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Application Note: Options for Adding Ethernet Ports to Embedded Systems

May 03, 2013

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Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions has a variety of Ethernet switching and routing products available to meet a wide array of application requirements, including rugged deployed applications.

Ethernet has evolved over the years to become an open standard that provides for control and data movement applications over TCP/IP and UDP protocols, among others. For applications that need many ports of Ethernet I/O to interface to data bridges or remote I/O units (RIU's), multiple ports of lower bandwidth may be required to aggregate via a switch or router prior to the controlling processor(s).

In the rugged embedded blade style formats, Curtiss-Wright offers PMC, XMC, 3U PCI, 3U VPX, 6U VME, 6U VPX and stand-alone solutions, which can be added to systems to provide for a variety of Ethernet ports to a system. Just as larger modules can support more and larger components as well as the number of I/O pins, Curtiss-Wright's options follow suit with smaller modules generally offering less port counts than the larger modules due to size and available pins.

For the simplest solutions, the PMC-650, an unmanaged Layer 2 switch on a PMC module, can provide for 8 ports of 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet. The main PMC connectors provide for power and ground, while the I/O connector Pn4 provides for 64 signal pins of 8 ports of Gigabit Ethernet. A similar solution on PMC and XMC format provides for up to 12 ports of Gigabit Ethernet with Layer 2 management via an RS-232 connection on a mezzanine with Base-T and Base-X (SerDes), using both the Pn4 and Pn6 connectors in various configurations for either a PMC or XMC host. The PMC and/or XMC modules can provide a good solution when the management features and port count meet the system requirements, as they can reside on SBCs without needing their own slot within a system, thereby helping to reduce system size.


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