ATM Viability - Page 2

By Linda Paulson | Posted Feb 6, 2002
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Where ATM has a stronghold is at the network edge. "A year ago what people thought would completely go away was pushed to the edge of the network," says Agilent's Trevor Dyck, a product manager for RouterTester. "We've seen a rebirth, a refocus on ATM at the core." With about 17 billion USD invested in ATM and frame relay, he says, there is not going to be a "switch to IP or MLPS overnight."

What is happening is a move to hardware that mixes these transport technologies; typically ATM with pure IP or MLPS. Much of the reason ATM remains a preferred technology is the quality of service it offers when compared with technologies such as Ethernet. There's a lot of talk about how big MLPS will indeed be in the future, but its advent does not mean the end of ATM.

"The question is when will there be a substitute technology either in the enterprise or public network,"' posits Humphrey. Although MLPS is a "step toward that," ATM remains a critical layer within networks -- public and private -- and will remain so for maybe even 10 years. This in great part due to the added control characteristics it offers in enterprise settings and its quality of service, particularly for mission critical uses.

Flynn says the current "ideal is to take ATM and put it over existing MLPS from the core to the network." Although MLPS is still a young technology, "I think will happen in the core of the network by 2003,' she says. "That's when you'll start to see more ATM over MLPS in the core."

"I think there is a perception MLPS will replace ATM," says Dyck. In fact, there is interest in "MLPS technology that allows you to run both ATM and native IP in the network. MLPS own its own does not solve quality of service issues. It still has to be used with QoS mechanisms."

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