Design Con 2015

VITA sets specs for 25G optical interconnect boards

January 23, 2013

Bernard Cole-January 23, 2013

The VITA trade association has initiated an effort to set standards for opto-electronic boards and components for use by military and other users requiring high reliability.

The VITA 79 specifications have the aim of laying the foundation for the next-generation of VMX single-board computers with optical backplanes carrying data at 10 to 25 Gbits/second.

Board vendors including Avago, Finisar and others are meeting with VITA officials to define specifications for components such as pin diodes, emitters and detectors.

The specs aim to more narrowly characterize component performance across the broad spectrum of frequencies, operating temperatures, shock and vibration posed by military and aerospace users.

The new effort comes as high performance board makers become more interested in the long-discussed transition from copper to optical board-level interconnects.

Embedded systems vendors are already shipping products based on VITA 66, the group’s first standard for mainly 5 Gbits/s optical backplanes used in high-end military radar systems and other applications.

The VITA 79 component standards aim to open the door to a next-gen standard for backplanes that carry traffic 10 to 25 Gbits/s. Such systems could be ready to ship within two years, generally to radar users pushing the boundaries.

The next generation boards will be targeted at replacing the fibre optics now used in VITA 66 boards with polymer coated waveguides. The new technology aims to carry photonic signals through channels inside the printed circuit boards, using a new generation of board materials.

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