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Motorola pushes MicroTCA servers for mobile apps

Posted by inet - 2006-02-09

LONDON — Motorola is pushing to get communications servers based on the emerging MicroTCA specification accepted by equipment makers targeting both the wireless and wireline sectors.

The company's Embedded Communications Group Tuesday (Feb. 7) is launching its Centellis 1000 series, which it says will accelerate network deployment from the core to the edge, as well as to the access layer.

According to Paul Virgo, marketing director of Motorola ECG, the MicroTCA platform will become increasingly relevant to access layer applications, such as WiMAX access points, voice-over-Internet Protocol access gateways and cellular basestations, where reducing the capital cost of installing or extending next-generation network elements is critical.

The company will demonstrate proof-of-concept systems based on the server at the 3GSM World Congress, which will take place Feb. 13-16 in Barcelona, Spain. A Centellis 1000 server configured as a WiMAX base transceiver will demonstrate how an open carrier-grade base platform, integrated, validated and certified, can speed time-to-market and reduce costs.

Seen by some as the mezzanine-level equivalent of AdvancedTCA, and like the latter developed by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG), the MicroTCA technology is being designed to interconnect advanced mezzanine cards through a backplane.

“We expect the balloting phase on the proposed specification to finish soon, and that MicroTCA will become a standard by this May or early in the second quarter of the year”, Virgo told EE Times.

He added Motorola is fully committed to the architecture and that it expects MicroTCA "to mature even quicker in the industry than ATCA because of the smaller form factor.”

The company also announced a strategic alliance with Interphase Technologies whereby Interphase (Plano, Texas) will become the preferred supplier of I/O mezzanine cards for both ATCA and the MicroTCA platforms. Interphase will become a member of Motorola’s recently formed Communications Server Alliance, which includes companies such as Intel, MontaVista Software and Wind River.

Motorola is supporting both MontaVista Carrier Grade Linux and Wind River Platform for Network Edition Linux on the Centellis 1000.

“By providing early access to this technology for evaluation, we can help reduce time-to market for new, fast emerging applications and can speed the overall adoption and maximize the potential economies of scale of MicroTCA,” said Virgo.

The architecture similarities of ATCA and MicroTCA enable reuse of hardware and software, making application migration between the two platforms relatively easy.

Virgo said Motorola will support early adopters in the second half, subject to specification ratification, and will make the Centellis 1000 series generally available in the first quarter of 2007. Follow-on versions of the MicroTCA-based server will have different configurations and packaging.



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