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November 1, 2022

PICMG Ratifies COM-HPC FuSa Extensions, COM Express PCIe 4/USB 4 Updates to Meet Edge Workload Demands

COM-HPCIndustry NewsNewsPICMG

PICMG COM-HPC 1.15 and COM.0 R3.1 continue evolution to support high-performance, mixed-criticality, and cost-optimized IoT edge, gateway, and server designs with strict time-to-market requirements.

WAKEFIELD, MA. OCTOBER 31, 2022. PICMG, a leading consortium for the development of open embedded computing specifications, has announced major updates to the COM-HPC and COM Express families of computer-on-module (COM) standards with the ratification of Functional Safety (FuSa) extensions to COM-HPC (COM-HPC 1.15) and COM Express Revision 3.1 (COM.0 R3.1), which adds 16 Gbps connectors, support for PCI Express Gen 4, USB 4, SATA Gen 3 optimizations, and other enhancements.

COM-HPC 1.15 is a set of safety extensions that expand the FuSa capabilities of “safety island” blocks available on modern chipsets out to the broader system. Available on all COM-HPC form factors – including the upcoming COM-HPC Client Mini – COM-HPC FuSa extensions define a dedicated SPI signal that connects health and status monitoring features of such blocks to a FuSa “Safety Controller” located on COM-HPC carrier cards where any findings can be processed for external use.

The COM-HPC 1.15 architecture thus enables the creation of mixed-criticality multicore embedded systems by providing a direct path to redundancy and fail-safe process implementation for developers of industrial machine control, train and wayside control, robotics, autonomous vehicles, avionics, and other critical systems.

“With the small size definition of the upcoming Mini specification and the recent FuSa extensions, COM-HPC covers all use cases I can think of,” says Christian Eder, Chair of the COM-HPC technical committee and Director Product Marketing at congatec. “COM-HPC is the most complete computer module definition ever. I expect an extremely fast growth for scalable and compute-power hungry embedded applications based on COM-HPC technology.”

The COM-HPC 1.15 specification effort is sponsored by ADLINK, congatec, and Kontron.

COM Express Revision 3.1 continues the evolution of the electronics industry’s most popular COM standard by adding support for PCIe Gen 4 and an updated 16 Gbps connector across the family’s Type 6, 7, and 10 pinouts. SATA Gen 3 signal integrity and loss budget information has also been added for each Type.

These improvements join pinout-specific upgrades including optional USB4 (Type 6), MIPI-CSI connectors (Types 6, 10), SoundWire (Types 6, 10), as well as an additional general-purpose SPI interface (Types 6, 10). A CEI signaling-enabled 10 GbE interface and IPMB management interface are also now defined in the Type 7 pinout as part of COM.0 R3.1.

COM Express Revision 3.1 Type 6 and Type 10 hardware is fully backward-compatible with 3.0 modules and carrier boards, while Revision 3.1 Type 7 modules are backward compatible apart from 10GBASE-KR Ethernet side-band signals and a second PCIe reference clock not included on R3.0 modules.

“The PICMG COM Express specification just had its 23rd anniversary. During this time, the specification has been updated to support the latest interfaces while focusing on maintaining backwards compatibility. Revision 3.1 is no exception,” says Jeff Munch, CTO of ADLINK Technology and Chairman of the COM Express subcommittee. “In the latest release of the COM Express specification the subcommittee has added support for PCI Express Gen 4, USB4, and newer 10G side-band interfaces while maximizing backwards compatibility.

“These new interfaces will allow COM Express to continue to fill its role as a leading computer-on-module standard.”

For more information on the COM-HPC FuSa extensions specification, visit www.picmg.org/openstandards/com-hpc or purchase the specification for $750 from www.picmg.org/product/com-hpc-module-base-specification-revision-1-15.

For more on the COM Express family of specifications, go to www.picmg.org/openstandards/com-express or purchase the latest specification revision from www.picmg.org/product/com-express-module-base-specification-rev-3-1.

More on PICMG’s range of open, modular computing standards can be found at www.picmg.org.

About PICMG
Founded in 1994, PICMG is a not-for-profit 501(c) consortium of companies and organizations that collaboratively develop open standards for high performance industrial, Industrial IoT, military & aerospace, telecommunications, test & measurement, medical, and general-purpose embedded computing applications. There are over 130 member companies that specialize in a wide range of technical disciplines, including mechanical and thermal design, single board computer design, high-speed signaling design and analysis, networking expertise, backplane, and packaging design, power management, high availability software and comprehensive system management.

