Pentek Announces Series of VPX Software Radio Boards that Delivers Extreme Performance

DN Staff

April 26, 2010

2 Min Read
Pentek Announces Series of VPX Software Radio Boards that Delivers Extreme Performance

SOFTWARE/HARDWARE: Pentek, Inc. has introduced 14 products in their new family of 3U VPX boards for data acquisition, software radio and digital signal processing. These new boards offer flexible backplane fabric connections supporting maximum data rates of up to 4 GB/sec with PCI Express (PCIe) Generation 2 (Gen 2) and 2.5 GB/sec with other protocols. The 3U VPX form factor is compact and extremely well suited for avionics, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), shipboard and airborne radar, and signal intelligence applications.

Each of the new 3U x8 VPX modules features a PCIe Gen 2 interface. The PCIe interface includes a bridge that provides PCIe lane-width negotiation for x1, x4, x8 or x16 data transfers over the VPX backplane.

All modules feature a fabric-transparent crossbar switch that delivers many benefits. First, it allows flexible assignment of the PCIe interface lanes to backplane connector pins so system integrators can easily match a diverse range of backplane topologies. Second, the switch supports other gigabit serial protocols for moving data, such as Xilinx Aurora and Serial Rapid I/O. The switch simply passes the gigabit serial traffic from one port to another, totally independent of any particular protocol. Multiple data streams can be sent through the switch simultaneously. Lastly, the switch allows all modules to act as a VPX switch, to manage serial fabric connections to and from other modules across the backplane.

All of the first 14 products announced offer a distinctive feature set with a wide range of capabilities: high-speed A/D converters from 105 to 500MHz with 12- to 16-bit resolution; Xilinx Virtex FPGA products; D/A converters to 800 MHz with 16-bit resolution; wideband and narrowband digital downconverters and upconverters with channel counts from 2 to 256; and multi-frequency clock synthesizers from 20 to 500MHz.

Pentek’s 5308 VPX x8 PCIe Cable Adapter features a front-panel PCIe x8 cable interface that extends the PCIe backplane across a cable to an adapter card in a host PC. VPX modules appear as PCIe devices on the host PC, allowing engineers to quickly start developing VPX applications on low-cost workstations. The 5308 can also be used for host connections in deployed systems and for data links between multiple VPX card cages.

These VPX products comply with the VPX REDI specification and can be supplied in both air-cooled and conduction-cooled versions.

The ReadyFlow Board Support package includes project files and examples to demonstrate all board features. ReadyFlow supports Windows, Linux and VxWorks operating systems.

Pentek’s GateFlow FPGA Design Kit enables the onboard FPGA to be configured by the user for implementation of custom pre-processing functions such as FFTs, FIR filters and software-radio blocks. The kit includes VHDL source files and works in conjunction with the Xilinx ISE Foundation design tools.

The starting price for the Model 5308 VPX to PC Adapter is $5,490 USD. Data acquisition and software radio modules start at $11,400 USD. Lead time is 8 to 10 weeks ARO.


-Edited by Kelsey Anderson

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