Advantech (TWSE: 2395.TW) today announced the Q2 availability of a new product line based on the CompactPCI PlusIO and Serial standards, responding to a growing customer demand for a backwards compatible migration path from legacy PCI to PCIe and other serial technologies including Ethernet, SATA/SAS and USB. CompactPCIR PlusIO enables platforms that combine existing, legacy PCI based peripheral cards based on CompactPCIR as well as newly designed, high speed serial peripherals based on CompactPCI Serial.
CompactPCI PlusIO makes use of the rear I/O pins available on CompactPCI system slots in order to support high-speed serial signals without interfering with legacy PCI signals. This allows interoperability with all other PICMG CompactPCI 2.xx standards which do not use these pins. A new Ultra Hard Metric (UHM) connector was introduced to transport these high-speed signals. The UHM connector was designed to mate on all deployed backplanes which comply with CompactPCIR base specification. System slot boards equipped with this high-speed connector can be used in existing 32-bit systems and support differential signals up to 5 Gb/s per pair.
"The transition to serial interfaces does not happen overnight. Customers have made significant investment into the CompactPCI platform, both in hardware and even more importantly the related software. With CompactPCI PlusIO we can offer a soft migration paththat protects our customers' investments but also takes them a step forward - by giving them the ability to utilize the latest high speed bus interfaces in the same system that hosts their legacy IO boards." said Peter Marek, Senior Director x86 Solutions, Advantech Networks and Communications Group. "Re-using well qualified platform building blocks like special purpose I/O cards along with the related software in these hybrid systems helps users to stay within their R&D budgets, meet their time to market objectives and mitigate risk."
In addition to the parallel PCI bus architecture PlusIO allows the use of the CompactPCI system slot to provide a simple star architecture based on the applicable serial bus standard. A hybrid backplane features a CompactPCI PlusIO compliant system slot and a combination of legacy 32bit CompactPCI as well as CompactPCI Serial peripheral slots. For closely coupled extensions,PCI Express based I/O can used to implement interfaces requiring higher bandwidth and to upgrade legacy PCI functions which are reaching the end of their lifespan. For storage, SATA or SAS on the backplane now allows for RAID systems to be built-in. USB facilitates the integration of off the shelf wireless modules like WiFi or cellular network mezzanines for applications such as M2M.
"In the same way as VMEbus users can migrate to VPX or PCI/104 users to PCIe/104 our CompactPCI customer base now wants to leverage serial bus technologies more. But unlike VPX, which breaks backwards compatibility with legacy VME,CompactPCI PlusIO paves a backwards compliant upgrade path." added Marek.
Full details concerning the first products to be released will be announced early in the second quarter with sampling expected shortly afterwards.
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