The lines of vendors formed behind the Advanced TCA (Telecom Computing Architecture) specifications booth at the 2003 Bus and Board Show in Long Beach, Calif., replete with chassis and demonstration boards. These vendors are poised to deliver standards-based solutions when the communications industry comes out of its doldrums. There was even growing optimism that "The Nuclear Winter of Telecom" may soon be over.
Jerry Krasner of Embedded Market Forecasters (www.embedded-forecast.com) reminded attendees that carriers are reluctant to increase spending on older packet switching and Sonet technologies and that growth in wireless connectivity will require new hardware to extend existing infrastructures.
Advanced TCA is a collection of specifications for a blade server architecture that covers a range of backplane interconnects. The PICMG 3.0 standard starts with Ethernet. PICMG 3.1 through 3.4 define switch-fabric interconnects for Ethernet, Star Fabric, InfiniBand, and PCI Express Advanced Switching. This plethora of choices explains why there's such a vast following behind Advanced TCA. Its advantage is a common physical specification that lets designers mix and match the interconnect technologies particular systems require.