Compact peripheral component interconnect (CPCI) is an adaptation of the peripheral component interconnect (PCI) specification for industrial computer applications requiring a smaller, more robust mechanical form factor than the one defined for the desktop. CompactPCI is an open standard supported by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer's Group (PICMG). CompactPCI is best suited for small, high-speed industrial computing applications where transfers occur between a number of high-speed cards.
It is a high-performance industrial bus that uses the Eurocard form factor and is fully compatible with the Enterprise Computer Telephony Forum(ECTF) computer telephony (CT) Bus™ H.110 standard specification. CompactPCI products make it possible for original equipment manufacturers (OEM), integrators, and resellers to build powerful and cost-effective solutions for telco networks, while using fewer development resources. CompactPCI products let developers scale their applications to the size, performance, maintenance, and reliability demands of telco environments by supporting the CT Bus, hot swap, administrative tools such as simple network management protocol (SNMP), and extensive system diagnostics. The move toward open, standards-based systems has revolutionized the computer telephony (CT) industry.
There are a number of reasons for these changes. Open systems have benefited from improvements in personal computer (PC) hardware and software, as well as from advances in digital signal processing (DSP) technology. As a result, flexible, high performance systems are scalable to thousands of ports while remaining cost effective for use in telco networks. In addition, fault-tolerant chassis, distributed software architecture, and N+1 redundancy have succeeded in meeting the demanding reliability requirements of network operators.
One of the remaining hurdles facing open CT systems is serviceability. CT systems used in public networks must be extremely reliable and easy to repair without system downtime. In addition, network operation requires first-rate administrative and diagnostic capabilities to keep services up and running.
The Compact PCI Standard
The Peripheral Component Interconnect Industrial Computer Manufacturer's Group (PICMG) developed the compact peripheral component interconnect (CompactPCI) specification in 1994. CompactPCI is a high-performance industrial bus based on the peripheral component interconnect (PCI) electrical standard. It uses the Eurocard form factor first popularized by VersaModule-Eurocard (VME). Compared to the standard PCI desktop computer, CompactPCI supports twice as many PCI slots (eight) on a single system bus. In addition, CompactPCI boards are inserted from the front of the chassis and can route input/output (I/O) through the backplane to the back of the chassis. These design considerations make CompactPCI ideal for telco environments.
CompactPCI offers a substantial number of benefits for developers interested in building telco-grade applications. CompactPCI systems offer the durability and maintainability required for network applications. At the same time, they can be built using standard, off-the-shelf components and can run almost any operating system and thousands of existing software applications without modification. Other advantages of CompactPCI are related to its Eurocard form factor, durable and rugged design, hot swap capability, and compatibility with the CT Bus.