The NAT-MCH-PHYS80 addresses the requirements for higher bandwidth to both AMCs and the rear transition slot of the MCH (defined as MCH-RTM in MicroTCA.4.1 standard) as well as for optical and copper uplinks in PCIe based MTCA.4 systems, targeting large control and data acquisition applications such as high and low energy physics research institutions.

Based on the NAT-MCH-M4, our double-wide MCH base board for MicroTCA.4 and MicroTCA.4.1 systems, combined with the NAT-MCH-CLK-PHYS, our special low latency and low jitter clock distribution module, this new PCIe hub module is the most powerful single-slot solution for management and switching that is available for MTCA.4 and MTCA.4.1 systems

Special low jitter, low latency clock module for Physics applications
The NAT-MCH-CLK-PHYS clock module is specially 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-PHYS80 is capable of sourcing an external clock from, or delivering an internal clock to, two SMA inputs or outputs on 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 optical or copper uplinks and virtual clustering
The PCIe hub module provides an 80-port PCIe Gen3 switch that allows each of the 12 Advanced Mezzanine Cards (AdvancedMCs or AMCs) in a MicroTCA.4 and MicroTCA.4.1 system to be connected by a x4 link and additionally provides either two x8 or one x16 optional optical PCIe uplink(s) to external high performance servers or other MTCA.4 systems (NAT-MCH-PHYS80-UPLNK only) and a x16 link to the rear transition module.

If no optical but copper uplinks are required, the NAT-MCHPHYS80 can be used together with the NAT-MCH-RTM-UPLNK rear transition module, which then provides one x16 copper uplink on the
front panel of the rear transition module. The PCIe switch also accommodates higher bandwidths, i.e. x8 or x16, to a reduced number of AMC slots if the backplane provides appropriate connectivity.

Finally, the PCIe switch provides the ability to establish up to four virtual PCIe clusters and assign the AMC slots to these. The up to four PCIe Root Complexes can be any of the AMC-CPUs, the NAT-MCH-RTM CPU or an external PC.

Rear Transition Module with quad-core Intel® Xeon® E3
When used together with its Rear Transition Module (RTM), NAT-MCH-RTM, the NAT-MCH-PHYS80 also connects the optional quad-core Intel® Xeon® E3 COM Express module with a x16 link to the PCIe Gen3 switch. As the fully user-accessible quad-core Intel Xeon E3 on the NAT-MCH-RTM can act as a PCIe root complex, this x16 PCIe link overcomes the bottle neck between the root complex and many PCIe based I/O payload AMCs, which in most MTCA.4 systems are connected by a x4 link only.

Single slot solution for system management and PCIe root complex
The NAT-MCH-PHYS80 can be equipped with SSD storage that will then turn the combination of NAT-MCH-PHYS80 and NAT-MCH-RTM with e.g. COMex-E3 into a true single-slot fully user-accessible root complex at
PCIe Gen3 speed.

Management for Low Level RF (LLRF) backplane
The purpose of the LLRF backplane, which in MTCA.4.1 can optionally be mounted behind the standard AMC backplane, is to distribute highprecision RF and CLK signals as commonly used in particle physics among extended Rear Transition Modules (eRTM), as well as to supply additional managed power to these eRTMs and standard RTMs (uRTM or μRTM) using an additional connector to the LLRF backplane. By using the NAT-MCH-RTM with the option -BM (backplane management support) and the option -FPGA (ZYNQ-FPGA as independent controller for the eRTMs), which also connects the management for the LLRF backplane to the MCH management, the NAT-MCH-PHYS80 can manage both eRTMs as well as uRTMs and the additional power modules (RTM-PM) connected to the LLRF backplane.

Redundant Environments
The NAT-MCH-PHYS80 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-PHYS80 can handle up to four -48V, +24V or AC power modules, such as NAT-PM-DC840, NAT-PM-DC600LV, NAT-PMAC600, NAT-PM-AC600D, NAT-PM-1000, or a combination of them for N+1 configurations. The NAT-MCH-PHYS80 together with the NAT-MCHRTM with the option -BM (LLRF backplane management) can handle in addition up to two rear power modules, such as NAT-RPM-AC600 (providing variable bipolar voltages for the LLRF backplane) or any standard MTCA power supply.

Software Support and Updates
Apart from the Java GUI NATview, the NAT-MCH-PHYS80 also supports external management solutions which are based on the Remote Management Control Protocol (RMCP), such as the open-source tool
ipmitool. Furthermore, using the NAT-MIB the NAT-MCH-PHYS80 can also be integrated into environments based on the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). The NAT-MCH-PHYS80 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-PHYS80 is a member of the NAT-MCH family of MCHs which consists of:
  • NAT-MCH supporting PCIe, SRIO (RapidIO), XAUI, GbE, USB, JTAG-Switch
  • NAT-MCH-PHYS80  with Zone-3 connector for connection to MCH-RTMs with optional LLRF backplane management support, optional optical PCIe uplinks
  • NAT-MCH-RTM-PCIEx16-UPLNK (copper PCIe uplink)
  • NAT-MCH-RTM  with options -BM, -FPGA and COMex-E3 (quad-core Xeon, Core-i7, -i5 and -i3 on request)
  • NATview


  • Particle accelerators
  • Synchrotron experiments
  • Colliding beam accelerators
  • Neutrino oscillation
  • Plasma control
  • Fusion research