The AdvancedTCA initiative

AdvancedTCA (or ATCA) is an industry initiative to create a new board and chassis form factor specification optimized for communications. ATCA is being developed within the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) and is designed to meet the requirements of next generation communication

applications that cannot be served by existing solutions such as CompactPCI or proprietary solutions.

About AdvancedTCA

Over 100 companies are part of the ATCA effort. Participants include telecommunications equipment manufacturers, computer OEMs, Intel Applied Computing Platform Providers, and other third party hardware and software vendors. The PICMG organization supports an overall membership of 800+ companies.

Goal of the ATCA Initiative

The principle objective of ATCA is to provide standardized platform architecture for carrier-grade telecommunication applications, with support for carrier-grade features such as NEBS and 99.999 per cent availability. Ultimately, this architecture will benefit developers by enabling more choice and interoperability of components at multiple levels of the solution stack.

Scalable Backplane Environment

AdvancedTCA is focused on the needs of next-generation communications equipment. The architecture is optimized around connectivity requirements of signaling and media gateways, while also providing headroom for higher performance computing elements.ATCA offers a scalable backplane environment that supports:

  • A variety of standard and proprietary fabric interfaces;
  • Robust system management; and
  • Superior power and cooling capabilities.

Complementary to Existing Solutions

AdvancedTCA will complement existing solutions, such as CompactPCI, by providing a higher level of performance and scalability. Existing proprietary solutions are migrating to ATCA to benefit from the standardization and availability of off-the-shelf building block solutions. Standard fabric interfaces such as Ethernet and InfiniBand are supported in the architecture. A variety of proprietary fabrics are also accommodated. The backplane architecture will support both star and full- mesh connectivity between boards in the system, and system management is built on IPMI 1.5 via IPMB interfaces. Front and rear cabling practice is supported for standard 600mm cabinet practice prevalent in Central Office facilities. Each ATCA board may support up to 200W in a single slot, and power is supplied to each board via redundant -48VDC feeds.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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