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3G ATM

ATM Basics
Training Document

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ATM Basics

The information in this document is subject to change without notice and describes only the product defined in the introduction of this documentation. This document is intended for the use of Nokia's customers only for the purposes of the agreement under which the document is submitted, and no part of it may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or means without the prior written permission of Nokia. The document has been prepared to be used by professional and properly trained personnel, and the customer assumes full responsibility when using it. Nokia welcomes customer comments as part of the process of continuous development and improvement of the documentation. The information or statements given in this document concerning the suitability, capacity, or performance of the mentioned hardware or software products cannot be considered binding but shall be defined in the agreement made between Nokia and the customer. However, Nokia has made all reasonable efforts to ensure that the instructions contained in the document are adequate and free of material errors and omissions. Nokia will, if necessary, explain issues which may not be covered by the document. Nokia's liability for any errors in the document is limited to the documentary correction of errors. NOKIA WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE IN ANY EVENT FOR ERRORS IN THIS DOCUMENT OR FOR ANY DAMAGES, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL (INCLUDING MONETARY LOSSES), that might arise from the use of this document or the information in it. This document and the product it describes are considered protected by copyright according to the applicable laws. NOKIA logo is a registered trademark of Nokia Oyj. Other product names mentioned in this document may be trademarks of their respective companies, and they are mentioned for identification purposes only. Copyright Nokia Oyj 2005. All rights reserved.

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Contents

Contents
1 2 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 3 3.1 4 4.1 5 5.1 5.2 6 7 Objectives ...............................................................................................4 Network Transfer Mode .........................................................................5 Comparison between Synchronous and Asynchronous Multiplexing...................................................................................5 Synchronous Transfer Mode ....................................................................6 Packet Transfer Mode ..............................................................................6 Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) .......................................................7 ATM cell ................................................................................................10 Fields in the ATM cell header.................................................................12 ATM connection ...................................................................................13 ATM virtual connections .........................................................................13 ATM as a transport network ................................................................15 Network elements involved in the transport of user plane information ..................................................................................16 Example of Nokia ATM cross-connect ...................................................18 Statistical multiplexing ........................................................................19 Review questions .................................................................................20

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ATM Basics

Objectives
After completing this module, the student should be able to:

Identify different modes to implement Network Transfer Describe the main characteristic of an ATM network in terms of function and capacity as opposed to more traditional methods. At an overview level, explain how the ATM connection is structured and how routing is achieved in an ATM network. List the ATM interfaces in a 3G network.

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Network Transfer Mode

Network Transfer Mode

2.1

Comparison between Synchronous and Asynchronous Multiplexing


Asynchronous multiplexing (which is used in ATM technology), is more efficient than synchronous multiplexing technologies, such as Time Division Multiplexing (TDM). With TDM, each user is assigned to a time slot or time slots, and no other station can send in that time slot or those time slots. If a station has a lot of data to send, it can send only when its time slot comes up, even if all other time slots are empty. If, however, a station has nothing to transmit when its time slot comes up, the time slot is sent empty and is wasted. With asynchronous multiplexing nature, 'bandwidth on demand' is offered, that is, the user traffic can be sent at any available time slot according to the agreement between the user and the network.

Synchronous Multiplexing

Asynchronous Multiplexing

Figure 1. Synchronous and Asynchronous Multiplexing

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2.2

Synchronous Transfer Mode


Synchronous Transfer Mode is based on Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) technologies. PDH (Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy) was introduced in the middle of the 70s and SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) in the middle of the 80s. These technologies have been developed to transmit voice, but of course SDH networks are also often used for data transmission. Switched circuits allow data connections that can be initiated when needed and terminated when the communication is complete. This works similar like a normal telephone line does work for voice communication. Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is a good example of circuit switching. When a router has data for a remote site, the switched circuit is initiated with the circuit number of the remote network. In the case of ISDN circuits, the device actually places a call to the telephone number of the remote ISDN circuit. When the two networks are connected and authenticated, they can transfer data. When the data transmission is complete, the call can be terminated.

Figure 2. Synchronous Transfer Mode

2.3

Packet Transfer Mode


Packet switching is a WAN (Wide Area Network) technology in which users share common carrier resources. Because this allows the carrier to make more efficient use of its infrastructure, the cost to the customer is generally much better than with point-to-point lines. In a packet switching setup, networks have connections into the carrier's network, and many customers share the carrier's network. The carrier can then create virtual circuits between customers' sites by which packets of data are delivered from one to the other through the network. The section of the carrier's network that is shared is often referred to as a cloud.

