MicroTCA® Overview

microtcaMicroTCA® is a modular, open standard for building high microtca1-348x232performance switched fabric computer systems in a small form factor. At its core are standard Advanced Mezzanine Cards (AMC’s – described here: AdvancedMC) which provide processing and I/O functions. Hundreds of different AMC’s are commercially available. MicroTCA systems are both physically smaller and less expensive than AdvancedTCA systems, although their internal architectures are largely the same. MicroTCA was originally intended for smaller telecom systems at the edge of the network but has moved into many non-telecom applications, with standardized, ruggedized versions becoming popular in mobile, military, telemetry, data acquisition, and avionics applications. These versions are described below.

The core specification, MTCA.0, defines the basic system, including backplane, card cage, cooling, power, and management. A variety of different sized AMC modules are supported, allowing the system designer to use as much or as little computing and I/O as necessary. Subsidiary specifications (MTCA.1, MTCA.2, MTCA.3 and MTCA.4) define more ruggedized versions specifically suited for mil/aero and other demanding physical environments. These designs have been verified through thorough rigorous environmental testing and the test reports are available.

Because of its modularity and flexibility, the MicroTCA standards are well-suited for a wide range of applications, including industrial control and automation, test & measurement, mobile and fixed mil/aero, avionics, traffic control and transportation, and telecom.

Short Form Specification

Key Benefits and Features

  • Provides computer architecture consistent with Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) principles for reduced life cycle costs
  • Defines fully redundant and non-redundant system configurations including power budgeting and hot-swap
  • Defines complete component and system management that allow failure detection and isolation (enhanced hardware platform management).

Family of Specifications

MicroTCA Enhancements for Rear I/O and Precision Timing (MTCA.4)
PICMG# Name Current Revision Date Description
PICMG MTCA.4

MicroTCA Enhancements for Rear I/O and Precision Timing (MTCA.4)

Hardened Conduction Cooled MicroTCA (MTCA.3)
PICMG# Name Current Revision Date Description
PICMG MTCA.3

Hardened Conduction Cooled MicroTCA (MTCA.3)

Hardened Air Cooled MicroTCA (MTCA.2)
PICMG# Name Current Revision Date Description
PICMG MTCA.2

Hardened Air Cooled MicroTCA (MTCA.2)

Air Cooled Rugged MicroTCA (MTCA.1)
PICMG# Name Current Revision Date Description
PICMG MTCA.1

Air Cooled Rugged MicroTCA (MTCA.1)

MicroTCA (MTCA.0)
PICMG# Name Current Revision Date Description
PICMG MTCA.0

MicroTCA (MTCA.0)

MicroTCA Standard Process Model Design Guide
PICMG# Name Current Revision Date Description
MTCA_DG.3

MicroTCA Standard Process Model Design Guide

MicroTCA Standard Device Model Design Guide
PICMG# Name Current Revision Date Description
MTCA_DG.2

MicroTCA Standard Device Model Design Guide

MicroTCA PCI Express Hot Plug Design Guide
PICMG# Name Current Revision Date Description
MTCA_DG.0

MicroTCA PCI Express Hot Plug Design Guide

MicroTCA Standard Hardware API Design Guide
PICMG# Name Current Revision Date Description
MTCA_DG.1

MicroTCA Standard Hardware API Design Guide

Target Applications

  • Industrial control
  • Mil/Aero/Avionics
  • Automation
  • Medical
  • Communication
  • Transportation
  • High-Energy & Nuclear Physics
  • Test and Measurement
  • Telemetry

System Requirements

A basic system consists of a backplane, enclosure, power supply, fabric switch board, management software, and one-to-many AMC processing and I/O modules. Full redundancy is supported with automatic switching in the event of individual module failure.