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PCIE Server NIC card Application

  • PCI-E NIC Cards provide redundant connectivity to ensure an uninterrupted network connection.

  • PCI-E NIC Cards are ideal for VM environments with multiple operating systems, requiring shared or dedicated NICs.

  • They are specially designed for desktop PC clients, servers, and workstations with few PCI Express slots available.


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Backplane Switching Control Plane between Smart Cards


Before, we mentioned “Backplane Switching” in the “Secondary or Niche PCIe Applications”, now, let’s intro the backplane switching control plane deeply.


The distributed processing model (see figure 1) has always been the architecture of choice for larger communications systems, such as edge and core nodes, and it is becoming increasingly common in access nodes. 


In this architecture, each card’s address domain remains separate so that the same software can be run on multiple instances of the same card type without changes.


The more complex data processing demands of edge and core nodes usually require that each line interface card perform most or all of the processing of its own data. Given the number and complexity of the devices present on each card, these cards usually feature their own housekeeping processor.

Figure 1 Distributed processing architecture

Figure 1 Distributed processing architecture


In many cases, these processors also handle any exception cases referred from the data path. 


The presence of these processors on most or all of the line interface cards changes the nature of control plane communications across the backplane. It is now based on an interprocessor communications model, which usually involves message passing and interrupts, rather than direct register access.


Within this model, the housekeeping processor on each card is responsible for management of all the devices local to that card (and any subtended I/O modules). It is also responsible for management of all messages exchanged between the processors and other housekeepers processors on other cards as well as for communication between the card and the main control processor in the system.

HBA Card

HBA Card


There are a number of approaches to this type of communication. One approach, which will not be discussed here, is to treat each card as an independent node in a network and communicate between cards using an address-independent networking protocol such as Ethernet. While workable, these approaches can add considerable unnecessary overhead within a chassis, such as network topology discovery.


Within the PCI family, interdomain communication can be facilitated by the use of a function that will isolate the topology and addressing scheme of the domain behind one of its ports from the details of domains behind its other ports. These functions are widely referred to as nontransparent bridges. 


This function can be implemented within an embedded processor or separately. When it is integrated with a processor, the resulting device is called an endpoint processor.


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