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Network Transfer Mode

Some examples of packet-switching networks include: Frame Relay (see below), Switched Multimegabit Data Services (SMDS), and X.25.

Figure 3. Packet Transfer Mode

Packet Transfer Mode operates at the physical and data link layers of the OSI reference model. Frame Relay is an example of a packet-switched technology. Packet-switched networks enable end stations to dynamically share the network medium and the available bandwidth. The maximum transmission rate is the physical interface speed of the end stations. Normally you have a guaranteed bandwidth which is called Committed Information Rate (CIR). Frame Relay reduces network overhead by implementing simple congestionnotification mechanisms rather than explicit, per-virtual-circuit flow control. Frame Relay is typically implemented on reliable network media, so data integrity is not sacrificed because flow control can be left to higher-layer protocols.

2.4

Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)


The basic functioning of Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) can be compared with the working principle of a cable car. The cabins move constantly in updirection on one side and in down-direction on the other side. If a high number of passengers have to be transported, almost every cabin will be used well, the capacity of the cable car is highly used. If there are less passengers, some of the cabins stay empty.

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ATM Basics

Figure 4. Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) works like a cable car

ATM, also known as cell relay, is a fast packet switching and multiplexing technology. ATM was developed as part of the work on broadband ISDN to support the universe of services (for example, voice, data and video over public network). ATM is a connection-oriented, error-detecting protocol. It does not offer error correction. These responsibilities are shifted to the end user. The advantages are increased speed of switching and elimination of associated delay. ATM provides efficient support for transmission of bursty wideband services and offers an integrated solution to voice (circuit mode as well as packet voice), data, and video. It provides quality of service (QoS) guarantee and reliability. ATM utilises statistical multiplexing to take advantage of the inherently bursty nature of applications. For a group of bursty connections, less bandwidth can be reserved than if bandwidth reservation would be based on the peak rate of the connections. Achieved transmission cost savings are considerable. The fundamental strategy behind ATM is to split the information into small fixed-size units, called 'cells', that are easy to handle. The fixed size of the cell allows efficient switching. ATM networks allow statistical multiplexing (that is, multiplexing of many connections with variable rate characteristics), which altogether reduces the overall bandwidth requirements.

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Network Transfer Mode

Figure 5. Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)

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ATM Basics

ATM cell
The user traffic is split and delivered in fixed length packets called ATM cells. The size of the cell is 53 bytes, which is divided into a 5-byte header and a 48-byte payload field. The ATM cell is relayed by a label at the header: Virtual Channel Identifier (VCI) and Virtual Path Identifier (VPI).

53 bytes Header 5 bytes Payload 48 bytes

Figure 6.

ATM cell structure

There are two formats of an ATM cell (depending on the type of the interface):

ATM UNI (User-Network Interface) cell, that is used for communication between ATM endpoints and ATM switches. ATM NNI (Network-Node Interface) cell, that is used for communication between ATM switches.

For ATM interfaces in 3G network, User-Network Interface (UNI) refers to the interface between terminal equipment and a network termination where access protocols apply. The interface between a RNC and a WCDMA BTS is seen as an UNI interface. Network-Node Interface (NNI) is the interface between two network nodes like a RNC and an MGW. Figure 7 shows the ATM interfaces between network elements in 3G network.

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ATM cell

ATM is employed Iub Uu UE BS UNI Iur NNI UNI BS RNC UNI BS SGSN GGSN IP network Iu-PS NNI RNC NNI MGW Iu-CS A MSC B PSTN

Gn

Gi

Figure 7.

ATM interfaces in 3G network

There is a slight difference between the first byte of the UNI and NNI header. The NNI header does not include the Generic Flow Control (GFC) field. Additionally, the NNI header has a Virtual Path Identifier (VPI) field that occupies the first 12 bits, allowing larger trunks between public ATM switches.

5 VPI

GFC VPI Header (5 bytes) VCI HEC Payload (48 bytes) Payload VCI

VPI VCI VPI

VCI VCI

PT

CLP

VCI HEC Payload

PT

CLP

User Network Interface (UNI)


GFC VPI VCI Generic Flow Control Virtual Path Identifier Virtual Channel Identifier

Network Node Interface (NNI)


PT CLP HEC Payload Type Cell Loss Priority Header Error Control

Figure 8.

