                          were designed for parallel       executes in an endless loop. The same code
                                                                          processing from the start,       could be run on all cores, and the parallel na-
                                                                          their software environ-          ture of the processing would be provided by
                                                                          ment and development             the hardware itself, which would schedule a
                                                                          tools are fully geared to-       packet processing event onto the next available
                                                                          ward application devel-          processor core, enforcing packet ordering and
                                                                          opment in a multi-core           atomicity rules if desired. The hardware also
                                                                          environment. Although            takes care of memory management and cache
                                                                          OCTEON and similar de-           coherency, allowing developers to focus on
                                                                          vices are often called           the application itself. Inter-core communication
                                                                          packet processors, inter-        can be implemented by setting aside a shared
  Figure 3. The GE Intelligent Platforms A10200 ATCA single board        nally they are based on           memory region or by using a shared variable.
  computer                                                               standard processor archi-
                                                                         tectures, such as MIPS64,         Depending on the application and development
disturbing its neighbors. Virtualization allows   and can run standard operating systems such              requirements, a number of software packages
the consolidation of multiple physical servers    as Linux. Their performance advantages, how-             can help developers get a head start. One notable
into one server with multi-core processors.       ever, are best exposed when running simplified           example is 6WINDGate software which allows
                                                  proprietary operating systems, such as Cavium            the seamless marriage of x86 processors with
ATCA allows further consolidation of multiple     Simple Executive. It is important not to confuse         packet processors, offloading time-critical tasks
blades with multiple multi-core processors:       these devices and their operating systems with           to be run by Simple Executive on the packet
racks of legacy servers can be reduced to a       the network processors of the past, such as              processors and providing a large number of fre-
single ATCA chassis. Virtualization within the    Intel XScale. Modern packet processors are               quently needed protocols. 6WINDGate can be
ATCA environment provides another benefit - programmed using standard C and C++ lan-                       used standalone, or as a base platform for a spe-
redundancy and high availability. Using a high    guage even when their proprietary operating              cific application, and can abstract inter-processor
availability virtualized operating system, an     system is being used; in fact, they allow existing       and inter-core communications, significantly
application can be migrated from one physical     C code to be simply ported.                              simplifying software development effort. n




                                                                                  for all-IP network infrastructure synchronization implementations in
                                                                                  the 4G network.
                                                                                  n Ideal eNodeB and LTE network element component on MicroTCA.
                                                                                  n Leverage as a co-processor on ATCA blade.
                                                                                  n Best performance per watt compared to other multicore processors.
                                                                                  n Unmatched deterministic, low latency 3rd generation DPI perform-
                                                                                    ance with unlimited rules and a rich feature-set on a single chip.
 Kontron AM4211                                                                   n 1x 10GbE to the front; software configurable interfaces to the

 Next Gen Packet Processor AMC Module                                               Fabric with either 2x PCIe x4, or SRIO, which makes it interoperable
                                                                                    with 3rd party Digital Signal Processing (DSP) AMCs.
                                 The AM4211 Packet Processor AMC                  n With direct connectivity to FPGA/DSP AMCs in MicroTCA™ plat-
                                 module is designed with the Cavium                 forms, it supports MAC processing and L3-L7 processing on single
                                 Networks OCTEON® II CN6335                         chip, at a throughput of up to15M packets per second (pps).
                                 cnMIPS64® II 6-core processor, helping
                                 to accelerate system designs for 4G, LTE,        The Kontron AM4211 is available now. Contact us for more information
                                 WiMAX base station vendors.                      and to inquire about the Kontron AM4211 Software Development Kit
                                                                                  and additional optional software modules such as an IPv4/IPv6 stack,
 Platform design considerations for the Kontron AM4211 include using              IPSec, QoS management, multicast forwarding, IP filtering, VLAN,
 it as an eNodeB and LTE network element component or, in combination             L2 tunneling and application programming frameworks.
 with full-scale AdvancedTCA® blades, as a co-processor Network In-
 terface Card (NIC). The Kontron AM4211 supports 1x 10GbE to the                  TO ORDER EVALUATION UNITS OR
 front and is interoperable with third-party DSP AMCs. Also supported             UPGRADE AN EXISTING DESIGN CONTACT US AT:
 is the IEEE 1588 timestamp for Ethernet time synchronization.
                                                                                  Kontron Modular Computer
 The Kontron AM4211 AMC supports GbE on Ports 0 and 1 connected
 to the CN6335 processor for control plane functions, and is fully soft-          Sudetenstrasse 7
 ware compatible with the existing Kontron AM4204, AM4210 and                     87600 Kaufbeuren
 AM4220 packet processor modules, ensuring it is an ideal candidate               Germany
 for configurations in the Kontron MicroTCA™ 1U platform OM6061.                  +49 (0) 8341 803 333
 As a massively integrated SOC, the CN6335 also incorporates SGMII                +49 (0) 8341 803 339
 with IEEE 1588 timestamp for Ethernet time synchronization, ideal                support-kom@kontron.com



  December 2010                                                              34
                                                                                                                       PROFILE


                                                                    n   Wall mounted cases
                                                                    Wall mounted cases/wall mounted cabinets, steel or
                                                                    plastic, type of protection IP20 to IP67. Applications in
                                                                    Electronics, Networking Technology Industries.

                                                                    n   19’’ cases, table top cases and tower
Schroff                                                                 cases
Schroff is a Pentair Technical Products company and                 19'' desktop cases, 19'' tower cases as well as 19'' chassis
employs some 1300 people in Europe. The group is part               and cases with 19'' compatible dimensions, i.e. for use in
of Pentair Inc. (of St. Paul, Minnesota, USA) with over             Electronics, Medical Technology and Test & Measure-
13,100 employees in 50 locations worldwide.                         ment Industries.
For more than 40 years Schroff has been a leader in
providing reliable protection and solid packaging of                n   Subracks
electronics. Our success is driven by the realisation of            Subracks: europacPRO, europac Integral, accessories.19''
customers desires and the understanding of their markets.           chassis: multipacPRO, inpac.
Being member of the international standard commitees
like DIN and IEC, we represent their interests when
global standards are developed.                                     n   Plug-in units
Our product range extends from cabinets, cases and                  Front panels, plug-in modules, plug-in units, drive units,
subracks to power supplies, backplanes, climate solutions           PCB accessories, retention parts.
and a variety of accessories. Our expertise and extensive
integration services allow us to combine components                 n   Systems
inside a cabinet or enclosure – regardless of complexity.           ATCA, AdvancedMC, MicroTCA, CompactPCI, VMEbus,
Customers benefit from “plug&play” products for their               VME64x, accessories.
19'' technology from a single source, while avoiding
interface problems and allowing them to concentrate
on their own core competence. Beside complete CPCI                  n   Power supplies
and VME/VME64x Systems we also offer customized                     Power supplies for 19'' systems, computer systems, telecom-
solutions.                                                          munications, 19'' or open frame.

                                                                    n   Backplanes/testadaptors
                                                                    For computer controlled systems. They provide simple
                                                                    and safe power and signal distribution. VMC, CPCI, PXI,
                                                                    ATCA, VME 64x.

                                                                    n   Climate
                                                                    19'' fan units, 19'' fans, air filtered fans, air conditioners,
                                                                    cabinet heaters.

                                                                    n   Socket strips
                                                                    Socket strips SCHUKO, UTE, IEC, US and Swiss versions.


                                                                    SCHROFF
Leading the way in AdvancedTCA, the new standard for
                                                                    Langenalber Str. 96-100
high performance computing, Schroff offers several
Rugged MicroTCA, MicroTCA, ATCA Systems, Advanced                   75334 Straubenhardt
MC in different designs as well as accessories such as              Germany
front panels, filler panels, shelf managers and backplanes.         +49 7082 794-0
                                                                    +49 7082 794-200
                                                                    schroff.de@pentair.com
Product Overview
                                                                    http://www.schroff.biz
n   Cabinets
Cabinets for the accommodation and protection of your
electronics, to EMC and IP levels. For office and industrial
environments.


                                                               35                                                     December 2010
    COMMUNICATIONS



Built-in development and debugging
tools in MicroTCA systems
By Vollrath Dirksen, N.A.T.


