NEC Intros Backplane Transceivers

NEC Electronics samples a new member of backplane transceiver chip family, the uPD98442 express transmitter/receiver devices

May 10, 2004

3 Min Read

KAWASAKI, Japan and DUESSELDORF, Germany -- NEC Electronics Corporation and its subsidiary in Europe, NEC Electronics (Europe) GmbH, announced today the availability of samples of a new member of backplane transceiver chip family. The new product uPD98442, follows the already available uPD98441. These express Transmitter Receiver devices (for short eTR) realize backplane transmission by converting a UTOPIA or POS-PHY parallel interface, widely used in chips for communication systems, into a high-speed 880 Mbps LVDS (Low-Voltage Differential Signaling) serial interface. While the already existing device uPD98441 (eTR2) supports 2 serial communication lines, the new device uPD98442 (eTR8) supports 8 lines. Serial data for backplane transmission, as supported by the uPD98441 and uPD98442, contribute to improve communication efficiency and reduce power consumption of communication systems like cellular base station systems, while offering cost reduction and higher reliability.

"Network system manufacturers are now grappling with the problem of how to respond to demands for lower costs without sacrificing reliability or performance," said Kats Nakazawa, General Manager of the PC Peripheral Systems Division, 2nd System Operations Unit, NEC Electronics Corporation. "In response to this problem, we developed the new products with functions ideal for backplane communications. As a solution provider, we plan to continue developing IP cores that will respond to mid- to long-term developments in the wireless infrastructure equipment market and other networking applications, while at the same time supply products that meet customers' immediate needs."

Key features of uPD98441 and uPD98442:

  • The uPD98441 and uPD98442 feature 2 and 8 LVDS link channels, respectively. This reflects the star-type point-to-point topology often used in communication systems where for example data are exchanged between a central switch card and multiple line cards. The LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signal) technology is well introduced in power saving high speed communication. In comparison with parallel bus structures it offers high signal integrity due to build-in suppression of distortions and unintentional radiated emissions. High bandwidth makes systems future proof beyond the data transmission capacity of typical parallel busses.

  • In "normal mode" each physical link with its data transmission rate up to 880 Mbps connects to another eTR physical channel. eTR2 thus supports 2 communication links and eTR8 supports 8 links.

  • In "protection mode" for systems with very high requirements to reliability and availableness, with the eTR chips used together, half of the channels can be used as protection links. With build-in redundancy logic, the chips control one active and one standby channel in a pair of physical links.

  • Two parallel interface types are supported by the eTR devices: the UTOPIA interface as defined by the ATM Forum and the industry-standard POS-PHY interface. The uPD98442 supports level 3 and level 2 UTOPIA and POS-PHY interfaces, and the uPD98441 supports level 2. So it is possible with these devices to communicate between boards and chips with different level of the parallel interface.

  • Both eTR devices include a flow control function to inform each other about the internal FIFO status via the serial interface. This backpressure mechanism avoids FIFO overflow, i.e. the transmission of data which cannot be processed on the other side of a link and finally raises the reliability of the backplane data transmission.

  • The usage of field proven high-speed SerDes macros inside the eTR devices not only allows for backplane transmission but also for cable connections over several meter distance. So the different shelves inside a rack or even different racks can be linked by eTR devices.

The eTR transceiver chips are ideal for cellular infrastructure like base stations, base station controllers, and core network elements. Other communication systems which today use internal ATM data transfer like DSLAM systems, but also ATM-switches and routers will benefit from the new eTR device family. Due to supporting the POS-PHY interface, also IP-based networks will use the new devices to their advantage.

NEC Electronics Corp.

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