PICMG to develop new specs for comms

The PICMG will be developing an entirely new series of computer specifications with a new form factor that is based on switched fabric architectures.

The PCI Industrial Computers Manufacturers Group (PICMG) is issuing a call for participation for the development of an entirely new series of specifications with a new form factor and based on switched fabric architectures.

The new series of specifications, beginning with PICMG 3.0, will build on the efforts of a group of companies that have been working to define the requirements for a follow-on to the CompactPCIspecification (PICMG 2.x series).

‘CompactPCI has been and will continue to be very successful. However, it has limitations in the telecom network arena,’ said Rob Davidson, PICMG Vice President, Marketing. ‘As parallel bus structures give way to high performance switched fabric architectures, a new approach is needed.’

The new series of specifications will define a new blade form factor and spacing. The proposed form factor is based on the widely used Eurocard standard but will use a larger board size and wider pitch than CompactPCI.

The goal is to make the most efficient use of the 600mm deep telco racks widely used in carrier grade equipment and still provide enough space and cooling for emerging high performance processors. Redundant 48V DC power and a robust system management approach will be specified for carrier grade applications. High speed connectors are arranged to support both star and mesh fabric topologies simultaneously.

As proposed, the PICMG 3.0 specification will define the mechanical details, including connector locations. PICMG 3.1 will define the mapping of Ethernet, and PICMG 3.2 will define the mapping of InfiniBand signalling. It is anticipated that other fabric technologies will be defined and supported within the 3.x series of specifications.

‘This structure allows much of the work to proceed in parallel and allows for future inclusion of other interconnect technologies in a clean way,’ said Dick Somes, PICMG Technical Officer. ‘These 3.x specifications are the logical progression from bus-based architectures to fabric-based architectures begun by the PICMG 2.16 specification for switched Ethernet on CompactPCI.’

The 3.0 call for participation will be followed by initial PICMG subcommittee meetings in October, where the full output of the working group will be turned over. Full development and ratification of the initial specifications is expected in mid-2002.

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