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AdvancedTCA® / MicroTCA®


To give consideration to increasing data traffic and new communication services, the PICMG® has developed and adopted the AdvancedTCA® specification (ATCA). AdvancedTCA® is mainly aimed at the infrastructure of telecommunications systems requiring maximum availability. With AdvancedTCA® it is possible to set up modular systems with modules from different manufacturers. This technology thus offers the possibility to develop flexible and low-cost systems faster than previously possible with proprietary systems.
AdvancedTCA® is a scalable, powerful architecture with a high degree of functionality, availability and future safety. Many future-oriented applications can be implemented on this platform. Further advantages are scalable data rates of several Tbit/s, support of multi-protocols, new services can be integrated, the convergence of access, core and optical networks as well as the integration of computer center functions. Interfaces for Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel, Infiniband, StarFabric, PCIExpress and RapidIO are evidence of the high flexibility of the AdvancedTCA® architecture. Another core feature of the systems is their high availability of 99.999%.

AdvancedTCA® is mainly used for telecommunications applications and can be optimally used, for example, for:

  • Wireless
  • Wireline
  • Voice over IP
  • Video on Demand
  • Media gateways
  • Broadband platform services


In order to make the described AdvancedTCA® system even more cost-effective, the PICMG® has developed the AdvancedMC™ standard (Advanced Mezzanine Card). The AdvancedMC™ modules are small cards that are plugged in parallel onto a "Carrier Board" (a carrier board in the form of an AdvancedTCA® subcard) as Mezzanine application. The Carrier Board contains only management functions, the actual application is implemented by means of the AdvancedMC™ modules.
MicroTCA® is based on the approach to plug the AdvancedMC™ modules direct into the backplane. The objective is to create smaller and more flexible systems that do not depend on Carrier Boards and AdvancedTCA®. MicroTCA® is targeted at applications that do not require a very high computing performance but rather where low space requirements and low costs are important.
This also opens up further application possibilities in the mid and low-end range - not only for telecommunication technology but also:

  • Communication
    - Base stations
    - Media gateways
    - Video on Demand
  • Industrial automation
  • Process automation
  • Military technology
  • Mobile applications
  • Medical technology
  • Image processing
  • Automotive


The "PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturing Group" (PICMG®) is an association of approx. 450 companies. The objective of this group is to develop open standard architectures. The advantages for system developers and end users are low costs due to high quantities, a wide range of available components from many manufacturers and shorter development times for new applications.

In addition to the passive backplanes ISA/PCI and the CompactPCI Standard, AdvancedTCA®, AdvancedMC™ and MicroTCA® are further PICMG® specifications. The specifications are worked out in individual work groups from the participating companies. ept with its experience as connector manufacturer is actively participating in these work groups. 


Quality with a seal – con:card+®

con:card+® is a quality seal for MicroTCA® and AdvancedTCA® signal connectors with which the reliability of MicroTCA® and AdvancedTCA® systems can be increased significantly.
In order to achieve the goal of 99.999 % availability, all system components must be carefully matched to each other and function reliably. Therefore the selection of suitable connectors is especially important, since the tolerances defined in the specification for AdvancedMC™ modules can hardly be observed today. The "GuideSpring" is ideal for compensation. This is only one of five advantages of the con:card+® philosophy. All advantages are described in short below and described in more detail in the con:card+® features.

  • GuideSpring for reliable positioning
  • An especially smooth contact surface for protecting the gold-plated PCB pads of the AdvancedMC™ modules
  • Wear-resistant plating of the contacts (palladium/nickel with gold flash) improves the wear resistance by approx. 30%
  • Special contact material with minimum relaxation, even under high contact spring load
  • High-quality press-fit connection as efficient connection technology for series processing

con:card+® ensures the maximum availability of your system.