When system developers move to high performance technologies such as
InfiniBand, it can be a challenge to link several systems together. Connector
makers are making sure they won’t be the bottleneck, coming out with parts that
handle speeds up to 10 Gbits per second.
Molex Inc. of Lisle, IL, last month unveiled its GbX line, which handles
speeds of 6 to 10 Gbits per second. Tyco Electronics of Harrisburg, PA, is
addressing this market with its MultiGig RT-2 line, which can run at identical
The Molex line, developed in conjunction with Teradyne Inc.
of Nashua, NH, achieves density of up to 69 real differential pairs per linear
inch. It can also help reduce the number of layers on the circuit boards that
the connectors are mounted on, saving the cost of adding layers. Signal pairs
can be routed in the slot-to-slot direction or the card edge direction. That
makes it possible to allow more trace escapes from the connector pin field for
each circuit board layer.
The GbX connector system also provides
power solutions and hot swapping. Parts can handle 200 Amps per linear inch,
with power blade configurations that provide three mating levels for hot
swapping. Pricing is currently set at 13 to 16 cents per mated signal. Tyco’s
MultiGig line has up to 133 contacts per inch. The modular components use
printed circuit wafers instead of signal pins, eliminating the possibility that
bent pins can hinder system setup. These wafers can be produced in differential
or single-ended performance, so impedance, propagation delay and crosstalk can
be set to customer requirements. Connectors are price at 20 cents per mated
The InfiniBand link addressed by these and other connectors is one of the
fastest of a number of new interfaces. It can move up to 250 Mbytes in a second,
nearly 10 times the 26 Mbytes per second rate of Gbit Ethernet, according to the
Infiniband Trade Association.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.