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ATG’s Communications &

Networking Technology
Guide Series

This guide has been sponsored by

We saw the future Table of Contents
and we built the architecture to handle it. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Demands That Drive ATM Deployment . . . . . . . 2
Sprint’s ATM Service Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
ATM is the Right Technology for the
Enterprise Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Cell Relay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
High Speed Interfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Highly Flexible Connectivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Multiple Service Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Logical Functional Distinctions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Quality of Service Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Comprehensive Management Structure . . . . . . . 21
Only Sprint SONET & ATM Complimentary Technologies . . . 23
deployed the world’s first public ATM network for
the next generation of data transport.
Four-Fiber, Bi-Directional,
Line-Switched Rings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
The world is changing rapidly, and so are business commu- Service Consistency vs. Service Restoration . . . . 25
nications. That’s why Sprint looked ahead for its customers and Benefits of Unified ATM -
deployed ATM nationwide on a commercial scale before anyone SONET Architecture. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
else. In fact, Sprint is helping set industry standards as a founding Glossary of Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
member of the ATM Forum. Sprint’s ATM network offers the
capacity for bandwidth-intensive applications like groupware, About the Editor…
production-quality video, and collaborative design in real time. Gerald P. Ryan is the founder of Connections Telecommunications Inc., a
Plus, it integrates all of your communications—from voice to Massachusetts-based company specializing in consulting, education and soft-
ware tools which address Wide Area Network issues. Mr. Ryan has developed
native LAN to Internet—over a single network. and taught numerous courses in network analysis and design for carriers, gov-
ernment agencies and private industry. Connections has provided consulting
And we’re there every step of the way, to help you evolve support in the areas of WAN network design, negotiation with carriers for
your network smoothly as your business grows. Sprint’s ATM contract pricing and services, technology acquisition, customized software
development for network administration, billing and auditing of telecommuni-
solution enables our customers to consolidate their networks for cations expenses, project management, and RFP generation. Mr. Ryan is a
management efficiency and reduced costs. Also, we’re moving member of the Networld+Interop program committee.
all our traffic to an ATM backbone to provide increased band- This book is the property of The Applied Technologies Group and is made
width on demand. And coupled with Sprint’s core SONET available upon these terms and conditions. The Applied Technologies
ring architecture, your business applications enjoy outstanding Group reserves all rights herein. Reproduction in whole or in part of this
book is only permitted with the written consent of The Applied Tech-
reliability and speed. We knew it was just a matter of time. nologies Group. This report shall be treated at all times as a proprietary
That’s why we looked into the future to bring you ATM today. document for internal use only. This book may not be duplicated in any way,
except in the form of brief excerpts or quotations for the purpose of review.
Call Sprint Business In addition, the information contained herein may not be duplicated in
other books, databases or any other medium. Making copies of this book, or
1• 800 • 588 • DATA any portion for any purpose other than your own, is a violation of United
States Copyright Laws. The information contained in this report is believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed to be complete or correct.
Copyright © 1997 by The Applied Technologies Group, One Apple Hill,
Suite 216, Natick, MA 01760, Tel: (508) 651-1155, Fax: (508) 651-1171
E-mail: Web Site:
Introduction private lines, the entire bandwidth was available at all
times, and information could be transmitted continu-
ously. This meant that those networks worked well with
ATM technology has matured enough to be traffic that could not tolerate delay, such as voice and
deployed throughout the telecommunications video, and were a superb vehicle to support the hierar-
infrastructure in a way that offers superb service, chical on-line transaction processing applications and
economies of scale, and growth capacity to support the other data applications built around large, centralized
most optimistic industry traffic projections. ATM has host systems. The limited number of interconnected
an intended, but nevertheless remarkable, synergy with corporate sites combined with the star architecture of
SONET which provides robust bandwidth capacity. It the network allowed private line systems to be cost
supports fail safe operation through its extensive effective. But as networks became more complex, the
deployment of a fiber ring architecture and it presents cost of using private services to meet corporate needs
a broad array of capabilities suitable for supporting became excessive. In an attempt to reduce costs for
every traffic type from voice to data, to video. bursty applications, statistically multiplexed network
When combined with an overarching concept that devices were developed to provide bandwidth on an as
envisions end to end deployment of switches and inter- needed basis between corporate locations. But these
faces from the edge throughout the core of the solutions, although helpful, are limited in capacity,
network, all designed with ATM in mind, we have the scope, and flexibility. They do not support diverse
opportunity to present a seamless, high capacity, opti- traffic types or allow broad connectivity.
mally efficient, and scaleable architecture. This archi- As new applications come on line and as the
tecture will be the standard and model for all of number of interconnected locations grows, with the
telecommunications into the foreseeable future. This resulting need for increased connectivity, the cost for
Technology Guide examines ATM in terms of its tech- private line networks, even while using variations of
nology, deployment, benefits, and strengths. statistical multiplexing approaches, increases significantly.

High Bandwidth Applications

Demands That Drive ATM With the evolution of bandwidth intensive data
applications, imaging systems, Internet and intranet
Deployment based architectures, corporate networks need even
greater bandwidth on demand as well as broad and
Network Evolution flexible connectivity.
The impact of these applications, combined with
From the 1960s until the 1990s, the primary archi-
the growth of other bandwidth hungry data applica-
tecture for large networks was a complex and extensive
tions such as client server and distributed computing,
array of leased private lines connecting corporate and
has been dramatic. It has driven the implementation of
enterprise locations. For most large users, this was the
the new higher speed, flexible bandwidth technologies,
fundamental way to carry critical data traffic; and it
such as Frame Relay, which provides for faster data
was successful for a number of reasons. With dedicated
throughput than traditional transmission methods.

