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Intel: Moving Ahead With ATCA

By Greg Galitzine


At the end of September, Intel (News - Alert) is planning to formally release its new Intel NetStructure� Multimedia Platform. Currently in beta trials, the platform is being billed as an all-in-one multimedia server on a blade. The platform, which is intended to support developers building next-generation IP Multimedia Subsystem (News - Alert) (IMS) applications, is designed to support up to 500 universal ports (with transcoding) and to handle multimedia processing, including voice, video, conferencing, and fax for wireless and wireline networks over both TDM and IP interfaces.

Built upon industry-standard carrier-grade Advanced TCA (ATCA) hardware, the new offering is designed to enable developers to build next-generation multimedia processing applications while reducing footprint and lowering costs associated with inventory and upgrades. (For more on ATCA, please see the sidebar entitled ATCA: An Evolution in Open Standards.)

According to Jim Machi, Senior Director of Product Management and Marketing at Intel, �ATCA is ideal for our new high-density, IP-enabled, multimedia products.�

The runtime software is based on the Intel NetStructure Host Media Processing (HMP) software running on two dual-core processors. The solution also features a specialized hardware offload module, which further improves processing capacity and reduces costs.

Intel�s NetStructure MPCBL0040 Single Board Computer acts as a baseboard for this product. It includes two Dual-Core Intel processors (LV 2.0 GHz) featuring multi-core technology designed to boost multitasking computing power. Most media processing tasks are performed on Media Processing Software that runs on the baseboard, allowing the use of all the advanced media processing features provided by the software, including video support.

The TDM interface is supported via the Rear I/O Transition module (RTM), which also features two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces.

For IP connectivity, customers have a choice of using the ATCA base interface for signaling and file I/O and fabric interface for media streaming, or Gigabit Ethernet interface on an RTM to connect the blade directly to an Ethernet switch outside the ATCA chassis.

Machi told Internet Telephony, �The Intel NetStructure Multimedia Platform will provide a cost effective, powerful solution for the 3G wireless, IMS, and SIP Media server environments with features like a local/remote APIs, IP/TDM networks, signaling interfaces, enhanced video processing, and video conferencing.�

The AdvancedMC (News - Alert) mezzanine card is used for transcoding offload, which is designed to increase HMP performance when audio low bit-rate coders are required at high-density levels.

According to Machi, �The new offering combines our industry-leading host media processing (HMP) with Intel�s latest dual core processors, while off-loading some processing intensive functions to a DSP based AMC module to provide the best overall price/performance.�

The product supports an industry- standard remote media control interface � the Media Sessions Markup Language (MSML), also supported by a number of media server and application server vendors. This interface enables developers to rapidly create new services running on remote application servers in the distributed environment.

It should be noted that this new solution supports the same APIs as Intel�s NetStructure HMP Software. This means that HMP can be used for developing lower density applications, reducing development costs. Because the different solutions support the same APIs, applications will be compatible across a broader range of development platforms, promoting application portability.

Another major advantage of this product is its open architecture with a �local host� that customers can use to install and run their applications or middleware. This enables developers to use application deployment models and media control protocols of their choice.

By standardizing on mainstream hardware platforms such as ATCA, developers can focus on creating applications that will serve their customers. These days, video and mobility are key applications that are demanding more resources than ever before. The new Intel NetStructure Multimedia Platform is designed to enable developers to create applications and services that will be able to take advantage of the increased media processing power offered by the solution. IT

Greg Galitzine is Group Editorial Director for TMC�s IP Communications group of publications, including Internet Telephony, IMS and SIP magazines.

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