AMC Insider September 2006

GE Fanuc Embedded Systems - AdvancedMC Insider GE Fanuc Embedded Systems
Volume 1, Number 8 - quarterly september 2006

Our New Newsletter

EPMC-1553GE Fanuc Embedded, Condor Engineering and SBS Technologies have recently been brought together to form a single entity known as GE Fanuc Embedded Systems. This newsletter is one of the first visible results of our merger, and we’re sending it to you because of your association with one of the three original companies.
Whether your primary association is with GE Fanuc, Condor or SBS, our goal is to keep you up to date on the products of our new merged company. In the next weeks and months, you can also look for a new web site and a new catalog that will bring our combined product offerings together in one place.
In line with the GE corporate identity, we have designed a clean and approachable format to make it easy for you to find relevant information. GE has made a major commitment to the embedded market place, and we hope our new design reflects this exciting new company.

The integration of GE Fanuc, Condor and SBS is a major step toward our vision of creating a different and better kind of embedded company—a company with strong global infrastructure, manufacturing leadership, and commitment to Six Sigma quality. A company that can offer you the stability, resources, and strength you’ve expected from us in the past, plus the advantages of being part of GE, one of the most respected companies in the world.

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Modular Hardware for NGN

By Howard Glassman – Director of Business Development
Communications - Target Markets

AdvancedTCA has generated considerable interest as a highly scalable IP data-centric option for IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), 3G Mobile Wireless and IPTV platforms. A blade-centric architecture like AdvancedTCA gives vendors the benefits of a modular infrastructure with forward scalability and future-proofing.

In addition, many Network Equipment Providers (NEPs) have selected NGN IMS architectures for voice, data and video convergence. IMS is considered the foundation for a variety of new revenue generating applications because it provides an access agnostic common infrastructure for all SIP-based applications. Over the next decade, IMS architectures will be used in many global, carrier-grade networks which require enhanced media session security, granular traffic management and communication protocol interworking.

By combining AdvancedTCA with the IMS architecture, vendors can design application-specific systems that coordinate all converging session-layer traffic using a common set of building blocks: compute blades, storage blades, IP packet-processing services/security blades and LAN/WAN I/O communications blades. Each vendor can then integrate their own field-proven communications protocols, HA management software and application middleware suites to complete the system.

As an added benefit, many of the standard AdvancedTCA blades and AdvancedMC modules can be easily repurposed when designing multiple platforms, which offers considerable cost savings in OS driver development, management software, diagnostics and communications protocol software. Increased system design flexibility is provided since these blades/modules can easily be replaced/redeployed in order to meet current and emerging market trends.

By using this modular approach, vendors can even utilize common building blocks to meet highly divergent solution platform needs. For example, a vendor could use the same multi-gigabit network-processor AdvancedMC module to satisfy the following different dataplane traffic processing scenarios;

1) For intelligent session control or as a video content stream processing node for multi-cast traffic in an IP/TV-capable Video Services Switch.
2) For real-time IP application-aware control and secure call session management in an IMS-compliant CSCF Softswitch and/or Session Border Controller Gateway.
3) For secure GTP tunneled voice and IPSec-enabled multimedia session management in a Convergent 3G Wireless or Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC) Gateway.

These real-world examples highlight some of the cost and design advantages of modular communications building blocks. Another key benefit is forward scalability; designers can bring forward core modules on their current platform and choose to only redesign specific modules for increased performance and scalability. That’s why many NEPs are actively adopting this approach as the wave of the future.

The recent ratification of MicroTCA provides yet another cost-effective platform for building NGN infrastructure solutions.

For example, with the impending introduction by major suppliers of dual-mode mobile handsets (GSM/UMTS & WiFi), many vendors will need to introduce UMA-compliant Mobile Gateways that can provide secure WiFi on-ramps for VoIP and Data traffic destined for the cellular network infrastructure. In addition, WiMax (WiFi’s new high-bandwidth, long-range cousin) offers multi-megabit bandwidth services for voice services and upcoming mobile/fixed video broadcast applications. The MicroTCA architecture offers a cost-effective base platform for designing these NGN broadband wireline and wireless access systems.

