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  • Tuesday, June 22, 2021 12:04 PM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Ken Grob, Director, Embedded Computing Products, Elma Electronic

    The objectives of MOSA—to improve system capabilities, compatibility and cost—are predicated on a tight collaboration between government and industry. Although each service branch of the military has a model or view of what they need in their standards to produce the systems they require, a common goal of interoperability has re-shaped the military electronics landscape over these past few years.
     
    Interoperability is an important concept when looking to gain an advantage in executing compute processes through the hardware that is being used to build embedded systems.  (Figure 1)

    Figure 1. Government and industry collaboration on open standards helps drive greater innovation and efficiency in building defense platforms.

    What do we need in order to connect things in a system that the DoD may use?  The major elements include a network system infrastructure and the communications being driven across high-speed Ethernet. But there are several other elements embedded in the architecture that need consideration. These can include synchronization and precision timing signals for navigation, system management to monitor modules for health and power systems that enable the modules to operate.  

    The Open Group Sensor Open Systems Architecture™ (SOSA) is the governing standard that makes use of other open standards, which fall under the SOSA umbrella and all adhere to the MOSA approach. One of these, OpenVPX, or VITA 65, is essentially the hardware standard for DoD modules aligned to SOSA.

    Quick Review of OpenVPX’s Main Elements

    Let’s look under the hood of OpenVPX.  Managed by VITA, it is a family of proven, VITA-based open standards. The first thing to note is that it defines specific slot module profiles to limit the ways that components can interface, reducing potential incompatibility.  System management is handled through VITA 46.11, a standard that covers chassis and system management concepts.  

    Similarly, a common way to apply power to the system is defined, allowing for standard PSU modules that can address the need for both 3U and 6U systems.  OpenVPX normalizes the power module interface definition through a subgroup, VITA 62, so there is consistency across LRUs.  

    Support for higher power modules through new cooling techniques are part of OpenVPX, too.  Through the SOSA hardware standard, the modules are also aligned with CMOSS and HOST, covering the needs of the Army, Navy and Air Force.  

    OpenVPX Keeps Up with Industry Changes

    The needs of a market don’t stand still. Take Ethernet and PCIe for example.  From 1980 to 2020, Ethernet has gone from 10 MB to 1 GB, and then from 10 to 25 and up to 100 GB, as the need for faster speed keeps increasing. (Figure 2) 

    Figure 2. The trend in Ethernet speeds has been increasing exponentially, with 400 GB/s speeds on the horizon.

    PCIe is how we move data across modules and systems.  It started at 2.5 Gigatransfers, then 5, now 8, and is moving into the realm of 16 Gigatransfers a second. These two trends enable embedded designers to implement faster designs within OpenVPX.  The industry is doing this by adopting the standards and implementing the backplane technology necessary to build advanced military systems. 

    To plug different cards together and ensure interoperability, there needs to be a consistent way to pin them out, and map them, so there’s alignment with the signals and ultimately, for the boards to be interconnected via a backplane.  OpenVPX provides a method to communicate or interface the cards together, in a consistent way, so time is not spent on making elements work together.  Instead, development efforts can focus on building out system functionality.

    Let’s consider some other works that have shaped OpenVPX over the last few years.  Out of an initiative through the US Army, a hardware convergence architecture was formed that brought in new concepts, such as higher speed interconnects, to network connected communications.  The use of new fiber optic and RF connectors, radio plot schemes for timing and a look towards higher power densities in the module were also brought into the VPX fold.  

    Responding to Trends in System Design

    Two additional trends include systems becoming more complex as well as the increased need for synchronization to standardize the way timing is done amongst the cards. OpenVPX has taken on that challenge and defined a radial clock strategy and timing slot.  This timing card produces timing information and generates clock signals that can be distributed down the backplane.  

    Higher bandwidth requirements have put pressures on system 
    backplanes, which now need to operate 2.5x faster than even a year or two ago.  This has evolved into new high-speed backplane implementations that leverage new signal integrity and simulation models and connectors that go from 10 to 25 Gb, with switching speed supported by the connectors.  (Figure 3)


    Figure 3. High-speed backplanes now operate 2.5x faster than just a few years ago (Elma Electronic backplanes aligned to SOSA)

    As time goes on, modules have moved from 40 W to 60 W and up towards 130 W, depending on the need per module. Doing this in a conduction cooled way is difficult and causes us to have to look at other approaches.  Air flow-through (AFT), VITA 48.8, pushes more air through a module to be able to cool it in a modified conduction cooled sort of way, by driving air through the modules to vent the cards and take heat away.  Liquid flow-through (LFT), VITA 48.4, is another new cooling standard providing a roadmap to allow solutions requiring more power to use liquid cooling capabilities.

