PCIMG updates COM Express 3.1 specifications to support high-speed serial interfaces

PCIMG updates COM Express 3.1 specifications to support high-speed serial interfaces

PCIMG has announced that the new computer-on-module (COM) Express 3.1 specification can now support high-speed serial interfaces such as Gen 4 and USB4. COM Express is a family of modular, small-form-factor computer-on-module specifications. The specification will be used to make mid-range edge processing and networking capabilities available for automation, retail and other technology markets.

Since its initial ratification in the 2005 COM Express model, the technology spawned eight different types, four sizes and three major revisions. At the same time, it retained its modular architecture that promoted vendor interoperability and technology reuse.

PICMG is a non-profit consortium that develops open standards for high-performance industrial IoT, military, aerospace, telecommunication, medical and general-purpose embedded computing applications. This upgrade to the COM Express 3.1 specifications will allow enterprise customers to take advantage of high-speed lines for communication between two digital systems.

“The specification has been updated to support the latest interfaces while focusing on maintaining backward compatibility. Revision 3.1 is no exception,” says Jeff Munch, CTO of Adlink Technology and chairman of the COM Express subcommittee.

A 16Gbps connector has been updated across the family Type 6, 7, and 10 pinouts to support high-speed signaling. As part of the update, the consortium also included SATA Gen 3 signal integrity and loss budget information for each Type family. These improvements come with pinout-specific upgrades, such as optional USB4 and MIPI-CSI connectors, SoundWire, and a general-purpose SPI interface.

Computer-on-module base specification 3.1 is currently available for sale with all components required for a bootable host computer. That said, to power up and use input/output peripherals, a carrier board is needed. According to the consortium, the advantages computer-on-modules offer to OEMs are faster time-to-market and reduced development costs. In addition, they provide the freedom to meet specific form-fit-function requirements.

“In the latest release of the COM Express specification, the subcommittee has added support for PCI Express Gen 4, USB4, and newer 10G side-band interfaces while maximizing backward compatibility,” Munch added.

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