Huawei pushes ATCA for LTE boom

Caroline Gabriel/Wireless Watch
07 Nov 2011

There has been a steady trend to move core network functions from routers to ATCA architectures, which provide cost and performance benefits by connecting a series of off-the-shelf boards or blades on a backplane. ATCA is geared to hefty data processing on servers, rather than packet routing, and the kind of capacity its approach supports will become more necessary as mobile data traffic mushrooms. That trend in turn will accelerate moves to next generation ATCA specifications.

Huawei set out its strategy for next-gen telecom backplanes this week, aiming to place its stamp on emerging standards, but Nokia Siemens, another major ATCA adopter, has already gone a step further in terms of future vision, outlining a flexible core which would run on any kind of standard hardware.

All the tier one telecom equipment vendors now use ATCA (Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture) for at least some elements of their infrastructure, though as the basic blades become commoditized, as the standards effort intended, specialist suppliers are seeking to add more and more value.

This was seen in the recent acquisition of Continuous Computing - which offers deep packet inspection, femtocell integration and other core network capabilities - by ATCA vendor Radisys, allowing the latter to offer a fully rounded, though standards-based, back end system to OEMs and carriers (Radisys had previously acquired Intel‟s ATCA board business).

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