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MicroTCA minions connect in Munich

Oct 31, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

A new, smaller telecom board standard from PICMG appears to be gaining momentum in Europe. About 30 vendors will gather in Munich, Germany on Nov. 20th for a conference devoted especially to MicroTCA systems and their AdvancedMC expansion boards.

In addition to a vendor expo, the MicroTCA Konferenz will feature four keynote paper presentations, six technical workshops (with limited seating), and a total of 18 MicroTCA vendors presenting products, strategies and roadmaps. Sponsors include Advantech, Kontron, Motorola, Schroff, and Carrier Grade Linux provider Wind River.

MicroTCA (MTCA) is a smaller, lower-cost version of AdvancedTCA (advanced telecom computing architecture, or ATCA). MicroTCA's affordability and compact footprint make it suitable for cell towers and field offices, as well as central office equipment, according to PICMG, the industry group that maintains both MTCA and ATCA.

Early MicroTCA systems from GE Fanuc (left) and Motorola (right)
(Click either image for details)

Both MTCA and ATCA define standardized, open architectures for affordable telecommunication hardware based on modular, off-the-shelf components available from multiple vendors. And, both tend to be used with Linux, since Linux is also an open standard delivered off-the-shelf and targeted at telecom applications by multiple vendors, including Red Hat, MontaVista, Asianux, and Wind River, most of whom provide Carrier Grade Linux distributions.

A related specification is AdvancedMC (AMC), which defines standards for processor modules that can be used as daughterboards on AdvancedTCA blades, or plugged directly into backplanes on MicroTCA systems.

According to an ABI Research study, about a quarter of all UMTS (universal mobile telecom system) shipments are expected to be based on AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA by 2010. ABI expects MicroTCA in particular to play a key role in increasing the penetration of telecom infrastructure based on PICMG standards.

The MicroTCA Konferenz will be held on November 20th in the Kempinski Hotel at Munich Airport. It costs 119 Euros (roughly $172) to attend. Additional details, including registration materials, can be found here.

In related news, Wind River recently announced a Carrier Grade Linux roadshow.

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