    Continued Development in Open Standards Architectures

    OpenVPX is a living standard, moving forward with new challenges as the technological needs of military platforms evolve, constantly addressing how new technologies can be incorporated into a rugged system to implement requirements mandated by the DoD.

    In summary, future DoD systems are being affected or driven by the modular open system architecture approach and the need for current technologies. These are impacting new systems and will affect future designs, chassis, backplanes, power requirements, etc.  This brief look under the hood of what OpenVPX provides shows it’s a supported, active standard that is here today and will grow to meet DoD future system needs. It fits nicely with MOSA and higher-level standards of SOSA, CMOSS and HOST as well as provides a hardware standard that allows MOSA to achieve its goals

  • Monday, January 18, 2021 11:10 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    By Michael Walmsley, TE Connectivity (TE)

    “Next-gen” products and standards for OpenVPX architecture are rapidly evolving to help military embedded system designers keep pace with pressing challenges. New VITA standards feature product innovations that offer significant benefits—namely, supporting faster processor and signal speeds, shrinking size and weight.  These standardized solutions reduce the need for time-consuming and costly customization.

    VITA standards have been leveraged in another influential standards organization—the Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) Consortium. Comprised of U.S. military branch, government, and related industry representatives, the SOSA Consortium is developing interoperability standards for next-gen sensor systems. SOSA-aligned architectures are being developed for signal intelligence (SIGINT), electronic warfare (EW), radar, and communications applications. SOSA is adopting OpenVPX architecture within the box and collaborating with VITA to leverage existing standards, while also driving new VITA standards.

    OpenVPX interconnects

    A range of VITA standards define the interconnects in OpenVPX architecture, from the primary digital interface to RF and optical links, mezzanine cards, and power supplies. Many of these standards are seeing new extensions (so-called “dot” specifications) or revisions to address higher speeds and density. As packaging requirements shrink, the need for more bandwidth and higher density drives an evolution for interconnect solutions throughout the system—at the plug-in module to backplane interface, at the mezzanine card interfaces, within the plug-in module, and at the panel for external cabling.

    VITA standards developments for OpenVPX

    * VITA 46.30 is being published to define a higher data rate VPX connector based on TE Connectivity’s (TE’s) MULTIGIG RT 3 connector. This connector supports 25+ Gb/s baud rates to enable PCIe Gen 4 serial communications and 100GBASE-KR4 Ethernet while maintaining mating compatibility with legacy VITA 46 connectors.

    * VITA 67.3 (radio frequency [RF] modules) is being revised to add options for higher density coaxial interfaces, namely SMPS and NanoRF. These designs support 2-3 times the density of the legacy SMPM- based designs that started with VITA 67.1 and 67.2. (Figure 1)


    Figure 1: Higher density optics and RF connector examples

    SMPS is a high-density RF interface option, using radial float of the individual contacts within the module to provide the alignment in mating, similar to SMPM contacts but on a smaller scale.

    NanoRF is a rugged, high-frequency nano-miniature coax system that utilizes a floating insert within the backplane module frame. This approach pre-aligns the RF contacts before they engage to assure reliable engagement with minimal wear.

    VITA 66.5 is in process to define blind mate fiber optic interconnects for VITA 46 backplanes and plug-in modules, and brings the capability for mounting transceivers directly on the edge of the plug-in board (within a VITA 66 module frame) to save board space.  A 3-MT (mechanical-transfer) half-size module is being incorporated into this standard for unprecedented optical density. In addition, the floating insert design used for alignment in both NanoRF and VITA 66 optical modules allows for integrating both RF and optics into a common connector module for additional density – this technology is being enabled by the upcoming VITA 66.5 standard.

    SOSA has reviewed common use cases and is standardizing on several RF, optical, and RF/optical combination connector module configurations. These connector modules are being adopted in specific slot profiles and will be documented in VITA 65.0 and 65.1, which define the slot profiles and associated interconnect.