2 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 3

Now, however, network managers are being pressured • Broader, more universal and flexible connectivity,
with the need to support even higher speed LAN inter- • Universal application support to enable a single
networking for medical imaging, medical consulting, architectural solution for data, voice and video,
scientific visualization, concurrent engineering, high
resolution modeling, animation, collaborative design, • Cost efficiencies that enable network growth, and
desktop video conferencing, and remote training. • Architectural scalability.

Integration of Traffic Types These requirements are now supportable through

Compounding this mix of new applications and the universal deployment of ATM services. ATM can
broad connectivity is the need to also support all traffic today deliver up to OC-3 speed and capacity
types: video, voice, and data. The industry is experi- (155Mbps - the equivalent of 84 T1 circuits) delivered
encing the convergence and integration of computer on a shared basis among all applications with high
and telephony (CTI), and new approaches to video quality and assured bandwidth on demand. ATM
streaming are creating increased network pressures. enables the interconnection of power users involved in
Enterprise networks have historically maintained sepa- imaging, computer-aided design/computer-aided
rate facilities for these differing classes, but it is now manufacturing (CAD-CAM), distributed database
imperative that network services support these through management, distance learning, multimedia, video
a single, all encompassing network service. conferencing, and voice applications.

Focus on Business Needs

In todayís business climate, customers demand Sprint’s ATM Service
value, reliability, manageability, and, of course, invest-
ment protection in their communications network
systems. At the same time, they seek new and more
innovative ways of doing business. Their key consider- The ATM service deployed by Sprint includes a
ations are total system performance and network three tier architecture which includes an ATM back-
dependability. bone consisting of high capacity network switches:
bearer transport nodes, or Core ATM switches; bearer
service nodes, or edge switches located at the periphery
The Solution
of the network; and protocol service nodes on
To address all of these complex issues, enterprise customer premises or in the network to interface with
network managers are looking for network solutions user systems. The approach taken by Sprint provides a
that provide: coherent platform suitable for deploying ATM services
• Much greater network capacity, across North America and throughout the world.
• Bandwidth on demand to support high speed

4 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 5

ATM is the Right Technology
Bearer Edge
Switch for the Enterprise Network
UNI NNI PHY PHY PHY An important aspect of building and sustaining the
B-ISSI corporate enterprise network is deploying the right
technology and architecture for the communications
environment. Frame Relay technology is a step in the
right direction. With its variable length packets, Frame
Bearer Transport Nodes (BTN) - Relay is a definite improvement over earlier systems.
ATM Core Switches When interleaving data with voice or video over a
The ATM BTN consists of 10 interconnected high shared Frame Relay facility, however, quality may
speed switches with throughput capacity from 10 Gbps suffer and voice or video traffic may experience less
to 160 Gbps. These switches are interconnected across than optimal performance. Asynchronous Transfer
a series of SONET rings being equipped with Wave Mode (ATM), on the other hand, has emerged to fully
Division Multiplexing to improve the network carrying meet the need for integrated network services. ATM is
capacity. designed to support multiple services, including data,
video, voice, and multimedia, within a single flexible
network. It supports Frame Relay and other existing
Bearer Service Nodes (BSN) - ATM Edge Switches systems as well as LAN-to-LAN traffic. ATM enables
BSN switches are deployed at the periphery of the an entirely new range of business applications that
network and serve as the interface from the customer requires faster, more flexible, and more universally
premises to the core. Sprint currently deploys 29 available bandwidth.
Bearer Service Nodes across the United States oper-
ating at 2.5 Gbps (OC-48). BSNs switches can also be A Unifying Technology
installed on customer premises to interface directly
with protocol service nodes. ATM is a unifying technology that supports a
complete range of applications in a common network
infrastructure and, as a result, provides opportunities
Protocol Service Nodes (PSNs) for companies to change the way they do business and
Protocol Service Nodes are equipment installed on select a single solution as the underlying technology of
the customer premises, or in the network, that provide their networks.
LAN emulation and other direct interface capabilities.
These are each designed for a particular purpose, such Supporting Connectivity
as a PBX interface. PSNs in the network can convert
non-ATM protocols (Frame Relay, IP, circuits) to an ATM significantly expands the capabilities of
ATM bearer class. earlier technologies. It has the ability to carry various
types of traffic, including bursty data traffic, voice, and
video, at speeds that are magnitudes greater than

6 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 7

existing networks. ATM, like X.25 and Frame Relay, platform, typically resulting in improved price/perfor-
can be implemented as a shared network, while oper- mance.As a multimedia platform, ATM provides
ating within the concept of private connections opportunities for new applications and new ways of
between enterprise locations. The shared network doing business. By inter-networking with a variety of
architecture of ATM allows the consolidation of existing technologies, including Frame Relay, ATM
disparate networks and has enabled new, complex, high service can help to protect a userís existing communi-
bandwidth applications to emerge. In evaluating ATM cations investment.
service offerings, customers should select the carriers
that allow the ATM option to be implemented on a
The State of ATM Technology
site by site basis, allowing users to move toward the
future in an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, Today, ATM is a fully mature and widely deployed
manner. technology within the telecommunication carrier infra-
structure. ATM is a combination of technology and
protocol standards that involves both cell-oriented
Seamless Support for a Full Range of Media switching and multiplexing techniques. It is optimized
Types and Transmission Speeds to support a broad spectrum of traffic profiles and class
ATM technology allows multiple access options at of service requirements.
a variety of speeds. Physical options include access at
rates of 1.5 Mbps, 45 Mbps and higher. A wide range
The ATM Forum
of media types can be adapted to ATM including
twisted pair, coax and fiber; diverse transmission types, ATM development has been driven, to a great
such as voice, video, and data; and many different extent, by the ATM Forum, a consortium of manufac-
protocols such as TCP/IP, Frame Relay, and native turers and service providers, of which Sprint was an
LAN protocols. original founder, convened in 1991 as a standards defi-
nition group to assure a correct product mix and inter-
operability. The ATM Forum, to this date, has defined
Efficient, Predictable Performance over 60 different standards, including classes of service,
ATM is a standards based protocol at the transport flow control, operations and management, network
layer that combines the bandwidth efficiency of packet and user interfaces, and much more. The foundation
technology with the predictable performance of circuit technologies for ATM have been in place for some
technology. This is made possible through the use of time. The definition of certain LAN emulation capa-
specific Quality of Service (QoS) classes for each traffic bilities, Multi-protocol over ATM (MPOA), and other
type. It is a technology that is scaleable from a megabit issues related to the support of various LAN architec-
to gigabits and is expected to have a life-cycle suitable tures as well as some differences in approaches to flow
for supporting networks far into the foreseeable future. control in private network implementations are still in
ATM supports LAN switching as well as worldwide the final stages of resolution. However, most
networks. It contributes to the enterprise goal of devel- importantly, the range of services necessary to deploy
oping a single, seamless network infrastructure. It and support wide scale ATM services is very mature
enables the merging of separate networks onto a single and widely available.

