March 2009 - Communications Insider eNewsletter

arrow Open Systems Make Sense
arrow Switched Ethernet Networks
arrow Rugged MicroTCA.1 Nears Adoption
arrow WANic 56511 & 56512
arrow Ethernet Latency White Paper
Communications Insider
Now More Than Ever, Open Systems Make Sense

The same is true for core network hardware based on the open ATCA standard, thanks to AdvancedMC™s (Advanced Mezzanine Cards). These hot-swappable, field replaceable units are almost perfectly analogous to PCI cards—pull out the old and plug in the new and preserve your investment in the overall system.

The concept of a replaceable blade in a rack mounted chassis is well understood. But replacing an entire blade can be expensive, which makes the AdvancedMC even more attractive. Through careful design, it is possible to upgrade the blade without replacing it. AdvancedMC cards can be used to increase the flexibility of the system, and the cost savings can be significant.

One Example: Packet Processing.

Packet Processors are here to stay. Whether for use in encryption and security applications, network traffic management or sophisticated service delivery applications, the Packet Processor is an increasingly crucial part of every network system.

In fact, Packet Processors have become so important that they are constantly being upgraded and improved with newer, faster chips appearing at a rapid pace. This presents a dilemma for system designers who want to use the most current technology, but also need to get a system deployed at the best possible cost considering the current economic environment.

Fortunately, thanks to the modular nature of ATCA, it's possible to place AdvancedMC packet processors on ATCA blades. This approach adds the packet processor to your system now, and as your needs change or hardware improves over time, it gives you the flexibility to selectively and cost-effectively upgrade the modules. The same concept holds true for AdvancedMC CPU modules and many other system components.

Flexibility Gives You Cost Control.

In today's cost environment, flexibility has inherent value, and open standards provide flexibility. If you are in the midst of an ATCA system design or upgrade, and looking for ways to manage costs now and in the future, I encourage you to consider the potential of AdvancedMC cards. Please contact us. We have a wide range available and a great deal of experience helping customers integrate them into the latest telecom systems.

Rubin DhillonIn the current economic and financial environment, many companies have come to the conclusion that sales and income growth will be slowing or declining for the foreseeable future. Their response, painful though it may be, has been to cut costs.

For service providers of all shapes and sizes, this means reductions in Capex and Opex. Cuts in Capex budgets have already been announced at many companies, including major companies such as AT&T and Verizon.

Cutting Costs, Not Services.
In light of these cost pressures, engineers and system designers must find ways to wring more value out of every dollar, and open hardware and software standards are an excellent path to savings. In fact, I would suggest that it may be possible for communication Service Providers to actually reduce Capex without cutting back on their deployment of new hardware by turning to open standards.

This seeming contradiction is based on the fact that AdvancedTCA® (ATCA) the open, modular hardware ecosystem developed by PICMG® is now reaching full maturity. After years of diligent work, strong and well-respected vendors are offering proven, next generation ATCA hardware that is performing flawlessly in the field.

These systems are handling 10 Gigabit Ethernet traffic across the backplane today, and they are designed to accept even higher speeds. But more importantly, the hardware and Platform Management software are highly standardized and there are multiple vendors providing competitive, off-the-shelf products. As sales volume continues to increase and production levels ramp up, the cost advantages will become even more compelling.

The Cost Advantages of Open, Modular Design.

As consumers, we've grown accustomed to the idea that if we want a better video card or a faster modem, we can always upgrade. Personal computers adopted open standards and modular I/O cards long ago. The advantages are obvious-you preserve your existing investment while taking advantage of the latest technology.

How to Calculate Latency
How To Calculate Latency in a Switched Ethernet Network
Ethernet has challenged certain alternative network technologies because of its high data throughput rates. However, despite its throughput advantages, Ethernet has a key shortcoming: the exact time it takes any single packet to traverse the network cannot be predicted.
Modular Platforms
Rugged MicroTCA.1 Nears Adoption
Rugged MicroTCA.1 Nears Adoption
As you may remember, efforts by PICMG® members to develop a rugged version of MicroTCA™ eventually resulted in the formation of three distinct Sub-Committees: Rugged MicroTCA.1 (Air-Cooled), Hardened MicroTCA.2 (Air-Cooled), and Hardened MicroTCA.3 (Conduction-Cooled).
Packet Processors
New WANic 56511 and 56512
New WANic 56511 & 56512
These new packet processors are designed for anyone building networked communications systems based on the PCI Express™ architecture who needs secure IP communications and 10Gb Ethernet packet processing for a commercial, telecommunications, or defense application.
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White Papers, Tutorials, and Manuals

Type Title  
MicroTCA Resource Book
There's been a lot of excitement about MicroTCA, but there hasn't always been a lot of good information. This free
book sets out to remedy that situation by providing a comprehensive, yet brief and understandable overview
of this important new system architecture.
Packet Processor Product Guide
View and download our Platforms Packet Processor Guide.
MicroTCA™ System Management
MicroTCA adds certain options for management that AdvancedTCA does not offer, which should be exciting news for anyone designing MicroTCA systems.

Switched Ethernet Latency Analysis

Unpredictable latency is not acceptable for certain types of applications. Fortunately, the factors which influence latency in a switched Ethernet network are well known, so it is possible to calculate the maximum time a packet will need to travel from one end of the network to the other.