    Developments in external interconnects and cabling

    For external connections between boxes, SOSA is adopting military-standard solutions, such as MIL-DTL-38999 rugged circular connectors. But the need for higher density copper and optics at the panel has driven SOSA to also utilize VITA standard solutions. VITA 76 circular copper interconnect will be used in SOSA systems for high-density, high-speed copper transmission. And the SOSA requirements for higher density optics led to the start of the VITA 87 standard, which will define a rugged circular connector with high-density MT interfaces. The designs in the VITA 87 draft standard include M38999 size 11, 13, and 15 shells with 1, 2, and 4 MT ferrules respectively. These VITA standard external I/O solutions enable significant bandwidth going outside the box while minimizing panel space. (Figure 2)

    Figure 2: D38999 Series III Style circular connectors with up to four MT ferrules accommodating up to 96 optical channels

    It’s true—the pace of change is challenging for designers of military embedded systems. But evolving VITA standards have enabled the introduction of numerous “next-gen” products and supports an open architecture for sensor systems through the SOSA Consortium. And the SOSA efforts have driven new VITA standards that will produce valuable technologies not just for SOSA aligned systems, but for the embedded computing industry as a whole. As a result, it’s getting easier to keep pace with demanding requirements without resorting to custom solutions that put projects on a costlier, slower track.

    Learn more about TE’s interconnect solutions for rugged, high-speed environments here.

    Michael Walmsley is Global Product Manager for TE Connectivity—Aerospace, Defense & Marine.



  • Thursday, December 03, 2020 10:38 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    By John Keller, Military& Aerospace Electronics

    Enabling technologies for electronics and embedded computing thermal management are expanding, as systems designers demand higher performance, standards-based cooling, and reduced size and weight.

    More . . .

  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019 9:57 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    By Mike Walmsley, Manager Product Management, TE Connectivity

    Staying up to speed with the rapid evolution of “next-gen” products and standards for OpenVPX architecture can be challenging for designers of military embedded systems. That’s because the OpenVPX platform is quickly evolving, with new VITA standards featuring product innovations that provide significant benefits, namely:

    • Faster processor and signal speeds;
    • Shrinking size and weight;
    • Standardized solutions that reduce the need for time-consuming and costly customization.
    OpenVPX Progress

    Introduced in 2004, the VPX designation was formally defined by the VMEbus International Trade Association (VITA) organization as the VITA 46 standard. Compared to the earlier VMEbus standard, VPX provides for far greater bandwidth by defining physical features of high-speed connectors over multiple physical links (i.e., switched fabrics). In 2009, the OpenVPX Industry Working Group began developing OpenVPX standards to define system-level VPX interoperability between modules as well as from modules to the backplane and chassis.

    In 2017, the OpenVPX System Standard (ANSI/VITA 65-2017) was updated to support versatile system architectural solutions for VPX. New VITA-compliant technologies supporting OpenVPX include new RF and optical interconnects, card form factors and cabling options.

    Developments in OpenVPX Interconnects

    VITA 46 defines the primary digital connector for VPX and is based on TE Connectivity’s (TE’s) MULTIGIG RT platform to enable high-speed communication in compliant systems. Recently, that connector platform has evolved with more rugged and faster connector solutions, resulting in two supplemental VITA 46 standards addressing these faster speeds:

    • VITA 46.30 standard will define VPX connectors with smaller compliant pin tails that support data rates to 25 Gb/s and higher.
    • VITA 46.31 standard will define comparable connectors with short solder tails for soldering into blind vias in the printed circuit boards.

    Keeping in line with these evolving standards, TE recently introduced the MULTIGIG RT 3 family that supports 25+ Gb/s baud rates, while maintaining mating compatibility with legacy VITA 46 connectors. The quad-redundant contacts of these ruggedized connectors ensure they can still withstand extreme military and space environments, while providing increased data throughput to meet newer system requirements.

    VITA 67 (ANSI/VITA 67.0-2019) defines the coaxial interconnect base standard for VPX. Coax contacts are populated in multi-position modules to enable RF signaling between VPX plug-in modules and the chassis backplane pass-through interface. Electronic warfare (EW) and signal intelligence (SIGINT) processing are demanding higher frequency RF signaling and military designers want higher density in VITA 67 RF modules. Accordingly, a new VITA 67.3 revision includes two new higher density interfaces.

