RapidIO vs. Ethernet A Practical Technical Comparison

Ethernet is currently the incumbent backplane technology across a wide range of storage, wireless, wireline, military, industrial, and other embedded applications as developers move away from proprietary implementations in an effort to reduce development time and cost while increasing performance and functionality. However, as data rates increase, it has become apparent that many high-performance applications exceed the limits of this traditional protocol. Designing an efficient embedded backplane interconnect with excellent performance requires addressing a number of key design challenges, including header efficiency, protocol processing efficiency, effective bandwidth, and quality of service while strictly managing cost. To meet these challenges, many developers are turning to RapidIO® technology as an alternative to Ethernet.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Data exchange, Embedded software, Data management, Technical reference

Designing Software Radio Systems With FPGAs

Software defined radio technology has been widely adopted for new military and aerospace platforms, government signal intelligence and homeland security systems, and now more extensively in commercial wireless voice and data networks as well. These modern communication systems need to squeeze more channels of traffic into an expensive slice of precious radio spectrum. Military and government requirements for secure communications mandate real-time encryption and decryption schemes that must be increasingly more resistant to interception. In multinational theater of war combat operations, communications systems must selectively ensure certain specific links and reliably deny others.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Communication protocols, Cryptography, Integrated circuits, Radio equipment, Defense industry

Front Panel Hardware Considerations For ATCA, AMC, and MicroTCA Telecom Equipment

Acceptance of telecom industry standards for rack-mounted server equipment — in the form of the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer’s Group (PICMG) standards — is gaining momentum throughout global market channels. The objectives of those standards are certainly attractive in terms of streamlining economy and efficiency for both carriers and telecom equipment manufacturers across a number of areas. Their aim is to reduce development time and costs, as well as to help reduce the total cost of ownership. They are also intended to offer high levels of modularity and configurability while delivering high levels of service availability (99.999% and greater) and supporting appropriate scalability of system performance and capacity.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Telecommunications systems, Market research, Standardization

Getting Real-Time Performance From A Full-Featured OS

Spend a few minutes at your local electronics store and it's obvious — the mobile phone is a device that far surpasses its original intent. With respect to functionality, today's mobile phone goes well beyond the ability to make calls and store phone numbers. It also synchs up with your desktop's calendar and address book, it can take pictures, play and store music, and receive emails.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Electronic equipment

Omniscient Code Generation for 8-, 16- and 32-bit Microcontrollers

C-language programs are usually developed by teams of engineers who are often geographically dispersed, leading to redundant code and inconsistent variable declarations between modules. Traditional compilation technology compiles each module separately with no regard for what goes on in the other modules and with no information about how pointers, stacks, variables and functions are used throughout the whole program. Traditional compilers tend to over-allocate memory space for pointers, stacks and registers. They are unable to fully exploit the wide variety of memory maps, and register and stack configurations available in today’s micro-controllers. All too often, the programmer must resort to manual optimizations that compromise portability (Figure 1).

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Architecture, Computer software / hardware

Using AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA in High-Availability Military Systems

The complexity of military and aerospace systems is growing — more components, interfaces, power, bandwidth, processing, features, and data — and these systems are being networked to form even more complex "systems of systems." Modern networkcentric systems can contain hundreds, even thousands of electronic modules.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Data management, Defense industry, Systems management

Multipurpose Transaction Protocol: A New Data Transport Model

It is no secret that high-performance and the Internet are often seen as contradictory terms. Even private IP networks see serious performance challenges once they extend beyond the local building and around the globe. As devices and their users become more mobile, it has become critical to design with high-speed, Wide Area Networks in mind. But software and hardware designers are traditionally given few choices and little control for ensuring high network performance.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Communication protocols, Data exchange, Internet