Telecom architecture to be defined

Force Computers and a group of communications platform and component providers have announced an initiative called Compact Telecommunications Computing Architecture, or ‘CompactTCA.’

Their objective is to define an embedded system platform specification, which combines several existing CompactPCI specifications from the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) into a single standard.

Sponsor companies for the CompactTCA initiative include Force Computers, Motorola Computer Group, Performance Technologies, Pigeon Point Systems, StarGen and ZNYX Networks. The group expects to propose CompactTCA as a formal PICMG activity in early Q1 2003.

The proposed CompactTCA architecture complements the group’s AdvancedTCA standard by featuring PICMG 2.16 packet switching as the primary interconnect, mandatory system management, and elimination of the PCI bus for data transfer. The group will propose several enhancements that maintain backward compatibility with existing CompactPCI/PICMG 2.16 products. Developers will choose CompactTCA or AdvancedTCA based on application requirements, and leverage common features to migrate applications between the two platform standards.

In addition, the CompactTCA specification will permit the use of optional auxiliary data interconnects compliant with PICMG 2.5, PICMG 2.17 and PICMG 2.20. Concurrent use of PICMG 2.15-compliant PMCs and PMC carriers will also be supported as an option.

‘With the similarities between CompactTCA and AdvancedTCA, the two system architectures in principal are software compatible, which allows designers to use either for future systems,’ said Chris Williams, vice president and general manager of Worldwide Strategic/Product Marketing and Engineering of Force Computers. ‘With CompactTCA focusing on Ethernet as the backplane communication instead of the PCI bus, provisioning of high availability systems is greatly facilitated with respect to hot-swap, signal integrity and corresponding software support.’

‘Backward compatibility to CompactPCI/PICMG 2.16 is key to the success of CompactTCA,’ said Jeff Rhodes, business manager of Motorola Computer Group. ‘The telecommunication industry has already adopted these standards and a wide variety of compatible products exist from multiple vendors.’

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