            MicroTCA and AdvancedMC
             are increasingly used in the
           telecoms, medical, industrial,
               defense and high-energy
                  physics markets. Many
               companies therefore port
              hardware from other form
             factors to AdvancedMC, or
                        even design own
           AdvancedMC modules. Such
          developments can be acceler-
         ated with the built-in develop-
          ment and debugging tools in
            standard MicroTCA systems


n Bandwidth, scalability and power budget are        data rates of 20 Gbits/s are achievable. Using          is independent of any topology (PCIe, SRIO,
some of the reasons for the use of MicroTCA          different combinations of AdvancedMC mod-               GbE, XAUI, etc), customer application and
and AdvancedMC standards in the telecom-             ules and chassis sizes allow to build a product         operating system. It is a world of its own, con-
munication, medical, industrial, defense and         family, from compact size to high performance,          trolled by a separate carrier manager in the
high energy physics markets. Therefore an in-        by optimum re-use of key components.                    MicroTCA system. Relying on the existing in-
creasing number of companies like to port                                                                    frastructure for management and maintenance
their hardware from other form factors to            Standard AdvancedMC modules for CPU, graphic,           in the MicroTCA system, new features can be
AdvancedMC form factor or they even design           hard-disk, DSP and MicroTCA chassis are available       implemented in the application software. These
new AdvancedMC modules. By using the built-          off the shelf. Thus, the problem could be special I/O   features can be for example sensor and inven-
in development and debugging tools in stan-          hardware not being available off the shelf. There are   tory information from the carrier manager.
dard MicroTCA systems these AdvancedMC               easy workarounds available like carrier boards in       This information can be gathered via the
developments can be accelerated.                     AdvancedMC form factor for PMC and IP (industrial       RMCP protocol from the carrier manager by
                                                     pack) modules. The connection of I/O boards             using Gigabit Ethernet in the backplane of a
The development and debugging tools are in-          for PCI, cPCI and VMEbus and MicroTCA systems           MicroTCA system. To avoid any delays in soft-
troduced in accordance with the AdvancedMC           is enabled via adapter cards NAMC-XLINK,                ware development of new application features,
development cycle. The cycle can be divided          NPCI-XLINK, NcPCI-XLINK and SIS3100/SIS3104.            carrier or adapter cards can be used as interim
into the following phases: concept, hardware                                                                 solutions in hardware development. Currently
and software development, integration,               For PMC, cPCI and PCI boards no driver or               available products can be used meanwhile in
production and deployment.                           application software modifications are neces-           the development phases to close the gap
                                                     sary. Proving a concept with real hardware              between the hardware launches.
Successful new concepts shall be future-proofed,     gives assurance that a system based on Mi-
flexible and adaptable to changing market            croTCA and AdvancedMC will fulfil the re-               Nowadays, MicroTCA chassis, backplanes and
needs, should minimize risk, and ideally create      quirements of better remote management, hot             power modules can be bought off the shelf.
a new product family. The MicroTCA and Ad-           swap and redundancy capability, and higher              The aim is to integrate specific company know-
vancedMC standards are perfect because they          data throughput.                                        how in own AdvancedMC hardware. In the
allow scalability from small and low power to                                                                fast-moving embedded market, time to market
big, high-performance systems. The MicroTCA          Besides higher bandwidth, a MicroTCA system             is one of the most important issues in the de-
backplane with the combination of switch and         offers immediately standardized remote man-             velopment cycle, necessitating quick and risk-
point-to-point technology is protocol-agnostic       agement, maintenance and inventory functions            free design. The first decision is to choose the
and allows high bandwidth (6.125 Gbits/s per         without any modification in the application             appropriate AdvancedMC size. This depends
lane) and several data transfers at a time.          software. This is achieved by the use of the            on the board size needed and the restrictions
Combining several differential line pairs (ports),   mandatory IPMI bus in such a system, which              on the complete system and environment. Two


    December 2010                                                            36
                                                                                                                              COMMUNICATIONS

                                                     ample Harting AdvancedMC plugs). Further,             measurement of all AdvancedMC signals easy.
                                                     these AdvancedMC plugs fulfil the require-            Opening wire bridges allows measuring the
                                                     ments for vibration and shock tests even for          current for the management and payload power.
                                                     the rugged standard MTCA.1, .2. and .3 and            Solder pads close to the AdvancedMC connector
                                                     are verified for 10 Gbits/s signals. The gold-        minimize the number of test cables to be sol-
                                                     plated edge connector with the tolerances re-         dered directly to the new AdvancedMC module.
                                                     quired by the AdvancedMC specification is             This is convenient if several AdvancedMC mod-
                                                     very challenging as far as production and reli-       ules have to be brought up. The AdvancedMC
                                                     able quality is concerned. This challenge can         extender JTAG debug pins are also available on
                                                     be overcome by using a plug connector. The            special solder pads, which allow downloading
                                                     final decision to be made is: how to realize the      of firmware into FPGAs etc.
 Figure 1. Special bring-up functions of the
 NAT-MCH MicroTCA Carrier Hub can be                 mandatory IPMI implementation? One way is
 used in case that no IPMI code is loaded in         to use commercial solutions or to buy schemat-        If the AdvancedMC is successfully tested stand-
 the IPMI controller on the AdvancedMC               ics from AdvancedMC manufacturers. The                alone, the next step is its integration into a
 board.                                              main difference from other form factors is the        MicroTCA system. Now, the NAMC-EXT-PS
                                                     separate management IPMI bus. The bus is              is used in plug-in mode. The AdvancedMC in
board sizes are defined: 180mm x 73.5mm              easy to implement for hardware developers             the NAMC-EXT-PS extender can be plugged
(single AdvancedMC) and 180mm x 148,5mm              using a low-cost microcontroller as a one-chip        directly into the MTCA system with all soldered
(double). If the board size is not sufficient or     solution. The minimum functionality of an             cables. Measurements can be continued inter-
rear I/O cabling is needed, the rear transition      IPMI controller includes: a temperature sensor,       acting with other boards in the system. In the
modules (RTM) defined in the upcoming                hotswap sensor and LED at the front panel,            case that no IPMI code is loaded in the IPMI
MTCA.4 standard (double format 188mm                 and two wires to the AdvancedMC connector             controller on the AdvancedMC board, special
x 148.5mm) can be used. The second decision          (I²C based IPMI bus).                                 bring-up functions of the MicroTCA carrier
is the size of the front panel, which may allow                                                            hub NAT-MCH can be used. These are for
or reduce the maximum number of 12                   Optionally, hardware engineering can add              example: powering up without IPMI code,
AdvancedMC modules in a 19-inch chassis.             small, low-cost ADCs to allow voltage measur-         ignoring invalid FRU data. These functions
There are three different sizes of front panels      ing. Further, other sensors can be implemented        are only available with the guidance of a N.A.T.
available: compact (8.18mm), mid (13.66mm)           to determine the health status of the Ad-             engineer, and are hidden from normal or
and full size (23.65mm). The preference              vancedMC module without any external meas-            accidental access. In combination with the
depends on the height of the components              urement equipment. This feature works                 NAT-MCH the professional version of the
used and if sub-modules should be used. The          independently of power-up status, operating           NATView software enables an in-depth view
maximum power for single and double                  system and application software. Thus, it saves       and analysis of the MicroTCA system and the
AdvancedMC modules is 80 watts. The third            a lot of money in system debugging.                   AdvancedMC modules. The included FRU
decision is the choice of the intended Micro-                                                              editor manages and programs the FRU image
TCA standard depending on the cooling and            In this development stage the aim is to bring         of the backplane and the EEPROM of the
environmental conditions. The MTCA standard          up the AdvancedMC module at the first time,           AdvancedMC module. The link-viewer-func-
offers four levels: MTCA.0 (standard forced-         which can be done using the AdvancedMC                tion of NATview-Professional shows all avail-
air-cooled system), MTCA.1 (air-cooled rugged        extender NAMC-EXT-PS. For the upcoming                able backplane interconnections. This
MicroTCA), MTCA.2 (hardened air-cooled               MTCA.4 standard, N.A.T. already offers the            information is also available via the command
MicroTCA), and upcoming standards MTCA.3             compatible AdvancedMC-Extender named                  line interface of the NAT-MCH, which is
(hardened conduction-cooled MicroTCA) and            NAMC-EXT-RTM-F (front) and NAMC-EXT-                  accessible externally via Ethernet or serial or
MTCA.4 (xTCA for physics). The engineering           RTM-R (rear). If the NAMC-EXT-P or NAMC-              USB interface.
team has to decide if they want to use the           EXT-RTM-F/-R is used in the standalone mode
backplane with up to 170 signals as edge con-        it needs only 12V, generates by itself the required   Using the console interface of the MicroTCA
nector. If the aim is to guarantee high precision,   3.3V management power, and gives access to            Carrier Hub all information of the system or a
                                                                                                           single AdvancedMC can be gathered:
robustness and easy replacement, a suitable          all sides of the new AdvancedMC module with-
choice is the use of commercial plugs (for ex-       out any disturbing chassis. This makes the            - show_ekey
                                                                                                             shows all activated connections
                                                                                                           - show_fru
                                                                                                             shows all FRUs (Field Replaceable Units)
                                                                                                           - show_fruinfo device
                                                                                                             shows the content of a FRU device
                                                                                                           - show_cu
                                                                                                             shows Cooling Units
                                                                                                           - show_pm
                                                                                                             shows the actual power allocation status for
                                                                                                             all AdvancedMC modules and Cooling Units
                                                                                                           - show_sensorinfo device
                                                                                                             shows sensors for device.


