Unified Communication Framework

Dominic Gaisbauer, Yunpeng Bai, Stefan Huber, Igor Konorov, Dymitro Levit, Stephan Paul, Dominik Steffen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The unified communication framework (UCF) is a unified network protocol and field programmable gate array core for high-speed serial interfaces employed in data acquisition systems. It provides up to 64 different communication channels via a single serial link. One channel is reserved for timing and trigger information, whereas the other channels can be used for slow control interfaces and data transmission. All channels except the timing are bidirectional and share network bandwidth according to assigned priority. The timing channel distributes messages with fixed and deterministic latency in one direction. In this regard, the protocol implementation is asymmetric. The precision of the timing channel is given by the jitter of the recovered clock and is typically in the order of 10-20 ps rms. The timing channel has highest priority and a slow control interface should use the second highest priority channel in order to avoid long delays due to high traffic on other channels. The framework supports point-to-point connections and starlike 1:n topologies for optical networks with a passive splitter. It always employs one of the connection parties as a master and the others as slaves. The starlike topology can be used for front ends with low data rates or pure time distribution systems. In this case, the master broadcasts information according to assigned priority, whereas the slaves communicate in a time sharing manner to the master. In the open systems interconnection layer model, the UCF can be classified as layers one to three, which includes the physical, the data, and the network layer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8014405
Pages (from-to)2761-2764
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Data Acquisition
  • field programmable gate array
  • fixed latency transmission
  • optical transmitters
  • slow control
  • transport protocols


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