Computer/Embedded Technology


Backplanes for various computing architectures

30 June 2020 Computer/Embedded Technology

Verotec designs, supplies and integrates bus-based products and systems. Its extensive standard range consists of open-architecture backplanes and extender boards for VME, VME64x, VXI, VPX, VXS, CompactPCI, PXI, AdvancedTCA and µTCA and also supports a number of legacy backplane products such as STEbus.

Verotec offers a comprehensive range of VME backplanes from 1 to 21 slots wide in J1, J2 (3U) and J1/J2 monolithic (6U) variants. They offer excellent performance in the areas of crosstalk, ground shift, controlled impedance, power distribution and termination design. In addition to form factor and slot size, a choice of mechanical (switching connectors) or electronic (OR-gate) automatic daisy chaining is available.

VME64 Extension backplanes from Verotec are available in a 6U form factor, from 1 to 21 slots wide and with or without P0 connectors. VME64x incorporates a 5-row, 160-way DIN connector which provides extra I/O and signal lines but is also backward compatible with traditional VMEbus systems that use the 96-way DIN interconnect.

The specification governing VXIbus – an acronym for VMEbus eXtension for Instrumentation – defines the use of four bus module sizes, with the ‘A’ and ‘B’ modules being the same as 3U and 6U VMEbus cards. Although the VXI specification, broadly speaking, follows the VME standards, it includes defined functions on the P2 connector and a further set of functions on the P3 connector.

The most important variation in the two standards arises from the fact that any VXIbus instruments incorporated in a system must be capable of being physically screened against EMC on all sides, with a provision for additional chassis screening between instruments. The Verotec range of VXI backplanes include ‘C’ size (6U) and ‘D’ size (9U) form factors in a variety of slot widths which fully conform with the latest revision (rev.1.4) to the VXIbus specification. As with all its backplanes, Verotec is able to offer semi or fully customised versions to suit unique applications.

Defence and aerospace system designers are looking to serial switch fabric architectures to provide an interconnect able to deliver cost-effective systems with bandwidth and performance levels unreachable by traditional VME-bused systems. While VME continues to provide an excellent solution for a great number of applications, it is unable to provide the bandwidth and performance required to address new specialised multiprocessing tasks.

VPX (VITA 46) and OpenVPX (VITA 65) are two standards recently developed to address demanding applications that require throughput greater than 320 Mbps and to provide multiprocessing and streaming I/O beyond the capability of VME’s parallel bus architecture. The rugged, conduction-cooled board architecture is targeted at switched fabric signalling rates of up to 6,25 Gbps, exceeding VME’s limit of about 1 Gbps.

VPX uses the high-speed multi-gig connector in a mesh topology, vastly increasing the potential bandwidth of the system, while maintaining backward compatibility with legacy VME technology via preservation of the VMEbus 6U mechanical form factor and through-mapping of the current VMEbus signals to the VPX connectors.

VPX combines best-in-class technologies to assure a very long technology cycle similar to that of the original VMEbus solutions. Traditional parallel VMEbus will continue to be supported by VPX through bridging schemes that assure a solid migration pathway.

Verotec’s expertise in backplane technology and its resources in the latest, sophisticated design tools have been applied to produce a unique range of VPX backplanes, including hybrid versions that incorporate the standard 160 mm DIN connector, allowing backward compatibility with VME64x. The VPX backplanes match performance and cost-effectiveness by realising a fully optimised signal and power distribution environment. Design techniques ensure a uniform impedance controlled signalling environment and ground guarding minimises line-to-line crosstalk.


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