Another rapidly evolving new area of opportunity is IPTV. IPTV offers the delivery of broadcast quality video over an IP-centric network infrastructure for residential and business applications. NGN IPTV switches will need to be designed to support efficient Layer 3 protocol independent multicast traffic to optimize bandwidth usage, and eventually scale to tens (or even hundreds) of millions of subscribers.

Architects building these systems will require modular communication building blocks that provide multi-gigabit IP packet processing and deep packet inspection capabilities for analyzing, directing and managing media content traffic. This is just another example where modular communications building blacks are ideally suited to the task. Furthermore, when the communications software needs to be upgraded, these cost-effective modules can be repurposed for future equipment designs.

As the modular hardware ecosystem continues to grow, system designers who choose modular building blocks for IMS, 3G Wireless and IPTV infrastructure solutions will be well-positioned at the vanguard of a new approach to designing highly-scalable, carrier-grade systems. In conclusion, this new open standards approach can offer significant cost savings and time-to-market benefits including; a diverse portfolio of hardware choices, system design flexibility, ease of technology upgrade, forward scalability and cross-platform utilization.

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The Race to Deploy WiMAX is Now a Sprint

By Rubin Dhillon

When cellular giant Sprint announced its intention to deploy mobile WiMAX I was just plain thrilled because I had been hoping for exactly this sort of announcement from a major provider. I also felt vindicated, because I’ve been pushing WiMAX technology for a long time. Now it’s up to us at the board level, GE Fanuc Embedded Systems and the rest if the ecosystem, to meet the demand for hardware. It won’t be easy, but it sure will be fun.

We’ve already created a lot of the essential modular components required for a deployment like the one Sprint announced, and we have a ton of new product in the pipeline. Our range of AdvancedMCTM cards is unmatched in the industry, as far as we can tell. And with the recent ratification of the MicroTCATM specification, these cards will be even more useful in the context of WiMAX networks. MicroTCA is probably the perfect form factor for WiMAX, and in MicroTCA systems, AdvancedMC cards are the mini-blades.

“Cellular” IP broadband networking is familiar turf for GE Fanuc Embedded Systems. Although they’ve since been acquired by Qualcoomm, we provided cards for Flarion’s OFDM product known as the RadioRouter® Base Station. That means we have some extremely valuable experience supporting TEMs who are dealing with the multiple restrictions imposed by cellular edge applications. (And once again, can I just say, MicroTCA may be the perfect match for these applications.)

It’s particularly interesting to me to note that Sprint intends to use its new WiMAX network for broadband service delivery and for backhaul of its existing network traffic. Again, this is an application that we’ve been proposing for WiMAX for some time. Why pay for a T1 backhaul line if you can go wireless, after all? In the past, we were talking about fixed WiMAX, but I don’t see what difference it would make to use mobile WiMAX. If anything it will be more efficient.

Precise network synchronization is critical to the success of a wireless backhaul scheme. In order to generate extremely precise network clocks, even at node with no physical connection to the network, we produced a GPS-based AdvancedMCTM card. With the timing accuracy available from this GPS clock module, it becomes painless to cut the wired connection to the backhaul network.

Big changes are coming when Sprint launches WiMAX. Everybody knows how the telegraph put the Pony Express out of business literally overnight. I know this isn’t quite as dramatic, but the reality is that WiMAX can deliver multi-megabit speeds anywhere anytime, just like the cell phone. The minute consumers understand that simple fact, all the rules will change. In my small way, I will have helped make that happen, which is exactly why I love my jjob.

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Free White Paper Compares MicroTCA to 3U cPCI

The recent ratification of the MicroTCATM specification will create an interesting dilemma for designers of embedded industrial systems. MicroTCA was originally conceived and designed for the telecom industry, but it has attracted increasing interest from designers in other embedded sectors. Although the two technologies share a fairly similar card size and shape, they have very little else in common. This paper, entitled “Can MicroTCATM replace 3U cPCI for Industrial Application?” provides useful guidelines for determining which types of applications may best suited to each technology.

(Download White Paper)


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EDITOR: Anne-Marie Charest
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