Basic ATM cell format

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ATM Basics

3.1

Fields in the ATM cell header


Generic Flow Control (GFC)

Provides local functions, such as identifying multiple stations that share a single ATM interface. This field is typically not used and is set to its default value.
Virtual Path Identifier (VPI)

In conjunction with the VCI, identifies the next destination of a cell as it passes through a series of ATM switches on the way to its destination.
Virtual Channel Identifier (VCI)

In conjunction with the VPI, identifies the next destination of a cell as it passes through a series of ATM switches on the way to its destination.
Payload Type (PT)

Indicates in the first bit whether the cell contains user data or control data. If the cell contains user data, the second bit indicates congestion, and the third bit indicates whether the cell is the last in a series of cells that represent a single AAL5 frame.
Cell Loss Priority (CLP)

Indicates whether the cell should be discarded if there is congestion in the network. If the CLP bit equals 1, the cell should be discarded in preference to cells with the CLP bit equal to zero.
Header Error Control (HEC)

Calculates the checksum only on the header itself. Any cell that fails the header error check is instantly discarded by the network.

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ATM connection

ATM connection
ATM is a connection-oriented technique. The end-to-end route is defined through the network in the beginning of the connection and that remains the same throughout the connection. ATM cells are routed on the same route to both directions. This guarantees that the cells arrive in the receiving end in the same order that they are sent. Furthermore, cell delay variation is also minimised.

4.1

ATM virtual connections


Virtual connections (VC) are used for providing connectivity between communicating endpoints. There are two types of ATM connections:

Virtual Channel Connection (VCC) Virtual Path Connection (VPC).

Each ATM cell contains a label in its header to explicitly identify the VC, to which the cell belongs. This label consists of two parts: Virtual Channel Identifier (VCI) and Virtual Path Identifier (VPI). Virtual Channel Connection (VCC) is a logical connection in ATM. Virtual Channel Identifier (VCI) identifies a particular VC link under a given VPC. A specific value of a VCI is assigned each time a VC is switched in the network. Hence, it has only local meaning. Virtual Path Connection (VPC) is a logical grouping of VCCs having the same endpoints. Thus, all the cells flowing in a single VPC are switched together. Virtual paths are used for bundling a number of virtual channels into a higher bandwidth stream routed through ATM switches. That is, crossconnection and switching can be done on a higher level and not on individual VCC level. Virtual Path Identifier (VPI) identifies a group of VC links at a given reference point that share the same VPC. A specific value of a VPI is assigned each time a VP is switched in the network. Transmission path is a bundle of VPs. The following figure shows the relation among VCs, VPs and a transmission path.

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ATM Basics

VC

VP Transmission path

VC

VP

Figure 9.

Relation between a transmission path, VPs and VCs

Virtual paths help to reduce the control cost by grouping connections that share common paths through the network into a single unit. Network management actions can then be applied to a small number of groups of connections instead of a large number of individual VCC connections. Virtual Path Connections (VPCs) have many advantages:
Simplified network architecture

Network transport functions can be separated into those related to individual logical connections (VCC) and those related to a group of logical connections (VPC).
Increased network performance and reliability

The network deals with fewer, aggregated entities.


Segregation of traffic

A form of priority control can be implemented by segregating traffic types requiring different quality of service (QoS).
Reduced processing and short connection setup time

Much of the work is done when the VPC is set up. By reserving capacity on a VPC in anticipation of later call arrivals, new VCCs can be established by executing simple control functions at the end points of the VPC; no call processing is required at transit nodes. Thus, the addition of new VCCs to an existing VPC involves minimal processing which decreases the connection setup delay.
Enhanced network services

The VPC is used internally in the network but is also visible to the end user. Thus, the user may define closed user groups or closed networks of VC bundles.

