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15 April 2008 High-rate serial interconnections for embedded and distributed systems with power and resource constraints
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Abstract
High rate interconnections are important subsystems in modern data processing and control systems of many classes. They are especially important in prospective embedded and on-board systems that used to be multicomponent systems with parallel or distributed architecture, [1]. Modular architecture systems of previous generations were based on parallel busses that were widely used and standardised: VME, PCI, CompactPCI, etc. Busses evolution went in improvement of bus protocol efficiency (burst transactions, split transactions, etc.) and increasing operation frequencies. However, due to multi-drop bus nature and multi-wire skew problems the parallel bussing speedup became more and more limited. For embedded and on-board systems additional reason for this trend was in weight, size and power constraints of an interconnection and its components. Parallel interfaces have become technologically more challenging as their respective clock frequencies have increased to keep pace with the bandwidth requirements of their attached storage devices. Since each interface uses a data clock to gate and validate the parallel data (which is normally 8 bits or 16 bits wide), the clock frequency need only be equivalent to the byte rate or word rate being transmitted. In other words, for a given transmission frequency, the wider the data bus, the slower the clock. As the clock frequency increases, more high frequency energy is available in each of the data lines, and a portion of this energy is dissipated in radiation. Each data line not only transmits this energy but also receives some from its neighbours. This form of mutual interference is commonly called "cross-talk," and the signal distortion it produces can become another major contributor to loss of data integrity unless compensated by appropriate cable designs. Other transmission problems such as frequency-dependent attenuation and signal reflections, while also applicable to serial interfaces, are more troublesome in parallel interfaces due to the number of additional cable conductors involved. In order to compensate for these drawbacks, higher quality cables, shorter cable runs and fewer devices on the bus have been the norm. Finally, the physical bulk of the parallel cables makes them more difficult to route inside an enclosure, hinders cooling airflow and is incompatible with the trend toward smaller form-factor devices. Parallel busses worked in systems during the past 20 years, but the accumulated problems dictate the need for change and the technology is available to spur the transition. The general trend in high-rate interconnections turned from parallel bussing to scalable interconnections with a network architecture and high-rate point-to-point links. Analysis showed that data links with serial information transfer could achieve higher throughput and efficiency and it was confirmed in various research and practical design. Serial interfaces offer an improvement over older parallel interfaces: better performance, better scalability, and also better reliability as the parallel interfaces are at their limits of speed with reliable data transfers and others. The trend was implemented in major standards' families evolution: e.g. from PCI/PCI-X parallel bussing to PCIExpress interconnection architecture with serial lines, from CompactPCI parallel bus to ATCA (Advanced Telecommunications Architecture) specification with serial links and network topologies of an interconnection, etc. In the article we consider a general set of characteristics and features of serial interconnections, give a brief overview of serial interconnections specifications. In more details we present the SpaceWire interconnection technology. Have been developed for space on-board systems applications the SpaceWire has important features and characteristics that make it a prospective interconnection for wide range of embedded systems.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Yuriy Sheynin, Felix Shutenko, Elena Suvorova, and Evgenej Yablokov "High-rate serial interconnections for embedded and distributed systems with power and resource constraints", Proc. SPIE 6983, Defense and Security 2008: Special Sessions on Food Safety, Visual Analytics, Resource Restricted Embedded and Sensor Networks, and 3D Imaging and Display, 69830I (15 April 2008); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.786883
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