    NanoRF modules and contacts provide a rugged, high-frequency nano-miniature coax system that supports two to three times the density of legacy VITA 67 RF modules, which use the SMPM RF contact interface. (Figure 1) Supporting frequencies up to 70 GHz, half- and full-size NanoRF modules can retain up to 12 or 21+ RF contacts—with custom options for even higher counts. A floating insert within the backplane module pre-aligns the RF contacts to assure reliable engagement with minimal wear.

    SMPS is another high-density RF interface option in the latest VITA 67.3 draft revision. SMPS uses the radial float of the individual contacts within the module to provide the alignment in mating, similar to SMPM contacts, but on a smaller scale.

    Figure 1: NanoRF modules can support two to three times the density of legacy VITA 67 RF modules. (courtesy TE Connectivity).

    VITA 66 (ANSI/VITA 66.0-2016) defines a family of blind mate fiber optic interconnects for VITA 46 backplanes and plug-in modules. Once again, the demands on optical solutions are increasing because faster speeds and lighter weight are becoming more critical. Optical transceivers must support higher temperature ranges and more rugged environments.

    To boost performance, the density of optical modules is increasing dramatically. Consequently, mechanical transfer (MT) modules for multi-fiber terminal ferrule connectors at the VPX backplane interface are doubling or tripling in the same physical space on the boards. Plus, fiber counts per MT module are increasing from 12 to 24 to 48.

    To further support this drive for higher density, new connector module designs are integrating RF and optical signals in a common block for the backplane interface. The block uses less space in a slot versus conventional side-by-side solutions. To enhance reliability, optical cable routing technology—like optical flex circuit cable assemblies—can help manage fiber routing, control bends and stabilize fibers.

    VITA 42 (ANSI/VITA 42.0-2016) defines the switched mezzanine card base specification for XMC cards—a peripheral component interconnect (PCI) form factor used in VPX architecture for high-speed serial fabric interconnection. VITA 61 (ANSI/VITA 61.0-2011 (R2014)), or XMC 2.0, uses the VITA 42 architecture, but with a multi-point contact interface targeted for harsh environments.

    The use of FMC (FPGA [field programmable gate array] mezzanine cards) and XMC cards are driving faster signals in these interconnects between mezzanine boards and the carrier cards. As a result, connectors are being developed to support higher speed protocols, such as PCIe Gen 4 and Gen 5.

    “Next-gen” VITA-compliant products are not just enabling high-speed interconnects as a way to get signals reliably from point A to point B—they are a critical link in the channel. Signal integrity optimization of the interconnect is increasingly important as speeds increase, which can be demonstrated by eye diagram analysis of data signal noise at high speeds. (Figure 2)

    Figure 2: As demonstrated by eye diagram analysis of data signal noise, optimizing interconnects is critical for maintaining signal integrity at high speeds (courtesy TE Connectivity).

    Ultimately the connector needs to be modeled and tested in a channel and not treated as a standalone component. As an example, multiple iterative MULTIGIG RT 3 connector designs were subjected to over two years of signal integrity analysis done by TE to optimize and verify performance before its final release.

    Developments in External Interconnects and Cabling

    For external connections between boxes, optical cables accommodate lighter, longer cable runs—a big advantage in aircraft and other applications where weight and electromagnetic interference (EMI) are issues. Rugged termini packaging can also be an advantage. For example, TE’s MC801 connector family combines the high-performance of ARINC 801 optical termini with a rugged MIL-DTL-38999 Series III connector style to ensure secure high-speed data and signal transfer in critical communications systems.

    High-speed copper cabling is an option for high-speed protocols, such as 10 Gb/s Ethernet, IEEE 1394, Fibre Channel and USB 3.0. Compared to optical fiber, copper cabling is lower cost because transceivers for electrical-optical conversion are not needed. Moreover, high-speed copper can support higher data rates with next-gen interconnects that reduce signal loss and noise as well as optimize impedance through the cable and connector.