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ATM as a transport network

ATM as a transport network


Nowadays transmission protocols of many telecommunication networks are based on pulse code modulation (PCM). The switching is also based on the switching of 64 or 56 kbit/s PCM connections. ATM is selected to be the transport technology for 3G network especially in UTRAN and also at the Iu interface in Release 99. ATM provides efficient support for transmission of bursty wideband services and offers an integrated solution to voice (circuit mode as well as packet voice), data, and video. It provides QoS guarantee and reliability. It utilises statistical multiplexing to take advantage of the inherently bursty nature of applications. Less bandwidth can be reserved than if bandwidth reservation would be based on the peak rate of the connections. Achieved transmission cost savings are considerable. In addition, ATM is able to support the soft handover functionality, which requires the capability of fast connection setup and teardown in Wideband CDMA (WCDMA), which is the radio interface technology for 3G. In the 3G network, the radio network controller (RNC) is assigned the task of radio resource management and handover control. When the mobile terminal communicates with one BS, a connection is established from the Serving RNC (S-RNC) node to the BS, where the connection is terminated. When in SHO, the mobile terminal communicates with several BSs, and correspondingly several SHO legs are established from the S-RNC node to the BSs currently in the active set. In order for SHO to work seamlessly for the user, the transmission path should be established quickly (for instance, in the range of 100 ms or less). Specifically, because of the necessary radio level synchronisation between the SHO legs, these connections are required to meet strict delay and jitter requirements. This is a challenging task in the ATM network, since the transmission capacity over the Iub and Iur interfaces is expensive, and consequently it is required to achieve high Iub utilisation.

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ATM Basics

5.1

Network elements involved in the transport of user plane information


The following are the definitions of the network elements involved in the transport of user plane information (from ITU-T I.311): VP cross-connect is a network element, which connects VP links. It translates VPI (not VCI) values and is directed by management plane functions not by control plane functions. VC cross-connect is a network element, which connects VC links. It terminates VPCs and translates VCI values and is directed by management plane functions not by control plane functions. VP-VC cross-connect is a network element that acts both as a VP crossconnect and as a VC cross-connect. It is directed by management plane functions not by control plane functions. VP switch is a network element that connects VP links. It translates VPI (not VCI) values and is directed by control plane functions. VC switch is a network element that connects VC links. It terminates VPCs and translates VCI values and is directed by control plane functions. VP-VC switch is a network element that acts both as a VP switch and as a VC switch. It is directed by control plane functions.

Routing functions of virtual channels are done at a VC switch/crossconnect. This routing involves translation of the VCI values of the incoming VC links into the VCI values of the outgoing VC links. Figure 10 and Figure 11 show examples of VP and VC switching.

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ATM as a transport network

Figure 10.

VC and VP switching

Figure 11.

VP switching

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5.2

Example of Nokia ATM cross-connect


Nokia ATM cross-connect (AXC) is an integrated transmission solution and ATM cross-connect device for Nokia WCDMA base stations. Nokia AXC can also function as a standalone network element. It interconnects different sectors inside the BTS and connects the BTS to the radio network controller (RNC) through the Iub interface. Moreover, it is capable of cross-connecting traffic between other base stations and the RNC. Nokia AXC serves as a virtual path (VP) and virtual channel (VC) crossconnect device for permanent ATM connections. Figure 12 shows the example of VP/VC cross connection table inside AXC.

VC1/VP1 THROUGH-CONNECTED IN AXC2 BTS 1 VC1 / VP1 AXC BTS 2 VC2 / VP2 AXC VC1 / VP1 BTS 3 VC3 / VP3 AXC AXC BTS 4 VC3, VC4 / VP4 Standalone AXC

RNC

ATM switch

BTS 5 VC3, VC4, VC5, VC6 / VP7 VC5 / VP5 AXC AXC / ATM switch BTS 6 VC6 / VP6 AXC VC/VP CROSSCONNECTION TABLE VC3/VP4 <-> VC3/VP 7 VC4/VP4 <-> VC4/VP 7 VC5/VP5 <-> VC5/VP 7 VC6/VP6 <-> VC6/VP 7

Figure 12.

ATM cross-connect in 3G network

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Statistical multiplexing

Statistical multiplexing
Statistical multiplexing is one of the main benefits of ATM. Operators can utilise statistical multiplexing to take advantage of the inherently bursty nature of applications. Users of ATM networks generate numbers of cells according to the amount of information they want to transfer. The amount of network resources required by the users changes as a function of time. When these resources are shared among users, like in ATM, it is very unlikely that all users send at their peak cell rate simultaneously. This means that the network operator can either reduce the amount of resources required for a fixed load or it can accommodate more load with the same amount of resources. This phenomenon is called statistical multiplexing. The network resources are shared among users with either VCCs or VPCs. Figure 13 shows an example of statistical multiplexing. The picture on the lefthand side shows required amount of bandwidth when the capacity of each connection is reserved according to the peak cell rate. The picture on the right hand side shows the so-called statistical multiplexing gain, when principle of statistical multiplexing is used in the bandwidth reservation.

Figure 13.

