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What is the Multi-System Expansion Link (MuSE)?

  • OPAL-RT Multi-System Expansion link (MuSE) is a fully integrated feature of OPAL-RT software and FPGA solutions that facilitate the management of numerous I/Os.
  • The MuSE link expands the I/O capability of a real-time simulator (Central configuration) by enabling its connection to one or multiple FPGA-based I/O expansion units (Remote configuration).
  • Based on standard multimode optical fibers and small form-factor pluggable (SFP) 5 Gbps transceivers, this innovative feature allows you to manage up to 4096 I/O channels from your simulation.

The MuSE link is the solution when:

  • Devices under test are scattered over a large space and at a distance from the simulator,
  • The number of I/O channels needed is larger than what the typical simulator would allow via PCIe connections.

Restrictions to using MuSE with OPAL-RT board software architecture may apply depending on your application and software configuration.
Contact your sales representative or field application engineer to verify compatibility.

Key concepts

In this configuration, the simulator, an OP4610XG for example, is used as a standalone unit.
MuSE is not used: there are no SFP links to any remote simulators.

A simulator is considered to be central when it is connected to one or many I/O expansion units to expand its I/O capability by means of SFP connectors.
In the example below, two I/O expansion units (OP5705-IO and OP4520) are connected to a central simulator (OP5705XG) via MuSE links.

The number of I/O expansion units is limited only by the number of available SFP ports on the simulator, typically 4 or 16 depending on the model.
In the example below, there are 16 SFP ports available on the central simulator, so it can connect up to 16 I/O expansion units.

A simulator is considered a remote when it is programmed with a MuSE remote bitstream, and connected to a MuSE central simulator.
This criteria can apply to any chassis whether or not it contains a CPU.
For example, an OP4610XG is used as the central simulator and is connected with a MuSE Link to an OP5705XG remote simulator.

  • In this configuration:
    • The central can only make use of the FPGA and I/Os of the remote simulator
    • The central cannot use the CPU and third-party I/Os of the remote simulator

Configuring MuSE

  • The network of I/O expansion units is easily set up using the existing SFP ports of the simulator, standard multimode optical fibers, and small form-factor pluggable (SFP) transceivers, and does not require additional PCIe interconnection.
    • As an example, the image below shows the 4 SFP  ports available on a OP4610XG simulator.

  • The configuration of the FPGA for the MuSE link does not require advanced knowledge of high-speed communication programming :
    • The MuSE link capability is automatically integrated into the FPGA programming file during its generation with OPAL-RT’s RT-XSG tool after the user has selected the Architecture type (Central or Remote) option.
    • Existing I/O expansion units can be upgraded to support the new link simply by updating the FPGA programming.

Configuration and management of remote I/Os is done via the RT-LAB or HYPERSIM GUI.

  • Detection and initialization of the systems connected to the central unit are handled automatically at model load time.
  • Remote programming of the FPGA bitstreams of the I/O expansion unit is supported.
  • Central units programmed with a MuSE link compatible bitstream can run legacy models using Simulink I/O blocks when there are no remote units connected.
  • The real-time synchronization signal is propagated to all I/O expansion units. Early versions of the link require the legacy daisy-chain plastic optical fiber or copper cable (up to RT-LAB 11.3.4 and HYPERSIM 6.2.2).


RT-XSG Legacy Generic Aurora blockset and the MuSE link can coexist in the same system

  • Simulators can connect simultaneously to I/O expansion units via MuSE links and to third-party devices via the Generic Aurora link.
  • I/O expansion units can connect simultaneously to a simulator via MuSE links and to third-party devices via the Generic Aurora link.
  • Upgrading existing systems to make them compatible with the MuSE link only requires regenerating the bitstream.

Simulators and I/O Expansion Units MuSE Capabilities

ModelPhysical MuSE Links availableSupported configurations

* The simulator can be connected to I/O expansion units in Central configuration if the simulator is equipped with an optional PCIe SFP expansion card.

If your unit is not in this list, please contact your local representative, or OPAL-RT Technical Support team to figure out your available options.

Note: A remote will only use one SFP port for the MuSE link.
Other free SFP ports on the I/O expansion unit can be used as regular I/Os and are accessible to the central simulator.

ModelPhysical MuSE Links availableSupported configurations

Link Specifications

Communication protocol

Aurora 8b10b

Link Speed

5 Gbps

SFP transceivers

Avago AFBR-57R5APZ 850 nm

Optical fiber

Duplex Multi-Mode 50/125μm or 62/125μm, LC-LC

Cable length

Up to 150 m, depending on fiber type

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