Ethernet/Fibre Channel for AdvancedTCA® Systems


SKU: PICMG 3.1 R3.0 Category:

Product Description


The PICMG® 3.1 specification is a member of the PICMG 3 AdvancedTCA® series of specifications. The base specification in the family, PICMG 3.0, is required to understand this specification. The PICMG 3.0 base specification implements a plug-in card & chassis architecture where the plug-in cards all have point-to-point differential pair serial-data links to communicate with each other. The base design is sufficiently generic that it can accommodate many different link-level standards. PICMG 3.1 establishes the usage of Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) and Fibre Channel (NCITS T11) communication within the AdvancedTCA® chassis. ¶

Ethernet is a highly successful LAN (Local Area Network) standard with support from a wide array of silicon, board, and software vendors. Originally developed by a consortium consisting of Digital Equipment Corporation, Intel, and Xerox (“DIX”) it was eventually standardized in 1983. Higher speeds of operation and other new capabilities have been defined and incorporated into the standard over the years. IEEE 802.3 and its amendments are approved as national standards by ANSI, and international standards by ISO, although these approvals will lag from IEEE Standards Association approval. The international standards are published as ISO/IEC 8802-3.” ¶

Fibre Channel has become a very popular standard for the connection of disk media storage systems with processors to form SANs (Storage Area Networks). It has been incorporated into PICMG 3.1 to allow the development of chassis units with mass storage in addition to processing and switching. PICMG 3.1 supports a Fibre Channel Port as FC-PI. The default for a FC-PI Port is 1 Gbps, however if both ends have Auto-Negotiation implemented, a data rate of 2 Gbps can be achieved. In general, the use of Fibre Channel is expected to be used in parallel with Ethernet, although PICMG 3.1 does not preclude the use of Fibre Channel only. ¶ 4 PICMG 3.1 supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet via AdvancedTCA® Channels using IEEE 10GBASE-KX4, IEEE 10GBASE-KR, and XAUI signaling and supports 40 Gigabit Ethernet using IEEE 40GBASE-KR4 signaling.


The specification in this document is derived from and is dependent upon, the PICMG 3.0 base specification. It is not intended to stand-alone or to be used separately from the base specification. ¶

PICMG 3.1 builds upon the PICMG 3.0 base specification, the IEEE 802.3-2008 and IEEE 802.3ba-2010 specifications as well as the Fibre Channel FC-PI specifications, to meet the following objectives:

• Define the signals to be used over the data link Channels provided by PICMG 3.0 based on Ethernet/Fibre Channel-compatible devices.

• Support over each PICMG 3.0 Channel the option of

—    One Port of Gigabit or 10-Gigabit Ethernet

—    Two Ports (Link-aggregated optional) of Gigabit or 10-Gigabit Ethernet2

—    Four Ports (Link-aggregated optional) of Gigabit or 10-Gigabit Ethernet

—    Optionally one or two Ports of Fibre Channel

—    One Channel of 10-Gigabit or 40-Gigabit Ethernet (utilizes all four ports)

• Establish the rules for compatibility between PICMG 3.1 devices.

• Define design rules such that devices compatible with some standard other than PICMG 3.1 in the PICMG 3.x family can be safely inserted in the same system, even if they do not function.