<p>Sweeping transformation </p>

As part of the agreement, Alcatel has granted Qualcomm a royalty-free, worldwide license under Alcatel's patent portfolio to develop, manufacture and sell semiconductor components for incorporation into wireless CDMA and multimode CDMA equipment.

The IPMI functionality allows the computing system to monitor and begin to take action. If a fault of some type has caused a card to fail, for example, the IPMI can be used to send a restart command to the card. If this fails, IMPI will allow power cycling the card. As the card begins to start up, more sophisticated control, such as application restart, will be handled through the operating system, such as the Advanced High Availability (AHA) Linux offering.

As the card start-up process continues, information needed to initialize cards and applications can be routed through an Ethernet interface. If this process is successful, the card has been restored to operation without restarting the entire platform. If the card continues to cause trouble, it can be shut down, and maintenance personnel can be alerted. Alarm indication may be either a visual indication by means of the alarm display panel or via system management software to a remote monitoring station.

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What does that mean to me?IPMI allows an open standards approach to system management meaning that boards from different vendors may be integrated into systems and managed in a seamless and efficient way. This open approach gives a number of distinct advantages to the system engineer including flexible and interoperable access to platform information.

Since IPMI v1.0 was released in 1998 well over 70 companies have adopted the IPMI approach to system management across various platforms including CompactPCI. This uptake is reflected in newer CompactPCI chassis and board level equipment, which are building in support for PICMG2.9 based around the IPMI v1.5 specification. The result to the IT operative or system engineer is that more system information on the platforms condition is available; this enables robust monitoring and proactive fault detection to take place which in turn equates to increased system reliability.

The specification allows several ways to physically implement IPMI. The simplest is to run a single bus to each slot. However, a failure along any part of the bus could inhibit control of potentially all of the cards in the chassis. To eliminate single points of failure, the messaging paths in the chassis need to provide redundancy.

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One way to accomplish this is to have a dual bus architecture. In this sort of architecture, messages are simultaneously passed on each bus. Dual bus segments provide path redundancy, but designers must insure that there are no common failure points on any attached devices that would cause loss of both bus segments due to a single failure.

An alternative physical implementation for high reliability uses a star architecture, where the IPMI bus consists of separate multiple lines running to each slot. The star architecture insures that any card level failure, or any failure within a specific bus segment, will only impact the operation of a single card. To insure the entire control path is resilient for failovers, a redundant management card or alarm card is required.

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All of these IPMI architectural approaches are covered in the current PICMG 2.9 specification. In addition, current PICMG committee discussions will lead to enhancements that will support the PICMG 2.x class of platforms and include the capabilities needed to address next-generation PICMG 3.0 platforms. This will the allow IPMI physical and software implementations to cover a wide range of current platforms, and to have the extensibility to grow into much larger platforms in the future.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Nvidia Corp. has upgraded its integrated PC graphics chip set for Advanced Micro Devices' processors, expanding its drive to gain share from competitors such as Via Technologies in Taiwan. Analysts say the new chip set, which brings support for the 8x Accelerated Graphics Port and USB 2.0, will help the graphics-chip maker find growth in an otherwise flat PC market.

Microsoft's successes stand in stark contrast to recent news from the telematics market. Wingcast folded a month ago after Ford Motor Co. declined to continue funding the 20-month-old telematics venture. A recently published study issued by The Hansen Report on Automotive Electronics projected that the market for such systems may still be as much as eight years away. Moreover, General Motors' OnStar Division is said to be struggling and Cadillac shelved its Cadillac Infotainment system a year ago.

We're not concerned about the future of the telematics market,” Lansinger said. We know it's going to be important to connect vehicles to the Internet, not only so that consumers can get information, but also so that automotive manufacturers can connect to vehicles. Everyone expects connectivity to the Internet to be fundamental, but first we're going to go through a period where some players in this market will be weeded out.”

Industry analysts said that Microsoft's announcements meant little in the larger scheme of the telematics business. It's interesting, but it doesn't mean that Microsoft is capturing the vehicle,” said Paul Hansen, publisher of The Hansen Report on Automotive Electronics. At this point, Windows CE for Automotive is still thought of as an interim solution. A lot of people are saying that they are definitely interested in Java, and they feel that CE is a temporary measure.”

Microsoft declined to estimate how many vehicles would use Windows CE as a result of its recent design wins. Company executives said that the telematics systems would be offered as options in most of the vehicles, making it impossible to accurately forecast sales numbers.

Microsoft's list is notable, however, for its lack of any North American automakers. Neither General Motors, with its industry-leading OnStar Division, nor Ford employ Windows CE for automotive use.


On the strength of new FPGA products such as Stratix and APEX-II, Altera Corp. today reported modest revenue and net income increases in the second quarter compared to the first quarter.

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