8 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 9

An ATM Primer High Speed Interfaces
ATM can be described as having several key
attributes that makes it effective in supporting diverse,
high speed applications: • Transmission Media
• Cell Relay Technology, ATM standards allow it to operate in virtually
every transmission medium, T1, T3, E1, E3 and
• High Speed Interfaces, SONET. Broadband ISDN, in fact, is simply ATM
• Highly Flexible Connectivity, with SONET/ SDH used as the physical transport.
• Multiple Service Classes, (SONET is Synchronous Optical Network and is
defined by ANSI, while SDH is Synchronous Digital
• Logical Functional Distinctions, Hierarchy and is defined by the ITU-T.) SONET
• Quality of Service Standards, and speeds of OC-3 (155 Mbps) through OC- 48 (2.5
Gbps) are presently available in backbone networks.
• Comprehensive Management Structure.
Higher speed bandwidth through deployment of OC-
192 is envisaged for the future.

• Interface to Other Network Services

Cell Relay ATM Service is generally offered through both 1.5
Mbps and 45 Mbps ATM ports, with OC-3 available
ATM is a cell relay technology, which is based on directly to businesses over suitable transmission facili-
the segmentation of an incoming data stream into a ties. The port speed defines the maximum rate at
series of small, fixed-length (53 octets) data units. which the customer premises equipment (CPE) can
These units are called cells. As illustrated below, data, transmit and receive data from the ATM network.
voice and video traffic is all broken into cells and trans- Access to ATM inter-exchange carrier ports is gener-
ported across the network by interleaving the combined ally provided by dedicated facilities that are offered
stream of cells onto the transmission media.ATM is through IXCs, local exchange carriers (LECs), or alter-
officially defined by the International nate access vendors. Port speeds typically range from
Telecommunication Union-Telecom Sector. ATM is 64 Kbps to 2 Mbps. This enables users to leverage
also standardized by the American National Standards their investment in existing packet technologies by
Institute (ANSI). connecting X.25 and Frame Relay to ATM end points
without technology upgrades. At the same time, they
can design ATM networks that cross a continuum to
meet the needs of each of their locations as well as
Interleaved Cells
their traveling end-users, cost effectively.

Sources Interface Device

10 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 11

User and Network Interfaces Highly Flexible Connectivity
Presently, as illustrated below, there are three inter-
face standards for use with public ATM networks.
A key attribute of ATM is the manner in which
• User-Network Interface (UNI) connections are established across the network. Unlike
• Network- Network Node Interface (NNI) private line networks, or the public switched network,
ATM uses virtual channels and virtual paths through
• Broadband-Inter Carrier Interface (B-ICI) (ATM the network to reach its destinations. These virtual
Forum only) circuits can be either permanent or switched.

• Permanent Virtual Connections (PVCs)

UNI NNI B-ICI ATM uses permanent virtual connections (PVCs)
to establish end-to-end connectivity. These PVCs are
pre-configured network routes which eliminate the
Device ATM Switch Public ATM Public ATM
need for a route establishment (call setup) each time
the user needs to send a transmission to a remote loca-
The UNI is the standard interface between tion. When it is invoked, the ATM Service already
customer premises equipment (CPE) and public ATM knows the route each cell will follow through the
network service. By complying with this standard, users network and immediately begins sending the message
are assured that premises equipments such as PBX, cells, each one of which contains the PVC address in
routers, hubs, ATM Data Service Units (DSUs), and its header. Each cell follows the same route and is
ATM switches, are compatible with public ATM reassembled at the receiving end.
network service. The basic interface between two ATM
switches is specified by the NNI standard. The NNI
• Switched Virtual Connections (SVCs)
standard provides for additional flows of management
data beyond what is available with the UNI standard. • Another implementation, switched virtual connec-
The interface between two public ATM networks is tions (SVCs), requires the network to set up a
defined by the Broadband Inter Carrier Interface (B- virtual connection each time the remote location is
ICl) specification. Based on the NNI standard, the B- addressed. They are temporary assignments made
ICI specification provides the exchange of on demand and require network resources only
management, configuration, and performance data while in use, potentially improving cost effective-
that is needed when connecting public networks. The ness for some applications in which there is infre-
B-ICI will allow end-to-end management of the inter- quent traffic to a remote site.
connected networks.

