Hardware Platform Management has been an integral part of ATCA since the beginning, and it was originally specified to use 32 bit IP addresses according to the IPv4 protocol. IPv4 supports 4 billion distinct IP addresses and in the emerging world of Internet of Everything and billions of interconnected devices, this is not enough. IPv6 uses 128 bit addresses, so more than 3.4 times ten-to-the-thirty-eighth power devices can be directly addressed. This new feature has been ratified and will be released in a few weeks as an Engineering Change Notice (ECN) to the current revision of ATCA PICMG 3.0R3). A similar ECN for PICMG 3.7, ATCA Extensions, will follow shortly.
Engineering Change Notices are a method PICMG uses to make permanent, binding changes to a specification without releasing a new revision. Once released, they become part of an existing specification. The IPv6 feature is completely optional and does not affect backwards compatibility in any way. All existing compliant ATCA systems will remain so. New systems can choose to implement this feature or not.