The desire for higher interconnect speeds between chips, boards, and chassis continues to grow in order to satisfy the requirement for higher throughput in future systems. It is now apparent that parallel shared-bus architectures no longer provide a viable option.

To address these requirements and challenges, some communication equipment manufacturers have turned to proprietary high-speed interconnects. However, these are short terms solutions due to their high cost, long-lead time, and lack of interoperability between proprietary interconnects.

Over the long term, equipment designers need industry-standard solutions capable of sustaining high speed data transfer at low cost. Based on earlier communication standards, new serial interconnect technologies such as InfiniBand, RapidFabric, and Advanced Switching Interconnect (ASI) deliver an industry-standard approach. This approach allows equipment designers to reuse software and maintain backward compatibility with legacy equipment while leveraging the cost efficiencies of the existing infrastructure.

In this article, Harpinder first describes each of the three architectures. He then compares each of these three competing architectures by focusing on their flow control, congestion management, and high availability characteristics.

Reprinted with permission from Embedded Computing Design/July 2005. Article © OpenSystems Publishing.