12 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 13

• Virtual Paths and Connections sustained cell rate (SCR) as well as a peak cell rate
Virtual Connections allow multiple connections to (PCR), which is the maximum rate that cells can be
be defined simultaneously across a single network transmitted through the network. NOTE: VCs can not
facility, with each connection having flexible have a higher service class nor can they exceed the
bandwidth. In addition to virtual connections (VCs), QoS of the VP in which they are located.
ATM defines a higher level of system-to-system
connectivity. These are called Virtual Paths (VP). A VC
is used to connect individual end systems through the
network. A VP is simply a logical collection, or
Multiple Service Classes
ìbundleî of multiple VCs, as shown above. The prede-
fined VP assigned between end systems provides a The ATM protocol definitions include a function
ìtunnelî over which VCs destined for the remote loca- called the ATM Adaptation Layer (AAL). This layer
tion can be routed. IN a VP tunnel configuration, none provides the rules to interface with all of the different
of the Virtual Channels are switched by the network, types of traffic that are connected to ATM. Each
only Virtual Paths. traffic type, e.g. LAN, voice, data, Frame Relay, etc. is
treated according to its own natural needs. For
example, real time voice needs a constant bandwidth
available to it (a constant bit rate) as well as certain
Virtual Path (VP)
guarantees of service quality, while Frame Relay
requires variable bandwidth, support for momentary
Virtual Connections bursts of traffic and different delay standards for cell
- Permanent - PVC
- Switched - SVC

Virtual Paths allow users to ìprovisionî their own

end-to-end VCs among locations that are connected
User User
with predetermined VPs. This can be accomplished Layer Layer Switching Mechanism
AAL AAL Flow Control
without interacting with the ATM Service provider, Router
ATM ATM Admin and Operations
allowing a quick response to end user needs. In addi-
tion, both permanent and switched VCs may be
included in existing permanent VPs, so that users can
efficiently load balance traffic flow between the two
locations. A single port may support both VPs and VCs
of differing service classes. VCs and VPs support a

14 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 15

These different interfaces are defined as a series of amount of network bandwidth. In essence, VBR-RT
AAL bearer classes as illustrated in the following chart. has the performance characteristics of CBR while
providing the network efficiency of VBR-NRT.
Variable bit Rate VBR
• Variable Bite Rate - Non-Real Time
Non Real Non Real

Constant Bit Real Time

Connection Unespecified Available
(VBR-NRT): Also operates on a connection
Rate Service
Data service
Less Data
Bit Rate
Bit Rate
basis, but it differs from both CBR and VBR-RT
in that variable delays are allowed between the
Bearer Class Class A Class B Class C Class D Class X Class Y delivery of cells. VBR-NRT is similar to Frame
Applications Voice and Packet Video Relay service but it operates at higher rates. It is
Clear and Voice DATA
Channel excellent for bursty data applications including
Connection oriented PVC or SVC Connection
Connection oriented LAN interconnect, CAD/CAM and multimedia.
Bit Rate Constant Variable • Unspecified Bit Rate (UBR): Can be used for
Required Not Required customer applications that work with “raw cell”
Services Private Line None Frame Relay SMDS Raw Cell
service, or “best effort” transport by the network.
In this service, cells are transported by the network
AAL 1 2 3/4 & 5 3/4 any 3/4 & 5
whenever bandwidth is available and traffic is
presented by the user. However, data using UBR
Bearer classes for ATM are specific to the type of service may be discarded in deference to data
data transferred, with attributes that are measured in using other classes of service.
three ways: the delay characteristics with which service
• Available Bit Rate (ABR): Available Bit Rate
is delivered, the type of connection required, and
service is an emerging ITU service class. It is
timing or synchronization of the source and destina-
similar to VBR -NRT service, except that it does
tion. The previous illustration shows the current stan-
not offer bit rate guarantees. It provides variable
dard classes of service and their attributes.Constant Bit
data rates based on whatever is available. This
Rate (CBR): Is similar to a private line in that it offers
process uses signaling back to the source to regu-
the consistent delay predictability of leased line services
late data presented to the network. In an ATM
at the expense of dedicated band-width. It is for appli-
ABR service, congestion control signaling is done
cations such as circuit emulation and voice that require
on a CPE-to- CPE basis, with the network
Constant Bit Rate. Constant Bit Rate service is also
providing information about the amount of band-
well suited for todayís voice and video applications.
width available in the network for a particular
Variable Bit Rate - (VBR-RT) Real Time: Like CBR,
virtual circuit to use.
Variable Bit Rate - Real Time (VBR-RT) service also
operates on a connection basis with very low delay
variance, but it provides the ability to access a variable