Statistical multiplexing gain

When virtual paths are used, two levels of multiplexing exist: VC level and VP level. At the VC level, VCs are statistically multiplexed on a VP. At the VP level, VPs are either deterministically or statistically multiplexed on a physical link. If VPs are deterministically multiplexed, they do not share the bandwidth reserved for them with the other VPs on the same link. The sum of the reserved bandwidths of the VPs cannot exceed the bandwidth of the link. If VPs are statistically multiplexed, they do share the bandwidth nominally reserved for them with the other VPs on the same link. VPs do not have strictly reserved bandwidths.

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Review questions
Please take some time and use the material in this module as a reference to answer the following questions. 1. Which of the following sentences is not true? a. b. c. d. multiplexes user traffic by using asynchronous multiplexing. Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) is also based on asynchronous multiplexing. With TDM, each user is assigned to a time slot or time slots, and no other station can send in that time slot or those time slots. ATM offers "bandwidth on demand", that is, the user traffic can be sent at any available time slot according to the agreement between the user and the network.

2.

Why is the ATM selected to be the transport technology for 3G? a. b. d. e. All of the above. It

3.

Match the correct definitions. a. b. c. Transmission path Virtual Channel Connection (VCC) Virtual Path Connection (VPC) is a logical connection in ATM. is a logical grouping of VCCs that have the same endpoints. It is used for bundling a number of virtual channels into a higher bandwidth stream so that cross-connection and switching can be done on a higher level and not on individual VCC level. is a bundle of VPs.

4.

Fill in the following figure to present the structure of the ATM virtual connection, as well as the relation between AAL2 connection, VP, VC, and transmission path.

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Review questions

5.

The routing in an ATM network achieved True

False

6.

Fill in the type of the ATM interfaces used at different 3G interfaces.

Iub Uu UE Iur

Iu-CS

B PSTN

Iu-PS

Gn

Gi IP network

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ATM Basics

Abbreviations
AAL ABR ALCAP ATM AXC B-ISUP BS CAC CBR CDV CDVT CID CLP CLR CPS CS CTD EPD GFC HEC IMA LAN MBS MCR MGW MSC MT MTP3b nrt-VBR NBAP NNI NPC ATM Adaptation Layer Available Bit Rate Access Link Control Application Part Asynchronous Transfer Mode ATM cross-connect Broadband ISDN User Part Base Station Call Admission Control Constant Bit Rate Cell Delay Variation Cell Delay Variation Tolerance Channel Identification Cell Loss Priority Cell Loss Ratio Common Part Sublayer Convergence Sublayer Cell Transfer Delay Early Packet Discard Generic Flow Control Header Error Control Inverse Multiplexing for ATM Local Area Network Maximum Burst Size Minimum Cell Rate Media Gateway Mobile Switching Centre Mobile Terminal Broadband Message Transfer Part lever 3 non-real time Variable Bit Rate Node B Application Protocol Network-Node Interface Network Parameter Control

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Abbreviations

PCR PDH PDU PMD PPD PT PVC QoS RANAP RNC RSNAP rt-VBR SAAL SAR SCR SCCP SDH SHO SMDS SONET S-RNC SS7 SSCF SSCOP SSCS STC SVC TC TDM UNI UPC UBR VBR

Peak Cell Rate Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy Protocol Data Unit Physical Medium Dependent sublayer Partial Packet Discard Payload Type Permanent Virtual Circuit Quality of Service Radio Access Network Application Part Radio Network Controller Radio Network System Application Part Real time Variable Bit Rate Signalling ATM Adaptation Layer Segmentation and Assembly Sublayer (SAR) Sustained Cell Rate Signalling Connection Control Part Synchronous Digital Hierarchy Soft Handover Switched Multimegabit Data Service Synchronised Optical NETwork Serving RNC Signalling System Number 7 Service Specific Co-ordination Function Service Specific Connection Oriented Protocol Service Specific Convergence Sublayer Signalling Transport Converter Switched Virtual Circuit Transmission Convergence Sublayer Time Division Multiplexing User-Network Interface Usage Parameter Control Unspecified Bit Rate Variable Bit Rate

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VCC VCCTP VCI VCL VPC VPI VPI VCCTP

Virtual Channel Connection Virtual Channel Connection Terminating Point Virtual Channel Identifier Virtual Channel Link Virtual Path Connection Virtual Path Identifier Virtual Path Link Virtual Path Connection Terminating Point

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