                                                                                                           Another time-saving command during
 Figure 2. The current measurement functions of the NAMC-EXT-PS…                                           debugging is the history-command of the
                                                                                                           NAT-MCH. It allows recalling the complete


                                                                            37                                                             December 2010
     COMMUNICATIONS

                                                                                                       NATView Easy, free available in combination
                                                                                                       with an NAT-MCH, can be used as a visual
                                                                                                       inspection tool. If for instance the FRU images
                                                                                                       are not correct or the threshold values are not
                                                                                                       set to the right values, the production engineers
                                                                                                       can detect this visually. Also by sharing the log
                                                                                                       files generated by the NAT-MCH a quick support
                                                                                                       request can be sent to the engineering department,
                                                                                                       if the production system does not run properly.

                                                                                                       For support once the system is deployed in
                                                                                                       the field, support engineering can use the
                                                                                                       Java-Application NATView Easy on a USB
                                                                                                       stick and check healthy and inventory infor-
                                                                                                       mation of all systems visualized directly at
                                                                                                       the MicroTCA system. As mentioned before
                                                                                                       the log functions of the MicroTCA carrier
                                                                                                       hub can be used as easy service tool containing
                                                                                                       all necessary information for sophisticated
    Figure 3. …and NAMC-EXT-RTM-F/-R can be used to measure the current and to optimize the            support.
    application code to lower the power consumption.
                                                                                                       At startup the MCH checks the FRU informa-
log buffer. Even in case of a power fault the       from a TFTP-server. The MicroTCA carrier           tion and the compatibility of the combination
last sensor events can be regained from the         hub provides an Ethernet switch and a port         of AdvancedMC modules and firmware. It de-
battery backed-up sensor data repository. The       on its front panel. All AdvancecMC boards          tects and logs the communication links like
NAT-MCH contains GbE switch, clock module           can download their software over this single       GbE, SRIO, PCIe, XAUI, the power budget
and fat pipe switches in addition to the above-     interface during the development and test          and the process states. Additionally, alarms
described carrier and optional shelf and system     phase. In a later development stage, the soft-     are generated during the monitoring of sensor
manager functions. The infrastructure can be        ware will be loaded from flash, SATA hard          data like temperature, voltage and other related
configured through a web interface or via           disks of from one node in the system.              sensor values. To reduce service costs the
command line interface. For example:                                                                   remote management functions of the Micro-
                                                    It is very difficult to predict the power con-     TCA carrier hub can be used to detect health
• 802.1Q VLAN protocol configuration                sumption of FPGA and DSP devices depending         information, events and alarms, and do remote
• 802.1x VLAN security protocol configuration       on the applied software. The current measure-      power on/off of any AdvancecMC card inde-
• 802.1p Quality of service configuration           ment functions of the NAMC-EXT-PS /                pendently. If the system is built as a redundant
• PCIexpress Root Complex, PCIe startup             NAMC-EXT-RTM-F/-R can be used to                   system with all components doubled, an uptime
  sequence                                          measure the current and to optimize the            of 99.999% can be achieved.
• IP Routing                                        application code to lower the power consump-
• clock configuration, clock source.                tion. Even power modules designed for              With hardware tools like the JTAG switch
                                                    MicroTCA provide a current monitoring              module JSM, the AdvanceMC extender
For quick support, the output of the MicroTCA       function to switch off the payload of a specific   NAMC-EXT-PS, NAMC-EXT-RTM-F/-R, car-
carrier hub can be delivered as a log file to the   AdvancedMC module if it consumes more              rier boards for IP and PMC modules and
suppliers of the MicroTCA or CPU boards to          amperes than defined in its FRU information.       adapter boards for PCI, cPCI and VMEbus
isolate any problem. The PCB and firmware           In parallel to the application software the        and the AdvancecMCplug a new concept can
versions as well as the serial numbers of the       carrier manager running on the MicroTCA            be proofed and an AdvancecMC module quick-
equipment involved are included. All inventory      carrier hub monitors the health of the plugged     ly developed and tested. The built-in functions
information can be logged by the MicroTCA           in AdvancedMC module in the background             of the MicroTCA Carrier Hub make the back-
carrier hub.                                        independently of any operating system and          plane and the plugged-in modules (Field Re-
                                                    application software running.                      placeable Units, FRU) transparent, extend the
Now the new AdvancedMC board is installed                                                              easy support in the field, allow easy upgrade
among the others within the MicroTCA sys-           After the successful integration of the hard-      and redundancy support.
tem. The topology set up in the MicroTCA            ware and software, the production has to
carrier hub and all other components is ready       take over the complete system. The central-        NATView and/or the visualized inventory and
to run the application software. This software      ized firmware and application update via           alarm functions based on open standards
can be loaded via local JTAG or other debug         the NAT-MCH reduces the number of cables           differentiate the new customer solution from
interfaces to the individual AdvancecMC             to one. The log files of the NAT-MCH sum-          other solutions by being easy to handle and
boards. If more than one new AdvancedMC             marize the inventory and configuration in-         easily upgradeable with standard off the shelf
module has to be integrated, a centralized          formation (hardware, PCB and firmware              products. n
JTAG switch will replace separate JTAG con-         version, serial number, etc), and the status
nections to each module. This function can          of voltage and temperature sensors. In addi-       Note:
be provided by the JSM (JTAG switch module)         tion, with customer test application output        MicroTCA (µTCA) is a registered trademark
plugged into a chassis with a separate JTAG         and verification of a correctly installed end      and AdvancedMC (AMC) a trademark of the
connector in the backplane. The application         application, all data can be used in the end       PCI Industrial Computers Manufacturers Group
software load is often done via downloads           control documentation.                             (PICMG).


     December 2010                                                        38
                                                                                                                   INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING



Will Ethernet be the only train bus
in the trains of the future?
By Manfred Schmitz, MEN


                     This article discusses
                  the various train busses
                      used today and the
                  possibility that Ethernet
                  could become the train
                        bus of the future.




                                                                                                                        Figure 1. Rugged Ethernet
                                                                                                                        switch for use in trains


