AdvancedTCA Interoperability Workshop Verifies High-Speed Backplane

9/11/2003 - Comprehensive signal integrity testing to verify high speed backplane design highlighted PICMG®'s fifth successful AdvancedTCATM (Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture) interoperability workshop, held during the first week of September.

This event, hosted by Intel in its Parsippany, N.J. facility, expanded on prior workshops to include backplane signal integrity tests, with PICMG member Agilent Technologies providing test equipment and expertise to run multiple AdvancedTCA backplanes through a series of signal integrity tests at frequencies up to 5GHz.

PICMG's series of AdvancedTCA Interoperability Workshops have been testing the multi-vendor interoperability of new products designed to the AdvancedTCA base specification. These workshops have enabled companies to test everything from mechanical tolerances and slot cooling to shelf management and electronic keying.

In the AdvancedTCA workshop environment, specification details are tested, debated and resolved through a process of hands-on cooperative system testing by architects, engineers and designers from many OEMs in a protected and confidential environment. Participation is limited to those PICMG members with equipment to test. The workshops have been successful in identifying corrections and refinements that will be incorporated in the next revision of the specification.

This workshop attracted 19 participating companies, the largest so far and an increase from the 15 members who attended the Las Vegas AIW in May. Participants included Agilent Technologies; ASIS Ltd.; Bustronic Corporation; Carlo Gavazzi Mupac; Comtel Electronics GmbH; Diversified Technology; Elma Electronics; Force Computers; GNP; Intel Corporation; Motorola Computer Group; NMS Communications; Pentair Schroff; PetaStream; Pigeon Point Systems; RadiSys Corporation; Kaparel, a division of Rittal Corporation; Tracewell Systems Inc. and ZNYX Networks, Inc.

"After five workshops, we have uncovered no major issues with the AdvancedTCA specification, and we are confident that it is solid. PICMG continues to deal with the minor issues flushed out in these workshops, while our members continue to develop compliant products," said Joe Pavlat, PICMG's President. "All of us in the industry are indebted to the specification's early adopters for their superb commitment in helping to prove out the AdvancedTCA spec."

"The signal integrity testing facilitated by Agilent provided essential empirical data that confirmed the validity of our AdvancedTCA backplane simulation models. This gives us full confidence in the performance of AdvancedTCA," said PICMG officer Michael Munroe.

"AdvancedTCA provides a high speed interconnect unmatched by any other standard," said David Wright of Comtel. "The signal integrity testing carried out at AIW5 by participating companies, with the help of Agilent Technologies, verified the high performance expectations of this interconnect. The confidence level, already high, was raised further by these results."

The AdvancedTCA specifications for next-generation telecommunications equipment are aimed at further expanding the market for off-the-shelf, modular platform solutions for carrier grade communications equipment. PICMG also expects to see interest in AdvancedTCA in other industries, such as data communications and military equipment.

Other specifications in the AdvancedTCA series cover the mapping of various high speed serial fabrics to the AdvancedTCA platform: PICMG 3.1 for Ethernet, PICMG 3.2 for InfiniBand, PICMG 3.3 for StarFabric and PICMG 3.4 for PCI ExpressTM. Additional specifications are in development.

Anyone with an interest in AdvancedTCA technology may subscribe to PICMG's AdvancedTCA reflector (or listserv) at no charge instructions on joining the list are on the Web at

Founded in 1994 as the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group, PICMG is a consortium of over 600 companies that collaboratively develops open specifications for high performance telecommunications and industrial computing applications. The members of the consortium have a long history of developing leading edge products for these industries. For more information on AdvancedTCA or to view a short form version of the 3.0 specification, visit

For information about PICMG membership, or to find out how to obtain PICMG specifications, visit the PICMG website at or call PICMG headquarters at (781) 246-9318.

PICMG and CompactPCI are registered trademarks of the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers' Group. AdvancedTCA is a trademark of the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers' Group. InfiniBand is a registered trademark of the InfiniBand Trade Association. PCI Express is a trademark of the PCI SIG. Intel is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation.

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