16 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 17

Logical Functional Distinctions • QoS 1 - Class 1 - Equivalent to Private Line
• QoS 2 - Class 2 - Audio, Video, Multimedia
One of the interesting aspects of the ATM environ- • QoS 3 - Class 3 - COD Data ~ SDLC, Frame
ment is that the standards are defined in such as way as Relay
to allow the development of a variety of functionally
specific products. For example, some companies have
developed and manufactured backbone core switches ATM Information Rate and Service Over-
that provide high speed, gigabit rate, transfer of data Subscription
across the network, while other companies manufacture In Carrier provided ATM systems, the maximum
private ATM devices that are sized for enterprise amount of user information that can be transmitted at
networks. Some companies manufacture interface any time over a single ATM port is referred to as the
adapters or routers that deal with a particular type of Information Rate, which is generally the access rate of
traffic (e.g. voice / PBX). Some companies manufacture the ATM port, less ATM overhead. This information
edge devices while others manufacture core switches. It is rate is the maximum amount of information that can
the richness of the ATM standards that allows these be transmitted at any one time. The information rate is
various entities to inter-operate in a seamless and essen- defined in increments of 64 Kbps, 1 Mbps and 1.544
tial transparent manner. This great diversity allows major Mbps which can be used for Constant Bit Rate (CBR)
carriers to develop backbone and service strategies built or Variable Bit Rate (VBR) PVCs. Multiple PVCs can
around the provision of network wide ATM Service. be assigned asymmetrically to the ATM port. For
Major carriers such as Sprint have been able to build an example, a PVC can be 5 Mbps in one direction and
architecture and strategy that allows them to deploy 10Mbps in the other. The actual amount of
exactly the right technology mix to meet the needs of transmitted information on the access port consists of
their markets while, at the same time, reserving the capa- the total of all of the traffic contained in the simultane-
bility to expand and scale the network as needed in the ously activated PVCs.
future. This results in feature richness at the edge of the Over subscription occurs when the sum of all of
network and highly efficient transmission in the core. the PVCs assigned to the port exceeds the maximum
information rate of the ATM port. This is allowable
since, due to the intermittent, or bursty, nature of most
traffic, it is unlikely that all PVCs will require their
Quality of Service Standards peak demand level at the same time. Therefore, more
aggregate PVC bandwidth can be assigned to the port
Accompanying the various bearer classes and AAL than the maximum information rate, while still main-
types is a set of Quality of Service (QoS) standards taining the specified QoS.
intended to assure appropriate operation of the ATM Over subscription is only allowed for VBR service,
network. These QoS standards include parameters for within certain prescribed limits established by the
Cell Error Ratio, Cell loss Ratio, Mis-insertion Rate, carrier.
and statistical values for Cell Delay.

18 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 19

Over Subscription Guidelines ATM port. In other words, there is no over-subscrip-
Over subscription should only be attempted when tion allowed.When CBR traffic is mixed with VBR
the subscriber has good information about the traffic and UBR traffic on the same port, the sum of the
patterns that can be expected between locations. PCRs of the CBR PVCs cannot exceed 50% of the
Customers must consider the delay sensitivity of traffic ATM port capacity.
that may be delayed due to competition for the
maximum information rate capacity. Generally, the Variable Bit Rate - Non Real Time (VBR-NRT)
more intermittent the traffic, the more over subscrip- Information rates are expressed in terms of Peak
tion that can be tolerated. For example, in an environ- Cell Rate (PCR) and Sustained Cell Rate (SCR). Over
ment in which each of the PVCs has an average subscription of the VBR service is permitted, based on
utilization of under 25%, the aggregate bandwidth of the following two limits, whichever occurs first:
the assigned PVCs could, theoretically, be four times
greater than the maximum information rate of the 1. The sum of all PCRs associated with the VBR
access service. This, of course, is risky if the subscriber PVCs must not exceed 500% of the maximum
is not certain of the anticipated traffic statistics. information rate of the ATM port.
Furthermore, due to the randomness of arriving 2. The sum of the SCRs associated with the VBR
traffic, there is the possibility that even the relatively PVCs must not exceed 200% of the maximum
lowly utilized PVCs may occasionally require service at information rate of the ATM port.
the same time, resulting in contention. Over subscrip-
When CBR traffic is mixed with VBR traffic on
tion may therefore result in degradation of the QoS of
the same port, the CBR traffic is reserved and must be
the customer's ATM service. This may be especially
deducted from the maximum information rate of the
true when inbound PVCs exceed the access port speed.
ATM port when calculating the above VBR limits.
In this case, there is a likelihood that cells may be
discarded, which directly impacts the QoS standards
relating to cell loss and cell delay. Carriers are reluctant
to guarantee certain QoS performance when the
customer chooses to oversubscribe, since the actual
Comprehensive Management
traffic patterns may vary significantly. In order to Structure
assure a certain QoS, therefore, carriers apply rules for
the provisioning of PVCs1. ATM services include a full range of administra-
tive, operational, and management capabilities
Constant Bit Rate (CBR) (OA&M) which provide the basis for secure and
When the ATM port is used only for CBR, the predictable QoS standards. In addition to these stan-
sum of the peak cell rate (PCR) for all CBR PVCs dards, the leading service providers also support their
cannot exceed the maximum information rate of the ATM networks with comprehensive network
operations centers. Sprint's Broadband Operations
1 The service standards offered in this Guide are derived from customer support
guidelines used by Sprint in provisioning ATM networks.

20 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 21

Center, for example, maintains full responsibility for
the operation and maintenance of the ATM services.
SONET & ATM, Complimentary
This includes all access facilities and their customer Technologies
premises equipment (CPE).
With these services, they are able to provide early SONET (Synchronous Optical Network) is an
identification and resolution of network issues as they American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
occur and deliver high quality customer service. standard for high capacity optical telecommunications.
SONET was first introduced into the Sprint network in
The Broadband Operations Center 1994 and has been deployed at rapid rates since then.
The Broadband Operations Center includes Today it is the premier backbone transmission
responsibility for: technology for leading carriers. It is deployed at all
levels of the telephone infrastructure, including the
• ATM Service monitoring for seven days a week local loop, the local telephone network, and the long
for 24 hours a day, distance carrier network. It is based on overlaying a
• Coordination of all physical and logical aspects of synchronous multiplexed signal onto a light stream
the ATM service, transmitted over fiber optical cable. It is the deliberate
and natural synergy between these two technologies
• Monitoring network circuits and switches,
that gives us the capability and capacity to fulfil the
• Real time performance and fault monitoring of all promise of ATM.
access and interoffice trunk facilities,
• Proactive monitoring of selected switch parame- Virtual Chan'l Virtual Chan'l

ters and tables to allow for early identification of Virtual Path Virtual Path

potential problems, Path Path

Line Line
• Assigning all VP and VC addressing for ATM
Section Section Section
switch and CPE, Photonic Photonic Photonic

• Performing Modifications to switch routing tables;

providing routing and configuration control, channel channel

• Optimizing throughput by modifying switch para-
meters and settings, and
SONET operates at multiples of the Synchronous
• Monitoring and analyzing network performance. Transport Signal level 1 (STS-1), which has a signal
rate of 51,840,000 bps (51.84 Mbps). This is the
signalling rate on the electrical connection side of the
interface which is converted to the same signalling rate
on the Optical Carrier level 1 (OC-1) side of the inter-

22 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 23

face. Each OC level is equivalent to 51.84 Mbps. switched to the protect fibers around the potential
Currently, the highest effective rate in the network is trouble spot, but still travels in the normal direction.
OC-48, or 2.4 Gbps.