n Railway vehicles – be it railcars or locomo-      to higher-performance communication chan-           automatic numbering of the wagons during
tives, underground trains, trams or passenger       nels so that different fieldbus networks were       train formation or the building up of fritting
and freight trains – are equipped with a multi-     introduced in railway vehicles. The latest data-    voltages (very high direct voltage used for
tude of single functions which are all inter-       intensive innovations like infotainment, web        cleaning of coupling contacts). It is defined
connected. For the train drive these are the        access and other wireless services like GPS         for a data transfer rate of 1 Mbit/s over a dis-
control of the traction and the brakes, the         and GSM led to solutions based on Ethernet          tance of up to 860 meters via a twisted pair
clutches and the gearboxes, the antiskid system     networks. At the moment the whole transport         cable and built up redundantly.
and the increase of braking power via sanding.      industry is changing rapidly, there are as many
In the driver cabin there are the display systems   approaches as there are vehicle manufacturers.      Seen from today, the bandwidth of TCN and
for speed, tank filling level, SIFA (monitoring),                                                       the other fieldbuses is reaching its limit. There
GSM as well as the data logger and train safety     In the IEC TC 9 WG 22, the train communica-         are no user organizations as for CANopen
systems. The motor starter, the pre-heating         tion network TCN was created in the 90s as a        and Profinet which look after the standard.
system or the traction cooling system are con-      railway-specific fieldbus according to IEC          Thus there are implementation differences
nected to the main supply, while the electric       61375, in cooperation with the UIC (Interna-        and differing incompatible physical interfaces
equipment and the battery are connected to          tional Union of Railways). It consists of the       which complicate interoperability. In addition,
the auxiliary supply.                               vehicle bus MVB (multifunction vehicle bus)         the cost per node is ten to one hundred times
                                                    and the train bus WTB (wire train bus). The         higher than for CANopen. This entails that
In a vehicle for passenger traffic there is also    TCN defines the time and safety critical data       dependent on the manufacturer different field-
the control of the inner and outer doors, the       transfer in railway vehicles using the complete     buses like CANopen, Profibus, Profinet, World-
inner and outer lighting system, the air condi-     layer 7 architecture. Within the TCN network        FIP, Bitbus etc are used. This in turn generates
tioning and the sanitary equipment, the train       the MVB can be used as a fieldbus inside one        unnecessary costs, as different fieldbuses re-
coupling and possibly the tilting system. Re-       vehicle or inside a group of fixedly coupled ve-    quire different configuration tools and ana-
cently passenger information systems and wire-      hicles. It is defined for a data transfer rate of   lyzing devices. In more complex trains, this
less access to internet services have been in-      1.5 Mbits/s via optic fiber cables and/or twisted   requires gateways which have to mediate be-
creasing traveling comfort. Another trend is        pair cables. As the MVB controller chips are        tween the different buses and protocols. Price
to systematically equip trains with monitoring      proprietary and expensive, often other field-       and bandwidth problems together make it
and safety systems for passengers and the train     buses like CANopen or Profibus are used in-         ever more necessary to use high-performance
infrastructure. In the past, many of these sub-     stead of the MVB. The WTB train bus, a dy-          standardized transport protocols like TCP/IP
systems could be accessed via point-to-point-       namic bus system that was developed for op-         or UDP/IP. The big technological progress of
connections on the basis of RS232 or RS485.         eration of passenger trains with a locomotive,      Fast, Gigabit and 10Gigabit Ethernet, switching
As the number of computer-controlled sub-           is also extremely expensive in the application.     and collision-free full-duplex transmission as
systems increased, it was necessary to switch       It features exceptional processes such as the       well as time-synchronous protocols and stan-


                                                                          39                                                             December 2010
   INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING

                                                                                                          or users. They will finally be able to use stan-
                                                                                                          dardized protocols as well as a wide range of
                                                                                                          OEM devices and assemblies (including the
                                                                                                          Ethernet backbone with switches, cables and
                                                                                                          connectors). Product costs and system costs
                                                                                                          can be lowered considerably. They can benefit
                                                                                                          from the dynamic development in IT – while
                                                                                                          conforming to the industry standard EN50155.
                                                                                                          In the last instance the vehicle suppliers benefit
                                                                                                          from the basic developments and use TCP/IP
                                                                                                          or UDP/IP as transport protocol. They do not
 Figure 2. Different train applications today linked by various networks                                  have to care for railway specific proprietary
                                                                                                          developments. The same scenario applies to
dardized safety protocols on Industrial Ether-      used for supplying end devices and overlaid           the infrastructure in buses or utility vehicles.
net has accelerated development in automation,      with a direct voltage. There is an alternative for
which makes it possible to replace the field-       building up train buses in existing trains with       For operation of passenger trains with a loco-
buses used today. In real-time applications,        couplings without data lines. It is called Ethernet   motive, the problem of the automatic num-
however, there are competing standards like         Powerline (also DLAN or Homeplug). This               bering of the wagons during train formation,
Profinet, EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, Ethernet Pow-      „network via power socket“ establishes itself         i.e. the need for interoperability, remains, so
erlink and many more. Which solution will           increasingly beside the traditional Ethernet          the WTB will probably be used there for a
establish itself in railway vehicles remains to     cable and the WLAN network. One of the                long time still. In applications where the UIC
be seen, but the costs per node should be sim-      undisputed advantages is its easy installation.       556 does not have to be taken into account,
ilar to those of CANopen. This opens up new         The theoretical speed of the newer Homeplug           like for the modern ICE or TGV/AGV in
possibilities to build a completely homoge-         AV standard is 200 Mbits/s by now, that means         traffic, the vision of an Ethernet-only commu-
neous network based on Industrial Ethernet          it is faster than WLAN and the usual 100-Mbit         nication structure could become reality in the
onboard a vehicle.                                  LAN for a maximum line length of 200 meters.          next three to five years.
                                                    As the encoded data stream ends at the elec-
                                                    tricity meter, Homeplug is safer than WLAN.           Ethernet as a backbone for infotainment ap-
                                                    Drawbacks of Homeplug are the price, the in-          plications (announcements, advertising, films
                                                    tercompatibility of the devices, the electromag-      on the one hand – mobile office, games etc on
                                                    netic susceptibility and the temperature range.       the other hand) in the train is state-of-the-art
                                                                                                          even today. Likewise, monitoring systems for
                                                    In addition environmental requirements as             the safety of passengers as well as logistic func-
                                                    prescribed by EN 50155 have to be taken into          tions communicate via Ethernet. In one of
                                                    account. A robust connector technology has to         several configuration possibilities for infotain-
                                                    be used on the hardware side. The RJ45 con-           ment systems, communication inside the train
                                                    nectors often used for Ethernet are not accepted      is carried out via several Fast Ethernet channels,
                                                    in the railway market. Instead, D-Sub connec-         while wireless interfaces are used for external
                                                    tors and M12 connectors which are now also            communication – for example for satellite-
 Figure 3. Rugged connectors for use in train       available for Gigabit Ethernet are used. The          based internet access. Access to GPS, UMTS,
 applications                                       power supply units have to meet special re-           GSM or HSDPA is ensured via PCI Express
                                                    quirements, e.g. they have to support wide            MiniCards on suitable carrier boards. All these
Which (real-time) Ethernet will come out on         input ranges from 9V to 154V. The requirements        functions are typically integrated modularly
top in trains mainly depends on it being            for protective circuits also differ from those for    and maintenance-friendly in CompactPCI sys-
capable of meeting some very special require-       standard industry components. For example,            tems for 3U boards. For controlling the system,
ments regarding functionality, environment          transients of 1800V for duration of 50 µs are         one or several Intel-based CPU boards are
and maintenance. In trains three network            specified. Also, different demands are made on        used which can carry out different functions.
topologies are used; line, ring and ladder struc-   the maintainability of the Ethernet devices.          RAID configurations for content servers are
tures. While line structures are chosen for un-     These are for example used as an easily ex-           housed in similar systems. Camera surveillance
critical data, rings are common in real-time        changeable 19“ cassette or as compact devices         systems are also often equipped with one or
environments. Gateways are indispensable as         for space-saving wall-mounting. For an easy           several hard disk slots for building a RAID
long as different communication buses are           on-site configuration dongles are usually used.       configuration. One or several railway-compliant
used in the train. An important function is         This scenario in which there are still many           wide-range PSUs per system complete each
fritting, i.e. cleaning the coupling contacts via   unanswered questions from perspective today           solution. Often the assemblies are coated
current surges. As a simple and cost-effective      will probably become reality much faster than         against dust and humidity according to EN
solution, Ethernet offers the possibility to use    expected. The driving factor is the big financial     50155 and specified for an operating tempera-
Power over Ethernet. Here, the data lines are       gain for the final integrators and end customers      ture of -40 to +85°C. n



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  December 2010                                                             40
                                                                                                                INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING



Performance to the full -
even under extreme conditions
By Gerhard Szczuka, Kontron


