ATCA's at a Fork in the Road
Two groups have come up with their own proposed standard ways to interconnect processors, memory controllers, and other in-system devices for carrier-grade networking environments. The RapidIO Trade Association (RIO) and Advanced Switching Interconnect SIG (ASI SIG) are each aiming to handle the demands of multi-gigabit backplane applications that will push the limits of tomorrow's telecom systems.
The significance of ATCA, which is based on the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) 3.0 group of standards, can't be overstated. The standards push seeks to assure that telecom components will become more like PC parts in that they'll be commodity items. This will result in lower overall prices for telecom equipment, because previously proprietary components will be off-the-shelf. And it will result in lower operations expenses for carriers, because ATCA gear will interoperate with other devices from different manufacturers.
But there are several speed bumps on the road to one set of standards for all telecom gear -- and the latest appears to involve different interconnection techniques.
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— Gale Morrison, special to Light Reading