Intune platform built on ATCA technology from Schroff

AdvancedTCA (ATCA) systems and design expertise from electronics packaging specialist Schroff, part of Pentair Technical Products Group, has played a key role in the development of the first commercial product from Dublin-based optical packet switch company Intune Networks Ltd.

AdvancedTCA (ATCA) systems and design expertise from electronics packaging specialist Schroff, part of Pentair Technical Products Group, has played a key role in the development of the first commercial product from Dublin-based optical packet switch company Intune Networks Ltd.

Unveiled in 2011, Intune’s Verisma iVX8000 network platform uses optical packet switch and transport (OPST) technology (see "Intune Networks readies carrier-class optical packet switching and transport"). The culmination of more than a decade of R&D, the company claims that the product delivers new levels of carrier-network efficiency, operational simplicity, and flexibility to meet the challenge of massive increases in on-demand data traffic.

Intune chose an AdvancedTCA architecture for the Verisma product line because it provided a standardized framework that would minimize development costs and reduce time-to-market.

“We recognized from the outset that our innovations in controlling optics could be applied to standard components,” explained David McDonald, Intune’s vice president of engineering. “ATCA was already a mature technology that had been adopted fairly broadly by carrier-network operators. While there are a number of standard building blocks within the ATCA ecosystem that we could use, the architecture is also flexible enough to allow any necessary customization to meet the requirements of our particular system specification.”

Intune sought an ATCA vendor that could supply the design and manufacture of not only the mechanical parts of the system but also electronic subsystems such as the backplane, power entry module, rack alarm unit, and clock synchronization unit. Schroff won the business.

“We looked at a number of packaging providers who had strengths in one area or another, but it was Schroff that best met the criteria of our evaluation process,” said McDonald. “Their mechanical engineering team, their pedigree in ATCA technology, their strong capability in backplane design, and global coverage through their parent company Pentair – these were the factors that led us to select Schroff as our packaging partner.”

Schroff had to develop a number of new features for Intune’s system. The most demanding aspect was the development of a special electrical/optical backplane to handle the high transmission rates of the OPST technology. This required extensive simulation and prototyping work, followed by 100% connectivity testing across all the paths in the backplane, the company says.

The final Verisma iVX8000 product consists of an ATCA-based shelf measuring 753x448x285 mm and is designed to allow two of the units to be mounted back-to-back within a standard 600-mm-deep ETSI cabinet. Each unit is equipped with two power entry modules for dual redundant operation, as well as hot-swap capability on other modules. By eliminating single points of failure in this way, it achieves a network availability of 99.999%.

With cloud computing and mobile broadband continuing to drive on-demand network-based services, Intune expects rapid traction for the Verisma product line. The potential of Intune’s OPST technology has enabled the company to secure total funding in excess of €60 million in the last five years, making it one of the largest private equity investments in the global telecoms equipment sector in recent times.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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