Linear Deployment vs. Ring Deployment
SONET operates in several different modes. A Working Fiber

major distinction is whether the technology is deployed A C

Protect Fiber
in a linear fashion or as one of several ring types. A
linear deployment is vulnerable to interruption because D
the fiber cable has only a single path to the endpoints.
Some ring systems are relatively immune to interrup-
tion because of the multiple path access implied in the Sprint has not only deployed SONET in a
ring itself. ring architecture, it has deployed it in a
Surprisingly, the major carriers, with the exception four-fiber, bi-directional, line-switched ring
of Sprint, have built their networks using mostly linear configuration (4-FBLSR). In a 4-FBLSR
connectivity on their long haul inter-city sections. configuration, two fibers are in the working
Carriers are likely to do this because they build mode, sending and receiving traffic.
SONET over existing facilities that are already linear Meanwhile, two fibers are in the standby
in nature. As a result, cable cuts in these sections have mode, ready to reverse traffic in the event
resulted in chronic catastrophic outages for thousands of a fiber cut or electronics failure.
of users. This is being corrected as time goes on, but
Sprint has maintained a major service edge by its In a 4-FBLSR system, a particular ring can experi-
strategic decision to deploy only ring architectures ence multiple events yet still maintain service consis-
throughout its North American network. tency. These systems are able to maintain service in
approximately 60 milliseconds, depending on the size
of the ring.
Four-Fiber, Bi-Directional,
Line-Switched Rings
Service Consistency vs. Service
In addition, 4-FBLSR systems support both path Restoration
and ring switching. Ring switching is generally associ-
ated with interruptions such as fiber cuts. During a ring The key customer benefit of 4-FBLSR, is this
switch, traffic is routed from point A to point B in the service consistency, versus a service restoration para-
opposite direction it normally would travel. Path digm. In a service restoration paragidm, a failure
switching is generally associated with an electronics disconnects customers. The customer is at the mercy of
failure or general maintenance where the traffic is the carrier, which reconnects service either in several

24 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Technology Guide • 25

minutes or several hours. This paradigm is in use by
carriers that are deploying SONET in a linear configu-
ration. With 4-FBLSR, customers receive consistent
service—they never notice when there has been a American National Standards Institute
disruption on the network. (ANSI)—The coordinating body for voluntary
standards groups within the United States. ANSI is a
member of the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO).
Benefits of Unified ATM -
Asynchronous Balance Mode (ABM)—A commu-
SONET Architecture nication mode used in HDLC that allows either of two
workstations in a peer-oriented point-to-point configu-
It is clear that Sprint's revolutionary decision to ration to initiate a data transfer.
migrate their entire service structure to ATM and Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)—(1) The
SONET is leading the way for the conversion of the CCITT standard for cell relay wherein information for
entire network infrastructure. The rapid growth of the multiple types of services (voice, video, data) is conveyed
Internet can only be helped by the fast growing in small, fixed-size cells. ATM is a connection oriented
resource of ATM. Network bottlenecks caused by inad- technology used in both LAN and WAN environments.
equate facilities will give way to a ubiquitous, highly (2) A fast-packet switching technology allowing free allo-
reliable network that will translate into profitability and cation of capacity to each channel. The-SONET
new business opportunity. Carriers, such as Sprint, with synchronous payload envelope is a variation of ATM.
a total commitment to the ATM - SONET strategy are
leading the way for business and developers alike. Asynchronous Transmission—Data transmission
In addition, ATM will soon be deployed one character at a time, with intervals of varying
throughout the entire business community. Nearly 75% lengths between transmittals. Start and stop bits at the
of the Fortune 1000 companies plan to use the Wide beginning and end of each character control the trans-
Area ATM Network2. This will give impetus to the mission.
development of new applications and to the cost ATM Adaptation Layer (AAL)—Each AAL consists
reduction of ATM components. It is not too soon to of two sublayers: the segmentation and reassembly
consider ATM as a network solution. It is here now (SAR) sublayer and the convergence sublayer. AAL is a
and it works. set of four standard protocols that translate user traffic
from higher layers of the protocol stack into a standard
size and format contained in the payload of an ATM
cell and return it to its original form at the destination