Key standards families developed by PICMG include COM Express, COM-HPC, ModBlox7, IoT.1, CompactPCI, AdvancedTCA, MicroTCA, AdvancedMC, CompactPCI Serial, COM Express, SHB Express, MicroSAM, and HPM (Hardware Platform Management). For more information visit www.picmg.org.

June 29, 2022

The evolution never ends: PICMG announces new MicroTCA specifications

Industry NewsNewsPICMG

Wakefield, MA., USA / Nuremberg, Germany, June 23, 2022 – PICMG, a leading consortium for the development of open embedded computing specifications, announces that the MicroTCA Working Group is working on the next generation of the MTCA architecture specifications initially launched in 2006. Efforts target improvements for time sensitive and high bandwidth applications such as in high-energy physics. Current work includes accommodations for the next generation of CPUs and FPGAs that will natively support PCIe gen 5. Future applications in industry require this higher bandwidth i.e. for image processing, signal detection, data acquisition. As current CPU speeds are limited by 80 W per slot power limit the support of more power for faster CPUs is on the task list as well. Future applications will also require other kinds of high- and low-speed fabrics paired with more flexibility in system design. The science market segment for high frame rate Megapixel detectors of the actual photon experiments requires even higher throughput. Thus, all these demands are scheduled to become part of the new releases of these successful specifications. With all these improvements MicroTCA continues to be an pro-active specification with significant updates to support high-bandwidth backplane interconnects. Latest update of the specs happened as recently as 2020.

“I am more than happy that the MicroTCA Working Group is so pro-actively addressing the recent demands. The new spec will find its way into many different vertical markets due to the flexibility of MicroTCA!”, says Heiko Koerte, VP and Director Sales & Marketing of N.A.T., “Applications in industrial automation, medical, telecommunication and networking, aerospace and transportation will not only benefit form these new features but also from how easily MicroTCA can be adapted to the exact needs. More than 16.500 MCHs just from N.A.T and many more I/O and compute cards delivered to the field speak for themselves. The wide spread of MicroTCA definitely makes it both a technically and commercially attractive solution!”.

About MicroTCA

MicroTCA® is a modular, open standard for building high-performance, backplane-based switched fabric computer systems in a small form factor.

MicroTCA has become the de facto standard for precision timing and synchronization equipment at world-renowned particle accelerators CERN, DESY, ESS, XFEL, KEK, SLAC, and others. Its architecture and features are also consistent with the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) being adopted as part of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) electronic media acquisition policy.

Originally designed for edge telecom and networking use cases, the core MTCA.0 base specification defines the mechanical and electrical characteristics of a MicroTCA backplane, card cage, power subsystem, cooling, and system management. Since being ratified in 2011, the MTCA Base specification has been revised to support 10GBASE-KR and 40GBASE-KR4 Ethernet fabrics and spawned four additional sub-specifications adapted for data acquisition, control, and telemetry in markets such as high-energy physics, avionics, defense, mobile infrastructure, and others.

  • MicroTCA.0 – The Base specification defines MicroTCA’s electrical, mechanical, thermal, and management characteristics, including support for implemented in MicroTCA.0 Revision 2.0 in 2020.
  • MicroTCA.1 – Adds ruggedization features and forced-air cooling.
  • MicroTCA.2 – Expands shock, vibration, and temperature operation, allowing for both air and conduction cooling.
  • MicroTCA.3 – Continues to increase compliance threshold for shock, vibration, and temperature and requires the use of conduction cooling.
  • MicroTCA.4 – Adds features for the scientific community such as Rear Transition Modules (RTMs), which improve RF filtering, pre- and post-processing, clock generation, etc.

Developed as a reduced-footprint alternative to the popular AdvancedTCA family of specifications, MicroTCA defines a backplane-based system for plug-in Advanced Mezzanine Cards (AdvancedMCs). AdvancedMCs are available in different sizes (Full-size, Mid-size, Compact) and can be sourced from multiple vendors to add compute, storage, I/O, and other functionality to a MicroTCA chassis without modification. As mentioned previously, the MTCA.4 sub-specification also adds support for RTMs that increase system expansion possibilities in scientific applications.

 

A single MicroTCA system contains up to 12 AdvancedMCs slots, and up to two MicroTCA Carrier Hubs (MCHs). MCHs provide intelligent platform management, power delivery, and facilitate switching over Ethernet, PCIe, and/or Serial RapidIO backplane interconnect fabrics.

