MCH for Physics or MTCA.4 applications

The NAT-MCH-PHYS is addressing the requirements for management and high bandwidth switching to both AMCs and the rear transition slot of the MCH in PCIe based MTCA.4 systems, targeting at large control and data acquisition applications.

Based on the NAT-MCH-M4, the double width MCH base board for MicroTCA.4 systems, and combined with the special low latency and low jitter clock module NAT-MCH-CLK-PHYS, the PCIe Gen3 hub module turns the NAT-MCH-PHYS into a management and switching solution dedicated to MicoTCA.4. Combining the NAT-MCH-PHYS with an user accessible Intel® dual core Core™ i7 Ivy Bridge ComExpress module mounted on the rear transiton module NAT-MCH-RTM will turn this combination of MCH and host processor into a true single-slot solution providing the root complex in any MTCA.4 system.

Special low jitter, low latency clock module for Physics appliances

The clock module NAT-MCH-CLK-PHYS has especially been designed for Physics applications, providing a very low jitter and low latency clock at CLK1 and CLK2 and a fixed mean 100MHZ PCIe clock. The NAT-MCH-PHYS is capable of sourcing an external clock from or delivering an internal clock to two SMA inputs or outputs at the front panel. This allows installations of many MTCA systems to be synchronized to a central clock source in a very elegant and easy to use way.

PCIe Gen3 switch providing up to 6 virtual PCIe clusters

The PCIe hub module provides a 48-port PCIe Gen3 switch that allows each of the 12 Advanced Mezzanine Cards (AMC) in a MicroTCA.4 system or 11 AMcs and a rear transition module to be connected by an PCIe x4 link. The PCIe switch also provides the ability to establish up to six virtual PCIe clusters and assign the AMC slots to these.

Rear Transition Module with Intel® dual Core™ i7 or copper uplinks

When used together with its Rear Transition Module (RTM) NAT-MCH-RTM the NAT-MCH-PHYS also connects the optionally mounted Intel® dual core Core™ i7 Ivy Bridge ComExpress module by a x4 link to the PCIe Gen3 switch. This Intel® dual core Core™ i7 on the NAT-MCH-RTM is fully user accessible. Instead being used with the NAT-MCH-RTM, the NAT-MCH-PHYS can also be used together with the rear transition module NAT-MCH-RTM-UPLNK, then providing one x4 copper uplink at the front panel of the rear transition module.

Single slot solution for system management and PCIe root complex

The NAT-MCH-PHYS can be equipped with SSD storage that will then turn the combination of NAT-MCH-PHYS and NAT-MCH-RTM-RF-COMex into a true single-slot fully user-accessible root complex at PCIe Gen3 speed.

Redundant Environments

The NAT-MCH-PHYS fully supports redundant management and power environments. Frequent exchange of the internal databases with the secondary MCH and a heart beat mechanism ensure an immediate switch-over from the primary to the secondary MCH whenever it becomes necessary (PCIe fat pipe switch over may require additional precautions). The NAT-MCH-PHYS can handle up to four power modules (i.e. NAT-PM-DC840 or NAT-PM-AC600) for N+1 configurations.

Software Support and Updates

Apart from the JAVA GUI NATview the NAT-MCH-PHYS also supports external management solutions which are based on the Remote Management Control Protocol (RMCP) i.e. the open-source tool ipmitool. Furthermore, using the NAT-MIB the NAT-MCH-PHYS can also be integrated into environments based on the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). The NAT-MCH-PHYS can be configured using either uploadable text based script files or via the integrated WEB interfaces using a standard web browser. Finally, the integrated debug and configuration facilities can be accessed via a serial console or using Telnet. Customers registering for the firmware update service are automatically notified by e-mail when a new firmware version becomes available.

Family of MCH products

The NAT-MCH-PHYS is a member of the NAT-MCH family of MCHs which consists of:


Key features
Technical details
Block diagram
Order code
The NAT-MCH-PHYS is a powerful management and data switching entity for all MicroTCA.4 systems targeting at PCIe based applications with the need for high-bandwidth.
  • management for
    • 12 AMCs + optional AMC13 in 2nd MCH slot
    • front and rear cooling units
    • 4 power modules including N+1 redundancy
    • update channel to secondary MCH
  • support of MCH rear transition modules, i.e. NAT-MCH-RTM and NAT-MCH-RTM-RF-COMex-i7
  • GigaBit Ethernet switching (Fabric A)
  • PCI Express (Gen3) switching (Fabrics D-G)
  • front panel uplinks
    • 2x 1GbE (load sharing supported)
    • 2x SMA for external CLK support (bi-directional)
    • serial (RS232) and USB console
  • clock generation and distribution by special clock module for Physics (NAT-MCH-CLK-PHYS)
  • configuration options
    • sconsole (USB, RS232 or Telnet)
    • script File
    • web Browser 
  • host based Java GUI for any operating system capable of executing Oracle Java Run-Time Environment (JRE) v1.7 or higher, i.e. Linux, Mac OS-X or Windows
CPU and memory
  • Freescale ColdFire MCF54452 CPU @ 266MHz
  • DDR2 RAM: 32/64MB
  • FLASH: 16/32/64MB