2 Source: Forrester Research, 1995

26 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Glossary • 27

AAL 1 addresses CBR (constant bit rate) traffic cation; header validation and cell reception; cell routing
such as digital voice and video and is used for using VPIs/VCIs; cell multiplexing/demultiplexing;
applications that are sensitive to both cell loss and quality of service specification; prioritization and flow
delay and to emulate conventional leased lines. control.
AAL 2 is used with time-sensitive, variable bit rate ATM Peer-Peer Connection—Between adjacent
traffic such as packetized voice. devices; half duplex; built into ATM access device.
AAL 3/4 handles bursty connection-oriented Available Bit Rate (ABR)—A class of service in
traffic, such as variable-rate connectionless traffic, which the ATM network makes its "best effort" to meet
like LAN file transfers. It is designed for traffic that traffic bit rate requirements.
can tolerate some delay but not the loss of a cell.
Backward Explicit Congestion Notification
AAL 5 accommodates bursty LAN data traffic with (BECN)—A bit in the frame relay header. The bit is
less overhead than AAL 3/4. set by a congested network node in any frame which is
traveling in the reverse direction of the congestion. (In
ATM Application Program Interface
frame relay, a node can be congested in one direction of
(ATM API)—The specification that allows ATM appli-
frame flow but not in the other.)
cations to be written. No standard ATM Application
Programming Interface currently exists. Bandwidth on Demand (BoD)—Dynamic alloca-
tion of line capacity to active users, inherent in
ATM Data/Channel Service Unit (ATM
FastComm FRADs.
DSU/CSU)—Segments ATM-compatible information
into ATM cells and then reassembles them at their Bandwidth On Demand Interoperability Group
destination. (BONDING)—Makers of inverse muxes.
ATM Downlink—A 155-Mbps vertical link Basic Rate Interface (BRI)—ISDN standards and
containing one or more ATM virtual channels. specifications for provision of low-speed ISDN services.
Supports two "B" channels of 64 Kbps each and one
ATM Forum—The organization developing and
"D" channel of 16 Kbps on a single wire pair.
defining ATM standards. Members participate in
committees to vote on ATM specifications; audition Bit-Interleaved Parity (BIP)—A parity check that
members receive marketing and technical documenta- groups all the bits in a block into units (such as a byte)
tion; user members may participate only in end-user then performs a parity check for each bit position in a
roundtables. group For example, a BIP-8 created eight-bit (one byte)
groups, then does a parity check for each of the eight
ATM Layer—(1) Layer 2 of the ATM architecture.
bit positions in the byte.
Responsible for the creation and management of ATM
cells, including routing and error checking. Sometimes Bit-Oriented Channel—A SONET overhead
informally called the "Cell Layer". (2) The layer in the channel that codes the information it carries with
ATM protocol stack for routing and processing activities. simple protocols and binary coded bit patterns.
For example: building the ATM header; payload identifi-

28 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Glossary • 29

Bit Stuffing—The insertion of extra bits into a data Cell Delay Variation (CDV)—ATM performance
stream to avoid the appearance of unintended control parameter which specifies the potential variation (+/-)
sequences. from the expected average transit delay through the
network over a given virtual circuit.
Bit Synchronous—A way of mapping payload into
virtual tributaries that synchronizes all inputs into the Cell Error Ratio (CER)—ATM performance para-
Vts but does not capture any framing information or meter which specifies the ratio of errored cells to the
allow access to subrate channels carried in each input. total cells transmitted over a given virtual circuit.
For example, bit synchronous mapping of a channel-
Cell Information Field (CIF)—48 byte payload in
ized DS1 into a VT1.5 does not provide access to the
each cell (ATM).
DSO channels carried by the DS1.
Cell Layer—An informal name for the ATM Layer.
Broadband—A data-transmission scheme in which
multiple signals share the bandwidth of a medium. This Cell Loss Priority (CLP)—A 1-bit field in an ATM
allows the transmission of voice, data and video signals cell header that provides a two level priority indicator.
over a single medium. Cable television uses broadband Used to bias the discarding of cells toward lower
techniques to deliver dozens of channels over one cable. priority cells in the event of congestion. Similar to the
DE bit in frame relay.
Broadband Integrated Services Digital
Network (B-ISDN)—A technology suite designed for Cell Loss Ratio (CLR)—ATM performance para-
multimedia. The two transmission types are: ATM meter which specifies the ratio of lost (non-delivered)
(Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and STM (synchronous cells to the total cells transmitted over a given virtual
transfer mode). circuit.
Broadband Inter Carrier Interface (BICI)—A Cell multiplexing/demultiplexing—The ATM
carrier-to-carrier interface like PNNI (private network- layer function that groups cells from different virtual
to-network interface) but lacking some of the informa- paths or circuits and transmits them in a stream to the
tion offered by PNNI. Carriers are not likely to let their destination switch, where they are demultiplexed and
switches share routing information or detailed network routed to the appropriate end-points.
maps with their competition's equipment. BICI now Cell Relay—Network transmission format that uses
supports only permanent virtual circuits between small packets of the same size, called cells. The cells are
carriers; the ATM Forum's is currently addressing fixed-length and can be transmitted and processed by
switched virtual circuits. hardware at very high rates. Cell relay acts as a basis for
Carrierless Amplitude and Phase Modulation ATM.
(CAP)—A modem technique applied to 50 Mbit/s Cell Relay Service—A carrier service which supports
LAN. the receipt and transmission of ATM cells between end
Cell—For ATM, most vendors have agreed that this users in compliance with ATM standards and imple-
information "package" will be developed consisting of mentation specifications.
53 bytes or "octets". Of these, the first 5 constitute the
header; 48 carry the payload

