Sergej Dizel, Pentair Technical Products GmbH
Since the introduction of AdvancedTCA (ATCA) in 2002, the race for more data transfer speed on the backplane has been on. The telecom and datacom markets have a hunger for processing power that is never satisfied. Today’s processor technologies such as multicore, GPGPUs, and powerful co-processors can satisfy the demands of full HD video on demand, increasing the number of data-hungry services available for smartphones and other applications. In addition to providing the processing power for these applications, infrastructure must be able to support the huge amount of data traffic they generate. From packet switching backplanes with 1 Gbps of data transfer in the beginning of the millennium, today’s ATCA backplanes support 40 Gbps data transfer. This is achieved by four ports, each with two differential pairs transferring 10 Gbps each, which together are capable of transferring 40 Gbps. Even this is not sufficient to feed today’s most demanding processor blades. Today, dual-dual star backplanes are often used where two switches work in parallel to increase the data traffic between transmitter and receiver to 80 Gbps, though this is certainly not the end point of demand for data speed. The IEEE specification for 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) over copper was released at the end of 2014, and a PICMG working group is defining 100G Ethernet for ATCA based on the IEEE spec.