SOA/Web Services

TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community


July 21, 2006

MicroTCA Becomes Official Standard

By Robert Liu, TMCnet Executive Editor

A consortium of the world’s largest industrial computer manufacturers has officially ratified a new hardware specification known as MicroTCA that potentially extends interoperability in the communications sector beyond the network’s core.
The PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG (News - Alert)), which is home to the AdvancedTCA (News - Alert) (ATCA) and CompactPCI (News - Alert) specs, will announce the new smaller form factor as early as Monday after 18 months of development from over 95 participating companies. The biggest advantage that MicroTCA has to offer is the fact that it uses the same Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) daughter cards that are used on ATCA boards, allowing for greater cost efficiencies.
“We see MicroTCA and ATCA being very complementary with a shared objective of allowing customers to build modular communications platforms from a building block approach,” said Tim Kober, Director of Strategic Platform Planning at Intel’s (News - Alert) Communications Infrastructure Group.
The smaller implementations of the MicroTCA form factor enable customers to make use of AMCs even if the larger, more expensive ATCA chassis is cost-prohibitive or prohibitive due to spatial constraints. The new spec was designed with all of the high availability and manageability features of its larger sister spec.
“There are a lot of new AMCs that are either at market or coming to market. Those who are trying to back the standards didn't want folks backing an alternative [design] standard or backing off purchases entirely,” explained Austin Hipes, Field Engineering Manager at Alliance Systems (News - Alert).
And because MicroTCA doesn’t require as large of a footprint as AdvancedTCA, it is ideally suited for access and edge applications in telecom networks and may well extend into other applications including medical, industrial control and military. For example, Alliance Systems is currently developing a base station designed on the MicroTCA form factor using a WiMAX radio network controller.
“The vast majority of the solutions that my [current] customers have deployed are based on proprietary technologies,” Hipes told To be sure, proprietary hardware deployments aren’t necessarily a bad thing as it still helps proliferate software standards. “Nothing standards-based existed for them at the time.”
The MicroTCA specification will be distributed free to PICMG members and is available for purchase by non-members.
Robert Liu is Executive Editor at TMCnet. Previously, he was Executive Editor at Jupitermedia and has also written for CNN, A&E, Dow Jones and Bloomberg. For more articles, please visit Robert Liu's columnist page.

Technology Marketing Corporation

2 Trap Falls Road Suite 106, Shelton, CT 06484 USA
Ph: +1-203-852-6800, 800-243-6002

General comments:
Comments about this site:


© 2020 Technology Marketing Corporation. All rights reserved | Privacy Policy