               This article describes the
                   nanoETXexpress-TT -
               the first ultra-small form
           factor Computer-on-Module
         based on the latest Intel Atom
      processor E6XX. The COM is also
      one of the first corresponding to
                 the new COM Express
               COM.0 type 10 pin-out.
             Furthermore it is especially
                  suitable for use in the
           extended temperature range
          and in extreme environments



n The history of Computer-on-Modules in            this connector is its high resistance to shock    plementing two significant developments in
the ultra-small form factor category is at the     and vibration, making COM Express-designed        the industry into the COM form: the market
same time the success story of the PICMG           modules especially suitable for an industrial     entry of the Intel Atom processor E6XX series,
COM Express standard. Starting from the            environment. Kontron has consistently geared      and adoption of the latest COM Express
basic version, which was introduced into the       its product strategy in the small form factor     COM.0 Rev. 2.0 specifications. The result is
market in 2004, it was possible to maintain        category to the COM Express standard. The         an ultra-compact module that fuses the flexi-
the specifications set by the standard but still   company has implemented new processor in-         bility and performance of the new Intel product
keep up with the pace of constant product          novations from Intel into pioneering designs      with the capabilities presented by the new
miniaturization. The compact and ultra form        in line with the COM Express form factors:        COM Express type 10 pin-out. Being one of
factors have substantially smaller dimensions,     basic (125 x 95mm, such as the Kontron ETX-       only four Premier Members of the Intel Em-
but the system developer nevertheless finds all    express-AI with Intel Core i5/i7 processors),     bedded Alliance, Kontron is in a position to
the pins in their COM Express-compatible           compact (95 x 95mm, a recent example being        introduce its own products featuring latest
position. This standardization is a considerable   the Kontron microETXexpress-XL with the           Intel processor technology parallel to its launch.
simplification for developers, because it means    Intel Atom processor Z520PT), and ultra (such     By the early adoption of new technologies, all
they can populate their applications COMsis-       as the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP based on         parties benefit from mutual experience, re-
tent with the latest chip technology without       the Intel Atom processor Z5XX with credit         sulting in technically mature solutions. For
having to redesign every time round. That ap-      card dimensions of 55 x 84mm).                    OEMs and developers this means that they al-
plies worldwide because the specifications                                                           ready have access to the latest Intel® technolo-
standardized by the PICMG industrial con-          Furthermore, with the Kontron microETXex-         gies at board and system level, reducing their
sortium are established globally. Besides Kon-     press-XL with the Intel Atom processor Z520PT     time-to-market for latest solutions.
tron, renowned companies including Cisco           and Intel system controller hub US15WPT,
Systems, Fujitsu, IBM, Intel, NEC, Nokia           the company extends its portfolio by a rugged     The prime benefit of the new module is its
Siemens Networks, NTT, and Oracle along            COM Express COM.0 pin-out type-2 Com-             suitability for use in extreme operating envi-
with many others all participate in these stan-    puter-on-Module, specially developed for use      ronments. The Kontron nanoETXexpress-TT
dardization measures.                              in extreme environmental conditions. All com-     is the first ultra module designed to COM Ex-
                                                   ponents of the Kontron microETXexpress-XL         press type 10 pin-out specifications that works
At the center of the COM Express standard is       are fully industrial temperature rated and are    in the extended industrial-grade temperature
the COM Express connector: Depending on            vendor-confirmed to withstand temperatures        range E2 spanning -40°C to +85°C. Intel guar-
the interface type, one or two connectors are      from -40°C to +85°C. The company has now          antees performance in this range for its com-
used, each of which has 220 pins which, de-        launched the latest addition to its COM Express   ponents operating in the module. Plus, the
pending on the pin-out type, has a certain         family. The new Kontron nanoETXexpress-           module has no moving parts; even the memory
standard assignment. A prominent feature of        TT is an ultra-small form factor module im-       is firmly soldered on. Another attractive feature


                                                                         41                                                            December 2010
   INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING

                                                                                                          terfaces and four PCIe lanes anyway and offer
                                                                                                          no VGA but graphics interfaces, such as SDVO,
                                                                                                          DP, and HDMI. Vacated pins on the module
                                                                                                          connectors of the ultra standard can conse-
                                                                                                          quently be used for the new purposes.

                                                                                                          What do the new processor and pin-out type
                                                                                                          add to the module in terms of performance?
                                                                                                          First take a look at the architecture. The Kon-
                                                                                                          tron nanoETXexpress-TT sets up on the Intel
                                                                                                          Atom processor E6XX in versions 0.6 GHz,
 Figure 1. The Kontron nanoETXexpress-TT is the first COM Express solution featuring the new              1.0 GHz, 1.3 GHz, and 1.6 GHz plus the Intel
 Intel Atom processor E6XX and is specially suitable for applications in extreme environments             platform controller hub EG20. In Computer-
 (top view left, bottom view right).                                                                      on-Modules with earlier Intel Atom processor
                                                                                                          generations, data flow from the processor to
of the module is that it is fanless and does not      GPIO. Many different applications such as in-       the interface chipset is proprietary through
require ventilators – a possible source of failures   dustrial automation, retail, gaming, or digital     the FSB, whereas in the nanoETXexpress-TT
- for smooth operation in extreme conditions.         signage require these interfaces. The latest        important graphics interfaces have been shifted
Added to this is the long-term availability —         Intel Atom processor series is perfectly tailored   from the controller hub into the processor
chip producer Intel plans five years product          to the characteristics of the type 10 pin-out       chip, and communication between the two is
availability plus a two-year transition period        first defined by the PICMG in the upgraded          through PCI Express. As far as the performance
after the EOL date.                                   COM Express COM.0 Rev. 2.0 specification.           of the memory is concerned, the new COM
                                                      Compared to the type 1 pin-out, followed by         also has an edge over its predecessors thanks
A major difference between the Intel Atom             the other ultra form factor product nanoETX-        to the new processor. It processes data at a
processor E6XX and its predecessors is the            express-SP, type 10 (Kontron nanoETXexpress-        rate of 800 MT/s, albeit on a 32-bit channel,
processor architecture. In this new design, the       TT) more explicitly reflects the requirements       whereas earlier Intel Atom processors use 64
processor chip no longer consists of just the         of new and highly compact processors. A             bits. Tests will consequently indicate whether
pure computer core; interfaces have been added        closer look at the individual pinning shows         there is actually a difference in performance
that, in the earlier architecture, were typically     the differences to bear in mind when migrating      and how big it is. A bonus that comes with the
in the northbridge and southbridge, such as           from type 1 to type 10, although Kontron            nanoETXexpress-TT is, of course, the number
those for graphics, memory, PCIe, SPI, and            type 10 pin-out is backward-compatible with         of interfaces. Matching the COM Express type
LPC. In this way the processor can not only           type 1. The pins in rows A and B on the con-        10 pin-out it offers four PCIe lanes one of
tackle graphics jobs faster, but becomes more         nector that were reserved for SATA ports 2          which is used for connecting the Intel platform
autonomous overall. It no longer works with           and 3 in type 1, for example, are vacated in        controller hub EG20. In addition, it features
proprietary interfaces like FSB or DMI, nor           type 10. The new processor generations suitable     six USB interfaces plus an extra one dedicated
does it orient on one particular Intel hub. In-       for type 10 pin-out usually provide a maximum       and reserved for the client. All preceding
stead it uses PCI Express as an open standard         of two SATA interfaces anyway. The pins could       processors carried out the external boot for
interface for communication between the               be used as SATA ports, but are now reserved         firmware hub support via a LPC bus. The new
processor and I/O chip. This enables the Intel        for alternative purposes, such as USB 3.0 at a      design provides for implementing the boot
Atom E6XX series of processors to interconnect        later date. Kontron consequently recommends         operation over the SPI interface, which is
not only with the Intel platform controller           that SATA 2 and 3 no longer be allocated on         firmly assigned in all new and old pin-out
hub EG20 but also with I/O hubs from third-           the COM Express connector in designs for            types of the COM Express COM.0 Rev. 2.0
party manufacturers such as OKI Semicon-              both type 1 and type 10 pin-outs. In this way       specification. The module thus already features
ductor, STMicroelectronics, and Realtek and           the modules remain compatible, but at the           something that will apply to all new COMs in
any PCIe-capable device. These hubs satisfy           same time, they are ready for USB 3.0. A            future and that COM.0 Rev. 2.0 prepares for -
the specific proprietary I/O requirements of,         further difference in rows A and B is the pin-      all future processors will solely support this
for example, applications such as in-car info-        ning of the PCIe lanes. Here type 1 pin-out         second boot option via SPI. The nanoETXex-
tainment or media phones. This is however             offers six lanes, although the chipsets used for
unimportant in the standardized COMs, be-             this pin-out never offered PCIe lanes in such a
cause the matching Intel platform controller          quantity. Therefore the pins for PCIe lanes 4
hub (PCH) EG20 provides precisely those in-           and 5 are vacated in pin-out type 10 and can
terfaces required by COM Express COM.0                likewise be used for upcoming technologies.
type 10 at an unbeatable price/performance
ratio.                                                A further difference is that type 10 now uses
                                                      the pins reserved in type 1 - for the second
Using the Intel Atom processor E6XX for stan-         LVDS channel, TV-out, and VGA - to support
dardized COMs together with the Intel plat-           the SDVO port (alternatively DisplayPort or
form controller hub EG20 results as follows.          HDMI) via DDI. Ultra-small form factor mod-
The Intel platform controller hub EG20 inte-          ules with a COM Express type 10 pin-out thus
grates a number of common I/O blocks such             officially have dual display capability, because     Figure 2. The Kontron HMITR — a fanless
as SATA, USB host and device,                         they still support an LVDS channel separately.       and maintenance-free, EN50155-compliant
SD/SDIO/MMC, and Gigabit Ethernet MAC.                The background to these examples is as follows.      rugged display computer — is among the
Plus, it offers various embedded interfaces           The new small form factor processors, at which       first products of the company to be equipped
such as CAN, IEEE 1588, I2C, UART, and                type 10 is aimed, support up to two SATA in-         with the new Intel Atom processor.