IPMI and Compliance

  • 13 AMCs
  • 2 front and 2 rear cooling units
  • 1-4 power modules incl. N+1 redundnacy
  • PICMG 2.9
  • update to 2nd MCH

Supported Fabrics and Compliance

Fabric A: Gigabit Ethernet

  • 12 AMCs + optional AMC13 in 2nd MCH slot
  • PICMG AMC.2 R1.0
  • PICMG SFP.1 R1.0

Fabric D-G:

  • PCI Express Gen 3 to 12 AMCs
    • x1 or x4 to 12 AMCs
    • x4 to RTM (then 11 AMCs only)
  • PICMG AMC.1 R1.0

Clock Distribution
NAT-MCH-CLK-PHYS (click for more information)
  • CLK1 and CLK2 by special low jitter and low latency circuitry (NAT-MCH-CLK-PHYS)
  • CLK3  fixed mean 100MHz PCIe clock (HCSL)

Carrier Manager

  • management of up to 13 AMCs, 4 cooling units and 1-4 power modules
  • management of 4 eRTMs and 2 rear power modules via LLRF backplane
  • supports redundant architectures and fail-over procedure
  • support configurable emergency shutdown of AMCs or entire system

Shelf and System Manager

  • For detached or stand-alone operation both managers are available on-board, hook-in for external managers via 1GbE port at front panel

Operating System and API

  • O/S: OK1
  • API: HPI compliant

Indicator LEDs

  • 3 standard AMC LEDs
  • 12 bi-color LEDs for AMC slot stati
  • 2 bi-color LEDs for cooling units
  • 4 bi-color LEDs for power modules
  • 12 bi-color LEDs for PCIe link status (failed, Gen1, Gen2 or Gen3)

Front Panel Connectors

  • 2x 1GbE for management connection and Fabric A system up-link (load sharing supported)
  • external clock reference (bi-directional)
  • serial and USB console connectors


Rev #
Date Last Modified
nat_mch_ds Data sheet and NAT-MCH family overview pdf 1.179 KB 1.4 06-07-2012
nat_mch_man_usr NAT-MCH Users Manual pdf 2.7 MB 1.30 08-01-2016
nat_mch_ethx_man_usr User's Manual for 1G/10G Ethernet Switches   pdf  3.0 MB   2.1 12-10-2015 
nat_mch_m4_v1x_man_hw  Hardware Manual for base board v1.x pdf  1.0 MB  1.2  30-06-2014
nat_mch_clk_v41_man_hw    Hardware Manual for CLK module v4.x pdf  904 KB   1.3  30-06-2014
   Hardware Manual for CLK module PHYS pdf  969 KB   1.3 30-06-2014 
nat_mch_pciex48_v2x_man_hw Hardware Manual for PCIexpress x48 hub v2.x pdf  762 KB   1.2 30-06-2014 
nat_mch_phys_usb2serial USB serial Console installation file inf 4 KB 1.0 22-06-2012

For further documentation on the NAT-MCH (i.e. technical reference manuals) please contact us using the contact form. Thank you.

NAT-MCH-PHYS block diagram

Product Code: NAT-MCH - [Options]

-PHYS double-width full-size MCH for MTCA.4 applications -
-RTM-UPLNK double-width full-size Rear Transition Module providing one copper uplink (x16) for PCIe -
-RTM double-width full-size Rear Transition Module mounting slot for type-6 COMExpress module -
-RTM-RF-COMex-i7 like -RTM-RF with mounted Intel® Core™ i7 Ivy Bridge ComExpress module dual core



NATView Java based GUI (Graphical User Interface) for monitoring and control of MTCA systems. 2.22 18-03-2016
- Firmware for NAT-MCH, NAT-MCH-PHYS, NAT-MCH-PHYS80 2.17.11 25-05-2016

Customers registering for the firmware update service will automatically be notified by e-mail when a new firmware version becomes available.