New Aitech Rad-tolerant PMC Provides Gigabit Ethernet Data Transport to CPU

Rugged design holds up in harsh space applications

Dec 07, 2010, 20:51 ET from Aitech Defense Systems

CHATSWORTH, Calif., Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Aitech Defense Systems Inc., the world's first and largest independent manufacturer of open architecture electronic boards and subsystem level products for harsh, environmentally-demanding defense and aerospace applications, now offers the S750, the space industry's first COTS, radiation-tolerant, Layer 2 Gigabit Ethernet switch PCI mezzanine card (PMC) that quickly and reliably transfers Ethernet data to and from GbE NIC end-points and the host CPU.  

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With on-board memory and key function redundancy implemented in a rad-hard FPGA, the new PMC is specifically designed for harsh space environments including low earth orbit (LEO), Mars terrestrial and geostationary earth orbit (GEO). The S750 features up to four 100/1000BaseT, full duplex Ethernet ports and one emulated virtual network port for network access to the single board computer (SBC) network stack via the local PCI bus. 1000Base-X is available as an option.

Because the PMC operates on Aitech's premier PowerPC-based 3U CompactPCI S950 SBC, the hallmark of space-flown SBCs, the user can initiate managed switch functions, such as, statically and dynamically configurable GbE packet transfers, port management and multiple power-saving options, depending on various and unique application requirements to match many types of mission profiles.  In tandem with the S750 TMR (triple modular redundancy) FPGA architecture, the S950 also delivers on-board Flash and SDRAM memory redundancy to ensure low latency Ethernet transfers and outstanding data integrity.

Enabled immediately at power-up, the S750/S950 mated pair allows the space-rated SBC to quickly manage GbE switch ports and data via the SBC's RS422 UART console port and the virtual port.  The switch configuration can be stored in the S950 non-volatile user flash memory so it can be reloaded across power cycles to reduce management complexity.

Dynamically-learned host MAC (media access control) addresses of devices connected to the S750 PMC are stored in the MAC forwarding and translation table with at least 16 entries, enabling high-speed, multipoint data distribution of the addresses.  The PMC can transmit and receive IPv4 UDP (user datagram protocol), TCP (transmission control protocol) and raw data packets.  

The S750 uses direct memory-mapped access to provide local switch management and operational status of both the switch functions as well as to enable or disable individual port operation or MAC address translation via the local 32-bit PCI bus.

The minimum unshielded total ionizing dose (TID) of the new PMC is more than 10 krad (Si), with higher radiation hardness levels available if needed.  The low single event upset (SEU) rate and low power consumption of less than 8 W provide added system reliability.

The S750 PMC features an 8 MB no-overhead, direct memory addressable buffer allocated in the SBC SDRAM with an Aitech proprietary, real-time, no wait-state triple voting algorithm for added redundancy and data integrity as well as standard rear I/O ports through the SBC PMC interface to a 32-bit cPCI backplane.

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Established in 1983, Aitech offers military and space-qualified, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) embedded computing products for rugged defense, aerospace and astronautics (space) applications as well as provides radiation tolerant and full MIL-SPEC solutions.  The company provides industry-standard, open architecture VMEbus, CompactPCI and high speed serial fabric-based boards, power subsystems, mass memory, enclosures and hardware subsystem integration along with logistics, configuration control, component obsolescence and earned-value management services.

Having pioneered the development of true military VMEbus products for use in mainstream defense and aerospace applications, Aitech utilizes its broad base of off-the-shelf products and technologies to also develop customer-specific solutions, deliver superior cost-performance and reliability, and expedite time to market.  Applications for its products range from mission processors, fire control, mission control and autonomous robotic subsystems for ground vehicles as well as surface and subsurface naval platforms to tactical and strategic fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and low- to high-earth orbit and deep space vehicles.

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SOURCE Aitech Defense Systems