AXIe specification gets an upgrade

-October 15, 2015

Earlier this month, the AXIe Consortium added new capabilities to the AXIe Base Specification. If you are unfamiliar with AXIe, it is a modular instrument standard best described as the “big brother to PXI.” Like PXI, it hosts pluggable instrument and controller modules into a chassis, using PCIe (PCI Express) as a high-speed data fabric. However, the modules are larger than PXI and typically placed horizontally in a chassis. These larger modules allow power dissipation up to 200 watts/slot, suitable for high-speed data converters and digital test. You can read my recent AXIe tutorial here.

Like PXI, AXIe allows instrument modules from multiple vendors to be inserted into the same chassis. The larger module form factor combined with horizontal orientation allows very high power and rack density.

While AXIe consists of multiple standards numbered AXIe-n, where n represents a certain layer in the specification hierarchy, most references to AXIe assume AXIe-1, the Base Architecture specification. You can see the list of all specifications on the AXIe Consortium specification page.

So what did the AXIe Consortium change in the AXIe-1 specification? There are two substantial changes to the spec. First, it allowed expansion of the PCIe fabric from 4 lanes to 16 lanes, quadrupling data bandwidth. This capability is known as “Wide PCI Express.”  Second, it made provisions for lower cost LAN-based modules.

Let’s look at the Wide PCI Express capability…

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