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  • 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 . . .


    • 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 . . .


    • 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 . . .


    • Mike Hackert, NAVAIR
    • Ben Peddicord, CERDEC
    • Dr. Ilya Lipkin, AFLCMC
  • Thursday, February 14, 2019 6:13 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    The DoD’s Hardware/Software Convergence Initiative, an effort to develop a common modular hardware architecture across defense systems using OpenVPX as its basis, is now under the aegis of the Sensor Open Systems Architecture. However, myths persist about OpenVPX.

    Read More . . . 

    Michael Munroe | Jan 29, 2019

    Published in Electronic Design

  • Tuesday, January 29, 2019 1:26 PM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Inspired by enormous commercial market potential for practical digital solutions for radio signals, innovative vendors of data converter and DSP technology began rolling out successive generations of faster, smaller and less expensive devices. Software radio technology now dominates commercial, government and military systems worldwide, growing at almost 10% annually and is expected to reach $30 billion by 2022 according to the 2018 MarketsandMarkets, Inc. report titled: “Software Defined Radio Market – Global Forecast to 2022.  

    The start of a standard
    ack in 2006, the VITA 49 working group recognized these emerging needs and began developing the VITA Radio Transport (VRT) protocol to define a standardized format for delivering digitized intermediate frequency (IF) radio signals. An initial goal was to define packet structures for received signals that contained not only the digitized signal samples, but also metadata information that describes the signal. The first release of the standard was VITA 49.0, which defined IF Data Packets and Context Packets. This insightful forecasting has proven invaluable to today’s software defined radio market. 

    Resonating well with the needs of vendors and customers, VITA 49 served as a proven springboard for extending its reach to standardize additional requirements of software radios. The latest version of the standard was ratified by ANSI and VITA in August 2017 as VITA 49.2.  The original VITA 49.0 IF Data Packets were renamed as Signal Data Packets for added versatility (Figure 1). And, they were enlisted in the new role of delivering outgoing signals into radio transmitter equipment. Here, the time stamp can specify precisely when trigger transmit signals are generated, which is ideal for radar pulses. 

    Figure 1: VITA 49.2 supports transmitter Signal Data Packets, plus command and control functions. 

    Updates incorporate industry changes
    VITA 49.2 greatly expands the scope of Context Packets to add many more standardized conventions for new receiver metadata parameters as well as to report operational status and parameter values for transmitters.
      Perhaps the most significant new aspect of VITA 49.2 is the ability to control and monitor the status of software radio equipment. Previously, this was done using highly proprietary reads and writes to dedicated hardware registers unique to each product.

    Command Control Packets standardize parameter formats for tuning, bandwidth, sampling rates, antenna angle, transmit power, receiver gain and numerous other useful functions. Command Acknowledge packets sent back to the VITA 49.2 Processing and Control System confirm successful execution of the Command Control Packets to help ensure system integrity. 

    Growing mandates for standardized products
    Because of customer flow-down requirements for VITA 49, defense and government embedded systems integrators are increasingly seeking products that support the standard. Following these market incentives, the open architecture COTS vendor community now offers a range of software radio products with factory
    -installed VITA 49 engines. 

    Below, two 3U OpenVPX software radio modules based on the Xilinx Kintex UltraScale FPGA are shown, both of which include factory-installed IP modules for generating VITA 49.2 Signal Data Packets containing A/D or digital downconverter (DDC) output samples with precision time stamping. (Figure 2)  

    Figure 2: 3U VPX software radio modules include FPGA-based VITA 49 protocol engines. 

    The Model 52851 provides two 500 MHz 12-bitA/D converters with DDCs and two 800 MHz 16-bitD/A converters. The Model 52141 features a 6.4 GHz 12-bit A/D or two 3.2 GHz 12-bit A/Ds, both with DDCs, and two 6.4 GHz 16-bit D/As with digital upconverters. An API library in Pentek’s Navigator Board Support Package supports all features.  

    Continued industry development
    Like any successful standard, VITA 49 continues to evolve as new technology emerges and as the many active standards consortiums identify new requirements for deployed systems. Evidence of continued progress is ensured by the heightened participation in these efforts by three important groups: 

    • Government and military organizations, which use and specify software radio systems for defense sectors and intelligence agencies.

    • Universities and research laboratoriesoften funded through government grantsthat push the technology envelope of software radio by developing new waveforms, detection algorithms, signal exploitation techniques, spectral management strategies, electronic countermeasures, and new methods of encryption and security. 

    • Equipment vendors and system integrators, who bring to the table engineering skills, packaging experience, project management and familiarity with open architecture standards for embedded software radio systems.  

    Together, this vital community of contributors represents a diverse powerhouse for sustained innovation and collaboration to meet future challenges.

  • Saturday, September 01, 2018 8:00 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    Michael Harris, Military & Aerospace Electronics      

    An ever-increasing demand for intelligent, actionable data, combined with a boom in connected devices, is shaping how developers design the next generation of embedded computing systems.

    Read more . . . 

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