Military Embedded Systems

Green up: Bright green ideas from ?09


December 15, 2009

While we're gearing up for big plans in 2010 with new looks for the magazine, E-letter, and website, we also want to recap some of the highlights of 2009, and in particular, some of the year's top Editor's Choice products.

While we’re gearing up for big plans in 2010 with new looks for the magazine, E-letter, and website, we also want to recap some of the highlights of 2009, and in particular, some of the year’s top Editor’s Choice products.

The products listed below originally appeared in the Deep Green section of the Embedded Computing Design E-letter, and as such, they share some energy-efficient characteristics. Featured in the December issue of the magazine, these Editor’s Choice Speakouts include the original Editor’s Choice text plus vendors’ comments about how these products fulfill pressing design needs in the industry.

Faster, smarter, more power-optimized products like these start with innovative ideas for creative solutions. We’re here to help you find those ideas and develop them into winning designs that cultivate a greener embedded community.

Digitally configured power supplies

Emerson Network Power has increased the flexibility of its iMP and iVS Series of digitally configurable AC-DC switching power supplies by introducing three new simple yet innovative adapter modules that enable both USB and Controller Area Network (CAN)/RS-485 bus connectivity. These adapter modules now provide a complete interface between the host device and the I2C bus with a simple command set, enabling the highest levels of configuration flexibility. They also enable Emerson’s intelligent standard power supplies to be used in a host of new ruggedized applications, including automotive networks, industrial networks, medical equipment, and building automation systems, many of which interface exclusively via CANbus architectures.

The microcontrollers integrated into the case and modules are paired with Emerson’s innovative and highly intuitive I2C Graphical User Interface (GUI)-based control software. Power supply customization is now at the designer’s fingertips; voltages, current limits, and inhibit/enable settings can be easily configured or reconfigured, making power easy.


Figure 1: iMP and iVS Series

(Click graphic to zoom by 1.9x)




Controlling power supplies

Many types of power supplies are digitally controllable and able to be monitored over an I2C bus using the PMBus protocol. If you’ve got an I2C port handy and know how to use it, great, but let’s say you’ve got something higher level like a USB port, RS-485 port, or CANbus connection.

Emerson Network Power has designed three new simple extension cards to enable USB, CANbus, and RS-485 connectivity for the iMP and iVS AC-DC power supply families. These extension adapters provide the interface between the power supply control port (CaseRx/CaseTx) and the selected connectivity port, and program with a simple command set. This allows the energy-efficient iMP and iVS power supplies to be used in many industrial-type applications that rely solely on CANbus or newer installations that can use USB.

Emerson Network Power
Model: iMP and iVS Series
RSC# 42702
Published in: Deep Green, Embedded Computing Design August 2009 E-letter






Observing USB 3.0 protocol and more

Higher speeds and aggressive power management in USB 3.0 create more complicated signals that require more sophisticated analysis tools.

The LeCroy Voyager is a full-function protocol analyzer capable of recording and analyzing traffic between USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices. An integrated exerciser option is capable of emulating USB 2.0 and 3.0 device behaviors to allow functional, performance, and error-recovery testing. Now available with a turnkey Compliance Suite for validating conformance to the USB 2.0 and 3.0 specifications, the LeCroy Voyager has emerged as the de facto standard analysis tool for teams designing Certified USB 3.0 products.

“The availability of USB 3.0 compliance tools like LeCroy’s USB Compliance Suite is another important building block that will help accelerate the introduction and adoption of SuperSpeed technology.” – NEC Electronics


Figure 2: Voyager USB 3.0 Protocol Verification System




Measuring USB power

One of the major benefits of USB is its ability to power a connected device from the host port. USB 3.0 has done a couple of things to improve this capability by increasing the device unit load from 100 mA to 150 mA using a nominal 5 V and offering mandatory power management mechanisms such as inactivity timers and device-initiated power requests. A single USB 3.0 port now drives six unit loads. The question is: How can designers get the most, or more accurately, the least, out of this new power capability?

To answer that, what would be useful is a USB protocol analyzer that could also measure power consumption, and that’s exactly what LeCroy has created. While the Voyager analyzer looks at USB 2.0 or 3.0 data traffic, its optional integrated Power Tracker feature simultaneously measures and plots voltage and current draw. Measurements are correlated so that designers can see power draw during different states of the protocol and make the right choices to save power.

LeCroy Corporation
Model: Voyager USB 3.0 Protocol Verification System
RSC# 42701
Published in: Deep Green, Embedded Computing Design August 2009 E-letter






Enabling the new network

Network traffic in both enterprise and carrier networks is continuing to rise, driving the bandwidth requirements and line rates to 10 Gbps today, and is expected to grow to 40 Gbps and beyond in a few years. With the need for application awareness, content inspection, and security processing, the amount of processing power within the network infrastructure at these ever-increasing line rates is growing exponentially.   

In a typical enterprise or carrier network environment, network traffic is sourced by many users and applications, and as a result, tends to be uncorrelated. This aggregated multiplexed packet stream might consist of packets belonging to real-time applications, such as video conferencing and VoIP, and others belonging to non-real-time applications, like e-mail and text messaging.

To enable service providers and network equipment vendors to meet the high-performance challenge, a new multichip, multicore heterogeneous processor architecture is required – the NFP-32xx family.


Figure 3: NFP-32xx family

(Click graphic to zoom by 1.9x)




40 cores tackle packets

Multicore processing technology is continuing to evolve, and creative new architectures are showing up to do more work with less power consumption. A good example is the new Netronome NFP-32xx family, delivering more than 1.838 billion instructions per watt in a profile of 15 to 35 W. These highly integrated network flow processor engines are designed to team with Intel architecture processors using the Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) features of PCI Express Gen 2 to provide 256 queues for I/O coprocessing.

The 40 microengines are integrated into an optimized high-speed interconnect, with programming tools available to help designers utilize the architecture. To integrate with high-speed networks, NFP-32xx incorporates 25 Gbps Interlaken, SPI 4.2, and 10 Gbps XAUI interfaces. On-chip security processing is also important, with crypto engines supporting RC4, Triple Data Encryption Standard (3DES), Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Secure Hash Algorithm 1 (SHA-1), and SHA-2.

The result, according to Netronome, is the ability to perform 20 Gbps of Layer 2-7 deep packet processing with line-rate security features, all in an optimized power profile.

Model: NFP-32xx family
RSC# 42250
Published in: Deep Green, Embedded Computing Design June 2009 E-letter










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