NAT-MCH-PHYS: MCH for Physics or MTCA.4 Applications

MicroTCA Carrier Hub for management and switching

The NAT-MCH-PHYS addresses 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 large control and data acquisition applications.

The NAT-MCH-PHYS is based on the NAT-MCH-M4, our double-width MCH base board for MicroTCA.4 systems, combined with the NAT-MCH-CLK-PHYS, our special low latency and low jitter clock module, to create a PCIe Gen3 hub module that is a management and switching solution for MicroTCA.4 systems.

Special low jitter, low latency clock module for physics appliances
The clock module NAT-MCH-CLK-PHYS has been specially designed for physics and scientific research 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 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 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 (AdvancedMCs or AMCs) in a MicroTCA.4 system. The PCIe switch also provides the ability to establish up to six virtual PCIe clusters and assign the AMC slots to these.

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, such as the NAT-PM-DC840 or NAT-PM-AC600, for N+1 configurations.

Rear Transition Module (RTM)
For customers who need a rear transition module for their application, N.A.T. offers the NAT-MCH-PHYS80 variant, which supports our NAT-MCH-RTM. This RTM can accomodate a user-accessible Intel® quad-core Core™ Xeon E3 ComExpress module, turning this combination of MCH and host processor into a true single-slot solution providing the root complex in any MTCA.4 system.

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), such as 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 or SSH.

Customers can download the latest firmware archive visiting the download page in the services section. In order to be automatically notified about future firmware updates please subscribe to our firmware RSS feed.

Family of MCH products

The NAT-MCH-PHYS 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

Key features
Technical details
Block diagram
Order code
The NAT-MCH-PHYS is a powerful management and data switching module for all MicroTCA.4 systems targeted at PCIe- based applications with a 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
  • 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
    • Console (USB, RS232, Telnet or SSH)
    • 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
  • NXP (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
  • 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
  • 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 1.2 MB 1.4 06-07-2012
nat_mch_man_usr NAT-MCH Users Manual pdf 2.9 MB 1.41 28-09-2021
nat_mch_ethx_man_usr User's Manual for 1G/10G Ethernet Switches   pdf  3.5 MB 30 19-02-2020
nat_mch_m4_v1x_man_hw  Hardware Manual for base board v1.x pdf  1.0 MB 1.2 30-06-2014
nat_mch_phys_v2x_man_hw Hardware Manual for v2.x pdf 1.5 MB 1.1 15-09-2020
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  1.2 MB 1.4 19-02-2020
nat_mch_pciex48_v2x_man_hw Hardware Manual for PCIexpress x48 hub v2.x pdf  876 KB 1.3 19-02-2020

In case the documentation you are looking for is not listed above please contact us using the contact form.

For software support and firmware downloads please visit the download page in the services section. Thank you.

NAT-MCH-PHYS block diagram

Product Code: NAT-MCH - [Options]

-PHYS double-width full-size MCH for MTCA.4 applications -



For software support and firmware downloads please visit the download page in the services section. Thank you.