Monthly Archives: January 2014

MicroTCA’s Advances Expand Across Multiple Markets

MicroTCA family


Most of you are probably aware that MicroTCA is used in a wide range of Communications-based applications for leading-edge solutions.  The high-performance robust architecture continues to steamroll into new Mil/Aero designs and has become the architecture of choice for High Energy Physics.   There have been several technology advances that make this compact and powerful form factor even more attractive.  The specification is in draft for 40GbE across the backplane (currently 10GbE) and PCIe Gen 3 products are becoming more common.  New 100G line cards (out the front panel) have been introduced.  For Rugged applications, MTCA.2 and MTCA.3 are released for hybrid air/conduction and conduction-cooled designs respectively.   For Physics applications, a wealth of ADC and DAC converters have entered the market along with chassis, RTMs, specialty boards, and more.  Other applications requiring rear I/O could potentially benefit from some of these new developments.

With MIL rugged options, inherent shelf management, and interoperable multi-fabric versatility, the MicroTCA architecture continues to expand its presence in several markets.

By Justin Moll, Vadatech

Thoughts on PICMG turning 20


It is a bit surprising to me to realize that this year PICMG has been operating for 20 years. It has been a lot of fun and I expect that to continue. PICMG has been successful because of the extremely diverse and deep technical skills of its members. It is a fairly “flat” organization that is not controlled by a few high members paying high dues, and that structure has proven to be a good one. We’ve done some truly innovative work, including creating the first open serial fabric architecture, PICMG 2.16. The development of sophisticated platform management, originally done for AdvancedTCA, is now being incorporated into different standards in other organizations. I hope it becomes the norm for any embedded computing standard in the future that calls itself robust.

We’ve got more work to do, including making ATCA better and faster, and developing a complementary high performance platform – dubbed GEN4 – that acknowledges the convergence of telecom central office and data center functions. The High Energy Physics community had embraced TCA and MicroTCA and it is being installed in labs all over the world. CompactPCI Serial, while not very well understood in the beginning, is turning heads and shows how a popular platform can be significantly upgraded without losing its original DNA. Quite a number of PICMG platforms are now being used in mil/aero applications, as vendor independence, lower costs and quicker time-to-market become necessary.

If you are a PICMG member, I want to thank you for your hard work and significant contributions to furthering the goal of open standards for embedded computing. If you are not a member, look around this web site and see of joining us might be right for your organization.

By Joe Pavlat