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PLX Technology has announced two PCIe Gen 2 switches designed with 24 ports to meet the connectivity demands of complex communications systems.

The PLX ExpressLane PEX 8625 (24 lanes, 24 ports) and PEX 8636 (36 lanes, 24 ports) switches are supported by the VisionPAK software suite of system debug tools, evaluation and signal-integrity utilities.

A key feature of the PEX 8625 and PEX 8636 is the ability to multicast, which increases the efficiency in communications platforms as it allows each host to communicate to all endpoints at the same time.

They also include a multi-host feature.

Multi-host switches provide multiple upstream ports to connect to several CPUs, reducing the number of system components and minimising latency.

The PEX 8625 and PEX 8636 communications switches are designed primarily for the control plane to provide connectivity to a large number of endpoints such as ASICs and FPGAs.

A control plane, by the nature of data traffic, thrives in low latency and these PLX switches enable system designers to build control planes with the industry’s lowest latency.

PEX 8625 and PEX 8636 also offer Non-Transparency (NT) for system redundancy.

An exclusive set of diagnostic and monitoring features, called VisionPAK, are also integrated into all PLX Gen 2 switches.

Offered standard via the PLX software design kit (SDK) are: VisionPAK, with the ability to access internal data paths and state machines for debugging systems; a tool to measure Rx eye width inside the device for validating signal integrity; a function to inject errors to check system behaviour; loopback Tx to debug data paths and the capability for packet performance/activity monitoring.

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