RapidIO goes after PCI Express

New specification will allow the interconnect to go above 100Gbps

The RapidIO Trade Association has announced a technology roadmap of enhancements with the Serial RapidIO 10xN that supports single lane speeds of more than 10Gbps and device to device communication of more than 100Gbps, the association said in a press release.

In order to achieve the high speeds RapidIO has changed the signaling scheme from 8b/10b to a scheme where much more data is transmitted in each frame. This is much like PCI Express that has moved to a 128b/130b scheme in its latest incarnation.

There is a short-reach specification for local interconnect up to 20 cm over two connectors on FR4 and a long-reach specification that will support up to 1m over two connectors on FR4.

Whereas PCI Express is mainly used for communication between processor and peripheral equipment such as graphics cards, the RapidIO is also geared towards inter-processor communication.

The launch of the new roadmap for RapidIO with the RapidIO 10xN set of specifications is in response to OEMs’ significant needs for the capabilities of RapidIO to scale past 6.25 Gbaud per serial lane,” said Tom Cox, Executive Director of the RapidIO Trade Association. “The proliferation of 4G handsets is increasingly putting demand on the wireless network, and OEMs need more distributed coverage in smaller form factors, with more data passing between processing elements all with low power and ultra low latency. Cloud computing demands a scalable, energy efficiency fabric within the data center, and creating scalable systems with 100Gbps connections to computing nodes, with ultra-low latency to enable high volume financial transactions is key. High volume financial systems gain a competitive edge through having the lowest and most deterministic latency. Our defense and aerospace customers continue to rely on RapidIO for mission-critical systems and increased automation of unmanned vehicles. Other operational equipment is driving the need for RapidIO in these demanding real-time processing applications. RapidIO 10xN, with a path to 25xN, sets a long term roadmap to satisfy the real-world needs of all these applications.” 25xN will support speeds of up to 25Gbps per lane.  It remains to be seen how much market uptake this will gain.S|A

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