  December 2010                                                              42
                                                                                                                  INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING

press-TT module includes some interesting            tery-powered or solar-powered applications,
memory options. It offers two SATA interfaces        wind power plants, in-car applications, POS
(again following the COM Express COM.0               for outdoor installation, or embedded mini-
type 10 pin-out). Kontron combines two op-           PCs for construction sites or other tough in-
tions by offering these SATA interfaces: firstly,    dustrial environments.
the two interfaces are directed to the COM Ex-
press connector where data can be exchanged          In addition to the Kontron nanoETXexpress-
at a rate of 300 MB/s, and secondly, a soldered      TT, Kontron is using these advantages of the
microSD card socket on the module is con-            new Intel Atom processor E6XX series in other
nected via SDIO. The second possibility is to        embedded systems, such as its fanless and
direct one SATA interface to the COM Express         maintenance-free and EN50155-compliant
connector and use the remaining one for on-          Kontron rugged display computer HMITR.
board flash memory. As yet, however, there is        Train conductors, for example, can benefit
no industrial temperature grade (E2) SATA            from this human/machine interface (HMI) to
flash memory on the market, so this option is        supervise all the functions of a train. In such
not likely to become relevant until a later date.    applications the extended temperature range
                                                     plus reliability and constantly low power con-
The advantages of the Intel Atom processor           sumption are especially important factors.
E6XX and platform controller hub EG20                Moreover, the entire system is EN50155 certi-
particularly impact in terms of graphics per-        fied, guaranteeing its safe use in trains. The
formance. By integrating the graphics interfaces     Kontron HMITR also offers flexible upgrading
in the processor chip, as in the new Intel proces-   through its Ethernet interface and a solid-
sors, the graphics core frequency of the na-         state disk or SD card memory, and ease of
noETXexpress-TT modules with 0.6 GHz and             scaling through its modularity. As part of its
1.0 GHz processors is 320 MHz, and for the           customization and original design and manu-
1.3 and 1.6 GHz processors all of 400 MHz.           facturing (ODM) services, Kontron offers de-
Additionally, the new Intel processor features       signers the option of creating individual board
video encoding, in other words hardware-sup-         designs with the Intel Atom processor E6XX.
ported coding of incoming video signals.                                                                Figure 3. The type 10 pin-out as defined in
                                                     The company implements FPGAs, proprietary          the COM Express COM.0 Rev. 2.0 specifica-
These two features together result in 40 percent     ASICs (PLC logic), or dedicated standard           tion more explicitly reflects the requirements
more speed to implement 3D graphics than in          PCIe devices for this purpose. The result is       of new and highly compact processors, like
comparable Intel® platforms to date. For what        PC systems that offer various standard inter-      the Intel Atom E6xx processor series.
kind of requirements is the Kontron nanoETX-         faces plus extra communication ports, wireless
express-TT the most suitable solution? Firstly       interfaces, GPS services, and audio and video     of specially energy-efficient design. That can
of course in cases where you have to operate         streaming. All the designer needs in order to     be implemented very effectively with ultra-
in an extended temperature range and envi-           manufacture these devices is the processor        small form factor COM Express solutions like
ronmental extremes. Then, in the version with        and the particular components. Energy con-        the Kontron nanoETXexpress-TT COMs for
a 0.6 GHz processor, product featuring low           sumption and material use can be reduced to       embedded PC applications. On the strength
thermal design power (TDP) that results in           a minimum in this way. Designers can also         of all these features, this COM and other sys-
low heat dissipation.                                use third-party I/O hubs as an alternative to     tems that set up on the Intel Atom processor
                                                     Intel®’s platform controller hub EG20. In the     platform are highly suitable for applications
The video encoding functionality with support        PCIe-based interface, the new Intel Atom          that are required to run reliably in extreme
of MPEG4, H.263, and H.264 standards makes           processor E6XX series offers the developer        operating environments - in markets such as
the module interesting for all video applications.   exceptional flexibility in the I/O design of an   digital signage, energy, industrial automation,
In addition, the Intel Atom processor E6XX           x86 application. In this way the application      medical, defense and security, public trans-
offers virtualization and hyperthreading across      spectrum of x86 technology can be expanded        portation, as well as traffic control and sur-
all performance bands of the processor family,       even further towards dedicated x86 systems        veillance. n
which is increasingly called for in safety-rele-
vant applications in the medical and military
sectors, for example. A major advantage is the
large number of PCIe interfaces that the Kon-
tron nanoETXexpress-TT supplies. This enables
developers to connect significantly more de-
vices, besides increasing flexibility in general.
It even offers serial interfaces, which are still
highly popular among designers working in
automation. Given the new Intel Atom E6XX
processors together with the new pin-out pos-
sibilities of the COM Express COM.0 Rev. 2.0
specification and the growing attraction of
the ultra form factor, the new generation of
COM Express modules is obviously ready to
win new markets. Such as for example, bat-


                                                                           43                                                           December 2010
                                                                                                                   INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING



Rugged vehicle computing platforms
– design considerations
By Benson Chiu, ADLINK


           Vehicle computing platforms
                  are systems for mobile
               applications in the harsh
             environments of the traffic
             and transportation sectors.                                                                               Figure 1. Based on an Ampro
           The ideal platform should be                                                                                by Adlink ReadyBoard EPIC
                 specifically designed to                                                                              form factor SBC, the airport
           meet these requirements and                                                                                 shuttle bus information system
               not just be a ruggedized                                                                                can drive two displays: one
                    office-based system.                                                                               digital video output with HD
                                                                                                                       video decoder for an in-vehicle
                                                                                                                       digital signage application,
                                                                                                                       and an analog output for
                                                                                                                       driver navigation and dispatch
                                                                                                                       information.


n The trend in vehicle computing platforms           are the most popular applications in these en-     tion sectors? Vibration and shock are com-
for end users has moved from office-based PC         vironments. The increasing availability and re-    monplace, as are additional demands such as
platforms to rugged industrial PC (IPC) prod-        liability of the vehicle computing platform is a   extended temperature operation, conformal
ucts. IPC adoption is projected to increase at       significant source of stimulation to the growth    coating support and automotive power design.
an above average rate in the traffic and trans-      in rugged IPC deployment in the traffic and        Also required are system enclosures designed
portation sectors. A significant driving factor      transportation sectors. Rugged IPCs are well       to meet IP Codes (International Protection
of this growth is the increasing popularity of       suited to harsh environments and are therefore     Rating) with the degree of protection against
panel and box computer use on trains, buses,         well suited to the in-vehicle environment. So      the intrusion of particulates and water that is
and at rapid transit terminals. In-vehicle digital   what are the requirements of a vehicle com-        necessary for the specific application. In
signage and customer information displays            puting platform for the traffic and transporta-    addition to the ruggedness provided by an




                                                                           45                                                          December 2010
   INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING




 Figure 2. In a vehicle computing platform, the power unit should have reverse battery protection, surge and over-voltage protection, and a DC/DC
 converter.

