NAT-MCH-PHYS80 MTCA Carrier Hub for MTCA.4 and MTCA.4.1 applications

Supports GbE and PCIe Gen 3 switching and optical & copper PCIe x8/x16 uplinks

The NAT-MCH-PHYS80 addresses the requirements for higher bandwidth to both AMCs and the MCH-RTM as well as for optical and copper uplinks in PCIe based MTCA.4 systems. These features make it ideal for large control and data acquisition applications such as high and low energy physics research institutions.

The NAT-MCH-PHYS80 consists of the NAT-MCH-M4 base plus the NAT-MCH-CLK-PHYS plus an 80-port PCIe Gen3 switch. Combined with the Rear Transition Module with Intel® CPU this is the most powerful single-slot solution for management, data switching, and processing 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 AMCs in a MicroTCA.4.x system to be connected by a x4 link. It provides either two x8 or one x16 optional optical PCIe uplink(s) to external high performance servers or other MTCA.4 systems (product variant -PHYS80-UPLNK). The MCH-RTM is connected by an x16 link. 

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 Intel® CPU

When used together with its Rear Transition Module (RTM), the NAT-MCH-PHYS80 also connects the optional Intel® based COMexpress module CPU with a x16 link to the PCIe Gen3 switch. As the fully user-accessible Intel CPU 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. The RTM module is currently available with different CPU versions.

By default, N.A.T. hold the following Type-6 COMex modules equipped with Intel® processors available (other are available on request):

  • NAT-MCH-COMex-Ce-16:  Celeron® G-4932E dual core CPU with CM246 chipset and 2x 8GB DDR4 ECC
  • NAT-MCH-COMex-i3-16: Core i3® 9100HL quad core CPU with CM246 chipset and 2x 16GB DDR4 ECC
  • NAT-MCH-COMex-XE-32: Xeon® E3 E-2276ML six core CPU with CM246 chipset and 2x 16GB DDR4 ECC

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

MTCA.4.1 allows the use of an optional LLRF backplane behind the standard AMC backplane. One of its purposes is to distribute high precision RF and CLK signals among eRTMs and standard RTMs.

Using a NAT-MCH-PYS80 with a NAT-MCH-RTM-BM-FPGA allows managing 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.

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-MCH-RTM-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

The NAT-MCH-PYS80 can be monitored and controlled with any RMCP-based System Management Software (SMS) like NATview or 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 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-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-PHYS for Physics and MTCA.4 Applications
  • 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 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

Key features
Technical details
Block diagram
Order code
  • 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
    • 4 eRTMs and 2 rear power modules via LLRF backplane
  • GigaBit Ethernet switching (Fabric A)
  • PCI Express Gen3 switching (Fabrics D-G)
  • Front panel uplinks
    • 2x 1GbE (load sharing supported)
    • 2x PCIe x8 or 1x PCIe x16 optical uplinks
    • 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 or Telnet)
    • Script File
    • Web browser 
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 
    • x1 or x4 to 12 AMCs
    • One x16 or two x8 to optical uplink (optional)
    • x16 to RTM or to one AMC slot (requires backplane support)
  • PICMG AMC.1 R1.0

Clock Distribution with NAT-MCH-CLK-PHYS
  • 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
  • 13 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
  • Fabric D-G uplink (two x8 or one x16) 


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 2.9 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_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_pciex80_v1x_man_hw Hardware Manual for PCIexpress x80 hub v1.x pdf  1.2 MB  1.0 01-04-2016

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-PHYS80 block diagram

Product Code: NAT-MCH-PHYS80 - [Options]

-PCIEx8-O-UPLNK like -PHYS80 with additonal eight optical uplinks for PCIe
-PCIEx16-O-UPLNK like -PHYS80 with additonal sixteen optical uplinks (either two x8 or one x16) for PCIe
-RTM-UPLNK double-width full-size Rear Transition Module providing one copper uplink (x16) for PCIe

Double-wide full-size rear transition module and COM Express carrier


as above plus Backplane Mangement and Zone2 connector for µRTM backplanes eg LLRF backplane


as -RTM-BM plus ZYNQ-FPGA to implement separate bus eg SPI on LLRF backplane to access eRTMs

-COMex-E3     COM Express module Type 6 with  Quad Core Intel® Xeon® Processor E3 (E3-1505LV5 25W 4c/8t HDP530 2.0GHz 8MB incl. ECC  up to 16 GB DDR3-1066)


NAT-MCH-PCIECABO  fibre uplink cable for PCIe uplink -
PCIe card terminating PCIe uplink -


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