To learn more about the PICMG MicroTCA family of specifications, download the Short Form Specification for free at https://www.picmg.org/wp-content/uploads/MicroTCA_Short_Form_Sept_2006.pdf. You can also purchase Revision 2.0 of the MicroTCA Base Specification for $750 from https://www.picmg.org/product/microtca-base-specification-r2-0.

The current committee is led by Kay Rehlich of DESY, Heiko Koerte of N.A.T. and Thomas Holzapfel from powerBridge.

About PICMG
Founded in 1994, PICMG is a not-for-profit 501(c) consortium of companies and organizations that collaboratively develop open standards for high performance industrial, Industrial IoT, military & aerospace, telecommunications, test & measurement, medical, and general-purpose embedded computing applications. There are over 130 member companies that specialize in a wide range of technical disciplines, including mechanical and thermal design, single board computer design, high-speed signaling design and analysis, networking expertise, backplane, and packaging design, power management, high availability software and comprehensive system management.

Key standards families developed by PICMG include COM Express, COM-HPC, ModBlox7, IoT.1, CompactPCI, AdvancedTCA, MicroTCA, AdvancedMC, CompactPCI Serial, COM Express, SHB Express, MicroSAM, and HPM (Hardware Platform Management). https://www.picmg.org

June 29, 2022

PICMG Announces Significant Progress of IoT.X Family of Sensor Data Modeling and Abstraction Specifications

Industry NewsNewsPICMG

Wakefield, MA., USA / Nuremberg, Germany, June 23, 2022 – The PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer’s Group (PICMG), a leading consortium for the development of open embedded computing specifications, is excited to announce significant progress on its IoT.X family of specs. Highlighted by the IoT.1 firmware interface and data modeling specification and soon-to-be-ratified IoT.2 network architecture, ongoing efforts promise to abstract low-level device physics such that sensor node data becomes interoperable across all levels of smart factory deployments.

PICMG IoT.1 focuses primarily on a data abstraction layer that allows users to turn traditional sensors and effecters into plug-and-play smart sensors and effecters using free and open-source tools that require little-to-no programming expertise. For example, the PICMG IoT Configurator and IoT Builder tools are reference implementations for building and generating smart sensor firmware that can be read by any sensor or controller.

Both can be accessed from the PICMG Github repos

The separate but complementary IoT.2 network architecture specification defines the integration of these smart sensors and effecters, as well as their data, into larger Industry 4.0 systems of systems. Based on the Data Management Task Force’s (DMTF’s) Redfish API, the .2 spec outlines an abstraction layer and transactional model so that sensor and effecter endpoints can be monitored and managed in the context of job models similar to those available from major cloud service providers.

In other words, the data transparency afforded by the two specifications permits IT factory personnel to send specific, state-based jobs to a machine or clusters of machines in the pursuit of a desired outcome.

“IoT.1 provides low-level visibility of physical device parameters that can directly impact the quality and efficiency of your production line,” says Doug Sandy, CTO, PICMG. “IoT.2 provides an IT-like interface for managing both machines and jobs at a high level of abstraction.

“When used together, they support the analytics required for higher levels of productivity and throughput across a factory environment,” he adds.

To foster an environment of openness and collaboration, IoT.2 will not be exclusive of other existing IoT communications protocols and models and allows them to be converted to maintain compliance with the new spec.

For more detailed technical information on IoT.1, IoT.2, and how PICMG’s latest family of specifications is helping accelerate Industry 4.0 adoption, please visit PICMG’s website www.picmg.org/understanding-smart-sensors. More information on PICMG’s overall Industrial IoT activities can be found at www.picmg.org/industrial-iot-overview.

IoT.1 was developed in collaboration with the following PICMG members: Arroyo Technology, nVent, Triple Ring Technologies, Sandy Systems. The IoT.1 specification can be purchased and downloaded here: www.picmg.org/product/iiot_firmware.

About PICMG

Founded in 1994, PICMG (PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group) is a nonprofit consortium of companies and organizations that collaboratively develop open standards for high performance telecommunications, military, industrial, and general-purpose embedded computing applications. There are over 140 member companies that specialize in a wide range of technical disciplines, including mechanical and thermal design, single board computer design, very high-speed signaling design and analysis, networking expertise, backplane and packaging design, power management, High Availability software, and comprehensive system management. Key standards families developed by PICMG include CompactPCI CompactPCI®, AdvancedTCA®, MicroTCA®, AdvancedMC®, CompactPCI® SerialCOM Express®, SHB Express®, MicroSAM, COM-HPC. and HPM (Hardware Platform Management).