IPC, vehicle computing platforms may also          immunity, and ESD. Conducted transient emis-        Conformal coatings also can protect circuits
have specific video requirements. Digital sig-     sions and immunity are well known as critical       and components from solvents, and maintain
nage is a booming application in retail, educa-    phenomena to power in the automotive envi-          the insulation resistance of the circuit board.
tion, hospitality and transportation. In-vehicle   ronment. Control of conducted transients in         The selection of coating material is an impor-
digital signage is increasingly in demand. With    a vehicle is not covered by legislation in the      tant consideration. Preferred coating materials
modern video technology, high definition           same way as transients internal to systems in       are fast drying and easy to repair, have high
video content is becoming the default standard     other environments. The ISO-7637 standard           moisture resistance and superior dielectric
in digital signage applications. However, main-    covers tests for conducted transients, as well      properties, and contain a UV safety tracer for
stream embedded platforms generally do not         as tests for transients inductively and capaci-     ease of inspection under a blacklight. Confor-
have sufficient performance for HD video           tively coupled into adjacent wires from the         mal coating are generally applied in thin layers
playback as their primary focus is low power       vehicle battery. Both 12V and 24V systems are       (typically 1~3 mils) onto the PCB assembly
consumption applications. Therefore, a vehicle     covered by the standard. In order to meet           and in accordance with MIL-I-46058 and IPC-
computing platform will also require a high        ISO-7637, a power design for real automotive        CC-830 standards. Temperatures in automotive
definition video decoder to support video          environment is required, not just a wide range      environments can change drastically, rising as
playback at resolutions from QCIF to Full HD.      of power input. In a vehicle computing plat-        much as 20°C ~ 30°C within 15 minutes with
                                                   form, the power unit should have reverse bat-       exposure to direct sunlight. Upper extremes
An often asked question is - how rugged is         tery protection, surge and over-voltage pro-        of 50°C inside a car are not uncommon. The
rugged? The balance of cost and performance        tection, and a DC/DC converter.                     ideal vehicle computing platform is specifically
is always a dilemma to manufacturers. A true                                                           designed to withstand high temperature and
vehicle computing platform should be rugged        Furthermore, the automotive power design            rapid temperature changes. It is also critical
by design and not just ruggedized. In order to     must have the ability to run on a wide range        for vehicle computing platforms to undergo
support the extremes of shock, vibration, hu-      of vehicle power inputs, and ensure the plat-       thorough temperature testing to ensure reliable
midity and temperature, care must be given to      form can operate during load dump or cold           operation under these temperature conditions.
component selection, circuit design, PCB layout    crank situations. Use of a high efficiency buck-    An example of the screening profile from such
and materials, thermal solution, enclosure de-     boost controller in the automotive power unit       a test is shown below.
sign, and manufacturing processes. Robust          is recommended to provide the platform with
test methodologies including highly accelerated    the required voltage supplies to the vehicle        An example of a typical vehicle computing
life testing (HALT) help to ensure that the        computing platform. Another factor to be            platform application is in an airport shuttle
platform is optimized while still in the design    aware of is that in the near future, 42V systems    bus information system for use by an interna-
phase and meets MIL-STD shock and vibration,       could replace current 12V and 24V automotive        tional airline running a city-to-airport transit
the ISO-7637 automotive EMC standard, and          systems. As more electronic devices are installed   bus service. To implement this system, a rugged
other reliability requirements.                    in vehicles, 42V systems can provide more           vehicle computing platform with shock and
                                                   than twice the power efficiency of 12V/24V          vibration-resistant design, flexible expansion
The automotive EMC environment is one of           systems. This should be considered for future       interfaces for communications, low power con-
the most severe and the most unpredictable.        vehicle computing platform development. Con-        sumption, HD video decoder, and automotive
The key areas for consideration are as follows:    formal coating is a method of providing pro-        power design is required. Based on an Ampro
broadband radiated emissions, narrowband           tection against moisture, contaminants, dust,       by Adlink ReadyBoard EPIC form factor SBC,
radiated emissions, conducted transient emis-      abrasion, corrosion and short circuits, and is      the airport shuttle bus information system
sions, conducted transient immunity, radiated      especially effective for in-vehicle environments.   can drive two displays: one digital video output


             www.embedded-control-europe.com
             The Online Information Source for Europe`s Embedded Engineers

  December 2010                                                          46
                                                                                                                     INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING

                                                                                                         bus information system and avoids damage
                                                                                                         from conducted transient emissions in the au-
                                                                                                         tomotive environment. The security of public
                                                                                                         transportation systems has become an increas-
                                                                                                         ing concern in recent years. City buses, railways,
                                                                                                         subways and other transit systems are imple-
                                                                                                         menting intelligent platforms to monitor public
                                                                                                         areas and ensure riders safety. Stationary CCTV
                                                                                                         systems can handle the requirements at stations,
                                                                                                         but rail carriages are still blind spots. A rugged
                                                                                                         vehicle computing platform plus intelligent IP
                                                                                                         cameras is required to extend the range of the
                                                                                                         security system to the entire transit system. A
                                                                                                         mass transit rail carriage needs a rugged system
                                                                                                         to fit into limited space that is able to withstand
                                                                                                         the dust, shock, and vibration encountered in
                                                                                                         the operating environment.

                                                                                                         Such a platform could be based on an Ampro
                                                                                                         by Adlink RuffSystem, which meets MIL-STD-
                                                                                                         810 shock and vibration standards and has
 Figure 3. Ampro by Adlink Extreme Rugged products screening profile                                     IP50 rating. Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports can
                                                                                                         interface with IP cameras and operate with in-
                                                                                                         telligent surveillance software combined with
with HD video decoder for an in-vehicle digital    information, such as flight arrival and departure     built-in GPIO or digital I/O functionality to
signage application, and an analog output for      information, news, and advertising content for        automatically detect potential threats, or objects
driver navigation and dispatch information. A      the signage display. Other expansion options          on the tracks to aid emergency management
flexible expansion interface, such as mini-PCIe    include a digital I/O module, GPS, or video           and response. This intelligent system could
or PCI-104, supports a WiFi/WiMAX/3G               grabber module. Automotive power design al-           also be used to increase operational efficiency
telecommunication module to receive real-time      lows reliable operation of the airport shuttle        and performance. n



                                                                                 Solid State Drives using the 2.5” form factor and SATA interconnect.
                                                                                 Basic NFS NAS is available via port 0 and 1 in the Common Option
                                                                                 Region (Base Interface or Control Plane) and/or port 8 and 9 in the
                                                                                 FAT Pipes Region (Fabric Interface or Data Plane) with VLAN support
                                                                                 provided in all flavors.
                                                                                 Included into the module design are extensive sensors for monitoring
                                                                                 and event generation on thresholds. There are two redundant Boot
 Kontron AM4530                                                                  Block Flash BIOS and IPMI firmware with rollover.
 AdvancedMC NAS Storage Module
                                                                                 Features
                             Unique in the market, the Kontron AM453x
                             AMC module is a cost-competitive storage            n AM4530 available with 120GB or 250GB SATA HDD
                             solution for MicroTCA and ATCA plat-                n AM4531 available with 64GB SATA SSD or 128GB SSD
                             forms that require Network Attached                 n Base or/and Fabric access via VLAN

                             Storage connectivity.                               n AMC.0, AMC.1, AMC.2 and AMC.3 compliant
                                                                                 n IPMC, Dual IPMB, IPMI v2.0
 Specifically for MicroTCA-based systems, the AM453x module provides
 access to storage for Processor AMC modules that are without a SATA             TO ORDER EVALUATION UNITS OR
 connection, such as the AM4100 PPC AMC for control plane applica-               UPGRADE AN EXISTING DESIGN CONTACT US AT:
 tions or the AM42xx Cavium OCTEON II AMC for data plane appli-
 cations.
 From an ATCA platform standpoint, the AM453x can be a single                    Kontron Modular Computer
 point of code storage for the entire system when populated in one or
 both AMC slots of the Kontron AT89xx switch. This makes it an ideal             Sudetenstrasse 7
 solution for fast boot code or application code updates.                        87600 Kaufbeuren
                                                                                 Germany
 Two AM4530 modules can be set up in a redundant configuration for
 increased storage reliability, and are accessible by all blades and AMCs
                                                                                 +49 (0) 8341 803 333
 in the system via the base or fabric interface.                                 +49 (0) 8341 803 339
                                                                                 support-kom@kontron.com
 In terms of media, the AM453x supports both Hard Disk Drives and




                                                                            47                                                             December 2010
    INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING



Modular controllers enable platform
concept for custom applications
By Ingo Brussog, Siemens EDM