    VITA 87 is a draft standard for circular optical MT connectors. Similar to how VITA 66 is addressing fiber density in the optical interface to the backplane, VITA 87 accommodates multiple MT ferrules in proven circular M38999 shells for high density external cabling. The designs in this draft standard include size 11, 13 and 15 shells with 1, 2 and 4 MT ferrules, respectively. These configurations support up to 96 in a single M38999 size 15 connector – the result is significant bandwidth going outside the box, while minimizing panel space.

    Ready for Tomorrow’s Embedded Systems

    It’s true--the pace of change is challenging for designers of military embedded systems. But evolving VITA standards for OpenVPX have enabled the introduction of numerous “next-gen” products. In the connector realm, specifically, newer, faster and better interconnect technologies have been incorporated into the long-term vision for open standards-based critical embedded systems. As a result, it’s getting easier to meet demanding requirements without resorting to custom solutions that put projects on a costlier, slower track.

  • Friday, June 07, 2019 9:37 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    Something exciting is happening in the service representative community. Representatives from three different programs, one from each of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) services, have come together with a common objective to solve their respective acquisition problems with an agreed-upon, open architecture standard. Here is Part 3 of a 3-part article covering the SOSA [Sensor Open System Architecture] Consortium’s efforts.

    More . . .

    By:

    • Mike Hackert, NAVAIR
    • Ben Peddicord, CERDEC
    • Dr. Ilya Lipkin, AFLCMC
  • Monday, May 20, 2019 10:52 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    Webcast Description

    The OpenVPX architecture has evolved dramatically since its original inception, thanks in part to the Sensors Open System Architecture (SOSATM) consortium’s adoption of the standard. SOSA is comprised of members of industry and the tri-service branches, working together to create a common architecture for future defense systems.

    Join Elma Electronic, Kontron and Behlman Power to learn:

    • Updates to the profiles – how and why they’ve been added to or updated in the standard
    • How the slot profiles were designed to meet VPX requirements and how they map to common types of VPX modules
    • What’s new in SOSA for power; why the decision was made to go to 12V only and the role of power in chassis management

    Register to view

  • Monday, May 20, 2019 10:47 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    Webcast Description

    Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA), formerly known as Open Systems Architecture or Open Systems Approach, is a methodological strategy to assess and implement technologies based on open, modular computing design elements. It has helped to drive design and technology trends in open standards such as VITA’s OpenVPX specification.

    Join Elma Electronic, Concurrent Technologies and Interface Concept to learn:

    • Goals of the Modular Opens Systems Approach (MOSA)
    • Technology trends and the impact to OpenVPX
    • Network system and processor capabilities required by the standard

    Register to view

  • Friday, April 12, 2019 9:15 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    Something exciting is happening in the service representative community. Representatives from three different programs, one from each of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) services, have come together with a common objective to solve their respective acquisition problems with an agreed-upon, open architecture standard. Here is Part 2 of a 3-part article covering the SOSA [Sensor Open System Architecture] Consortium’s efforts.

    More . . .

    By:

    • Mike Hackert, NAVAIR
    • Ben Peddicord, CERDEC
    • Dr. Ilya Lipkin, AFLCMC
  • Wednesday, March 13, 2019 2:35 PM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    How VITA Standards Are Making Avionics COTS Adoption Speedier

    By John Koon, February 2019, Avionics International

    Avionics design engineers no longer have to rely on proprietary specifications, which typically lag behind commercial market technology development at both the system and component level. New developments under creation by the VITA Standards Organization (VSO) are accelerating the use of open embedded architectures for avionics systems.

    In recent years, VSO engineers have developed many computing board and system standards including VMEbus, PCI Mezzanine Card (PMC), VXS, VPX and FMC. With many working groups to continually develop and refine specifications and standards, the avionics community is starting to see the practicality and benefits of adopting the commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) approach.

    More . . .


  • Friday, March 08, 2019 6:52 PM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    Something exciting is happening in the service representative community. Representatives from three different programs, one from each of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) services, have come together with a common objective to solve their respective acquisition problems with an agreed-upon, open architecture standard. Here is Part 1 of a 3-part article covering the SOSA [Sensor Open System Architecture] Consortium’s efforts.

    More . . .

    By:

    • Mike Hackert, NAVAIR
    • Ben Peddicord, CERDEC
    • Dr. Ilya Lipkin, AFLCMC
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