             Despite the varied purposes
                 that industrial controllers
                      serve, an analysis of
           several hundred enquiries and
                     projects has revealed
           correspondences between the
           detailed requirements. On this
              basis EDM has developed a                                                                                      Figure 1. Example of
               modular platform concept                                                                                      a customer-specific
                   adaptable to particular                                                                                   solution based on an
                          customer needs.                                                                                    ARM9 module with
                                                                                                                             a 5.7“ QVGA and an
                                                                                                                             8.4“ VGA touch display,
                                                                                                                             ready for installing in
                                                                                                                             a metal housing




n  Industrial controllers can be defined in many    as a control signal. Identical software modules    tomer-specific sensor-actuator modules. The
ways. For example, an industrial oven or heat       are also required, for example: remote service,    ARM9 platform already covers more than one
pump has to be controlled. A single controller      update algorithms, data logging, and access        pure CAD macro. It is available as a prefabri-
can perform a wide variety of tasks in a large      rights. EDM refers to them collectively as         cated module, complete with memory, onboard
number of industries. There are, for example,       system services.                                   power supply and all current, conventional
simple control tasks, which can be performed                                                           standard interfaces. Embedded LINUX or
by any standard controller in the catalog ranges    Many years of service experience with a large      Windows CE can be offered as the operating
of countless suppliers. However, specific and       number of processors has shown that the cur-       system. The ARM9 platform can be used for
innovative requirements demand special solu-        rently available representatives of the ARM        connecting the widest range of displays, with
tions. This is where Siemens EDM comes in: it       family are particularly suitable, for example      up to VGA resolution. It is predestined for em-
focuses on the needs of industry. Solutions tai-    the ARM7 and, in future, the Cortex M deriva-      ploying resistive touches as the means of input.
lored to industrial needs are required in quan-     tives as well. They are already used as a proven   EDM offers an ARM11 platform if the com-
tities ranging from a few hundred to 100,000        CAD macro for the real-time handling of cus-       puting power of an ARM9 becomes inadequate.
per annum. Despite this high number, an in-
dustry-wide analysis of several hundred en-
quiries and projects has revealed correspon-
dences between the detailed requirements. As
a result of this examination, EDM has developed
a platform and modular concept that can be
adapted to particular customer requirements.

A modern industrial controller generally con-
sists of a main module with complex interfaces,
the HMI (human machine interface), the as-
sociated high-performance processor, a suitable
operating system, and one or more sensor-ac-
tuator modules. The assembly varies in indi-
vidual cases, but some modules recur repeatedly,
for example digital input, digital output, analog    Figure 2. Example of a customer-specific solution in the low-level segment consisting of an ARM9
input as a measuring circuit, and analog output      head assembly with embedded Linux (a) and an ARM7-based sensor-actuator module (b)


    December 2010                                                         48
                                                                                                                    INDUSTRIAL COMPUTING




                                                                                                       Editors
                                                                                                       Jürgen Hübner
                                                                                                       phone +49(0)8092-2477413
                                                                                                       fax     +49(0)8092-2477429
                                                                                                       jh@iccmedia.com

                                                                                                       Wolfgang Patelay
                                                                                                       wp@iccmedia.com

                                                                                                       Tony Devereux
                                                                                                       devrex@teyboyz.freeserve.co.uk

                                                                                                       For Reader Inquiries and Address Changes
                                                                                                       please contact:
                                                                                                       info@iccmedia.com

                                                                                                       Sales & Marketing Director
                                                                                                       Manfred Blumoser
                                                                                                       phone +49(0)8092-2477411
                                                                                                       fax     +49(0)8092-2477429
                                                                                                       mb@iccmedia.com

                                                                                                       Claudia Mellein
 Figure 3. Customer-specific sensor-actuator module with expansion modules plugged in                  cm@iccmedia.com

                                                                                                       Christiane Lockner
This is available as a finished, check-card sized   by the fact that the platform, which is also       cl@iccmedia.com
core module with all important components,          known as main modules, can be coupled via a
and can be used on a customer-specific base-        proven, standard RS485 interface to one or         Sales Office - UK and USA, Benelux,
                                                                                                       Scandinavia
board that is yet to be developed. Individually     more customer-specific sensor-actuator mod-        Blue Sky Communications
configured, it contains all the coarse compo-       ules. By means of a proprietary protocol, this     Malcolm Cameron
nents, such as sockets, plugs, transmitters and     interface ensures that the intelligence of the     Kent Innovation Centre
power supply. The ARM11 module is also              controller is informed at all times of the         Thanet Reach Business Park
                                                                                                       Millennium Way
available with embedded Linux or Windows            current status of the entire machine and can
                                                                                                       Broadstairs Kent CT10 2QQ UK
CE. The ARM11 not only offers many times            affect it in real time.                            phone +44 (0)1843 609357
the computing power of an ARM9, but can                                                                fax     +44 (0)1843 609358
also resolve graphics up to XGA format and          Two-module solutions have proven themselves        mc@blue-sky-communications.com
show videos in real time. For the top class,        in several projects, each consists of an ARM9
                                                                                                       Sales Office - Asia
EDM still has Power PC platforms in its range,      HMI module adapted for the project, and a          Jean Cheng, jean@i-media.com.tw
which are used to perform data-intensive and        sensor-actuator module developed individually      Vivian Hung, vivian@i-media.com.tw
highly graphic tasks. In this case, not only em-    for the project. In line with the EDM philoso-     Innovative Media Information & Services
bedded Linux but also VxWorks can be offered        phy, the sensor-actuator module is composed        7F-3, No. 26, Sec. 2, Ming-Quan East Rd.
                                                                                                       Taipei 104 Taiwan
as the real-time operating system.                  of previously tried and tested basic I/O config-   phone +886 2 2563 1186
                                                    urations, and controlled and driven by an
The ARM9 processor platform is available in         ARM7 or Cortex M3. The ARM7 or Cortex              Head Office
a low-cost version with a graphics-capable dis-     M3 communicates continuously with the
play (64x160) and Jog-Dial as the input medi-       ARM9 head via the serial interface and the
um. The pure processor module is available          special machine protocol. The concept is de-
for use in individually prepared solutions.         signed so that either multiple sensor-actuator     ICC Media GmbH
Housing, display, input medium and an inter-        modules can be cascaded in order to realize,       Rauwagnerstr. 5
                                                                                                       85560 Ebersberg / Germany
face module can be added according to cus-          for example, different expansion stages for dif-
tomer requirements. There are even ready-           ferent types of machine. Or individual expan-      Editorial Office UK
made solutions for high-end requirements. As        sion modules can be plugged into interface         36a Blackacre Road
SITOUCH, the ARM9 platform can be supplied          sockets on the sensor-actuator module. These       Theydon Bois
with either a 5.7“ QVGA or a VGA display and        are, in turn, automatically recognized and in-     Essex, CM16 7LU

touch in a flush wall housing, or with an 8.4“      tegrated by the ARM7, and finally by the oper-     Copyright© All rights reserved.
VGA display and touch in a stand-alone metal        ating system. This example can be realized         No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in
housing. These platforms all run with 24 VDC,       equally well with ARM11 or Power PC instead        any form or by any means without the prior express written
                                                                                                       permission of ICC Media.
without a fan, and in an ambient temperature        of the ARM9. The requirements of the cus-          Although we make every effort to present up-to-date, accurate
up to 60°C. The EDM concept is highlighted          tomer system are decisive. n                       information, boards&solutions will not be responsible for any
                                                                                                       errors or omissions or for any results obtained from the use of
                                                                                                       such information. The magazine will not be liable for any loss
                                                                                                       caused by the reliance on information obtained on this site.
                                                                                                       Furthermore, boards&solutions does not warrant the accuracy
                                                                                                       or completeness of the information, text, graphics in this maga-
                                                                                                       zine. The opinions expressed in the articles are those of the

     www.embedded-control-europe.com/newsletter
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     www.embedded-con                newsletter                                                        authors and not necessarily the opinions of the publisher.




                                                                          49                                                                        December 2010
                          SOMe LIke
                            IT hOT –
                         We COOLed
PC/104-Plus™ with Intel® Atom™ Z510/Z530 and Intel® US15W
low power consumption 5,5Watt with passive cooling




                                    PB-ATOM-L+
                                    up to 2GB DDR2-533MHz
                                    Dual 100BaseT Ethernet
                                    16Bit ISA-Bus
                                    PCI via PC/104-Plus
                                    2x SATA, 4x USB, CF Socket
                                    18/24Bit LVDS and CRT




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