30 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Glossary • 31

Cell Transfer Delay (CTD)—ATM performance Connection Identifier (CI)—Frame or cell address.
parameter which specifies the average transit delay of
Connectionless—The model of interconnection in
cells between a source and destination over a given
which communication takes place without first estab-
virtual circuit.
lishing a connection. Sometimes (imprecisely) called
Channelization—Division of an E1/T1 signal into datagram. Examples: Internet IP and OSI CLNP, UDP,
multiple data channels, which may or may not follow ordinary postcards.
time slot boundaries depending on the application.
Connection Management (CMT)—An FDDI
Circuit Emulation—A connection over a virtual process that handles the transition of the ring through
circuit-based network providing service to the end users its various states (off, active, connect, and so on), as
that is indistinguishable from a real, point-to-point, defined by the specification.
fixed-bandwidth circuit.
Connectionless Network (CLN)—Packet address is
Classical IP—Set of IETF-developed specifications unique and network routes all traffic.
for the operation of LAN-to-LAN IP connectivity over
ConnectionLess Transport Service (CLTS)—
an ATM network.
OSI datagram protocol.
Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR)—A
Connection-Oriented Architectures—Cell
method for using the existing 32-bit Internet Address
switching or packet multiplexing based on individual
Space more efficiently.
virtual circuits with virtual circuit identifiers. ATM is a
Clear Channel—An AM radio station that has almost connection-oriented technology.
exclusive use of its frequency at night. Such a station has
Connection-Oriented Convergence Function
a power up to 50 kilowatts and is protected from inter-
(COCF)—MAC-layer entity.
ference for a distance of up to 750 miles at night.
Connection-Oriented Network (CON)—Defines
Committed Information Rate (CIR)—The trans-
one path per logical connection.
port speed the frame relay network will maintain
between service locations. Connection-Oriented Network Service
(CONS)—An OSI protocol for packet-switched
Common Part AAL (CPAAL)—May be followed by
networks that exchange information over a virtual
a number to indicate type.
circuit (a logical circuit where connection methods and
Common Protocol Convergence Sublayer protocols are pre-established); address information is
(CPCS)—Pads PDU to N x 48 bytes, maps control exchanged only once. CONS must detect a virtual
bits, adds FCS in preparation for SAR. circuit between the sending and receiving systems
before it can send packets.
Connection Admission Control (CAC)—The
function of an ATM network which determines the Connectionless Architectures—Cell switching or
acceptability of a virtual circuit connection request and packet multiplexing that identifies individual network
determines the route through the network for such channels by global addresses rather than by predefined
connections. virtual circuits.

32 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Glossary • 33

Connectionless Network Protocol (CLNP)—The Explicit Forward Congestion Indicator
OSI protocol for providing the OSI Connectionless (EFCI)—A bit in the PTI field of the ATM cell header.
Network Service (data gram service). CLNP is the OSI The bit is set by a congested network node in any cell
equivalent to Internet IP, and is sometimes called ISO IP. passing through the node.
Connectionless Network Service (CLNS)— Explorer Super Frame (ESF)—Frame sent out by a
Packet-switched network where each packet of data is networked device in a source route bridging environ-
independent and contains complete address and control ment to determine the optimal route to another
information; can minimize the effect of individual line networked device.
failures and distribute the load more efficiently across
Forward Explicit Congestion Notification
the network.
(FECN)—A bit in the frame relay header. The bit is set
Connectionless Transport Protocol (CLTP)— by a congested network node in any frame which is
Provides for end-to-end Transport data addressing (via traveling in the same direction as the congestion. (In
Transport data addressing (via Transport selector) and frame relay, a node can be congested in one direction of
error control (via checksum), but cannot guarantee frame flow but not in the other).
delivery or provide flow control. The OSI equivalent of
Frame Relay Forum—A voluntary organization
composed of Frame Relay vendors, manufacturers,
Constant Bit Rate (CBR)—Delay intensive applica- service providers, research organizations, and users.
tions such as video and voice, that must be digitized and Similar in purpose to the ATM Forum.
represented by a continuous bit stream. CBR traffic
Generic Flow Control (GFC)—A 4-bit field in the
requires guaranteed levels of service and throughput.
ATM cell header. This field has only local, end-user
Control Packet Switching System (CPSS)— significance and must be set to '0000' on any cells trans-
Subnetwork of supervisory channels (Newbridge). mitted in an ATM network.
Controller Access Unit (CAU)—A managed Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)—An
concentrator on a token ring network—essentially, an organization that provides coordination of standards
intelligent version of an MAU. Handles the ring in/ring and specifications development for TCP/IP networking.
out function.
Internet Protocol (IP)—A Layer 3 (network layer)
Convergence Layer PDU (CS-PDU)—Info plus protocol that contains addressing information and some
new header and trailer to make packet that is control information that allows packets to be routed.
segmented into cells or SUs. Documented in RFC 791.
CRC Indication Bit (CIB)—1 if the CRC is present, IP and ARP over ATM—An adaptation of TCP/IP
0 if it is not used (SMDS). and its address resolution protocol (ARP) for ATM
defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force in
Data Link Connection Identifier (DLCI)—A
Requests for Comment 1483 and 1577. It places IP
value in frame relay that identifies a logical connection.
packets and ARP requests directly into protocol data
units (PDUs) and converts them into ATM cells.

34 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Glossary • 35

Multiprotocol encapsulation over ATM—The Sustainable Cell Rate (SCR)—Maximum
process for enabling an ATM device or application to throughput bursty traffic can achieve within a given
add a standard protocol identifier to the LAN data virtual circuit without cell loss.
which allows higher-layer protocols, such as IP, to be
Switched Virtual Circuit (SVC)—A virtual link,
routed over ATM.
with variable end-points, established through an ATM
Network Layer—Layer 3 of the OSI reference network. With an SVC, the user defines the end-points
model. Layer 3 is the layer at which routing occurs. when the call is initiated that are subsequently termi-
nated at the end of the call. With a PVC, the end-
Network-Network Interface (NNI)—Between
points are predefined by the network manager. A single
carriers or carrier and private net (FR).
virtual path may support multiple SVCs.
Peak Cell Rate (PCR)—Parameter defined by the
Synchronous Optical Network (SONET)—
ATM forum for ATM traffic management.
(1) A set of standards for transmitting digital informa-
Permanent Virtual Circuit (PVC)—A defined tion over optical networks. "Synchronous" indicates that
virtual link with fixed end-points that are set-up by the all pieces of the SONET signal can be tied to a single
network manager. A single virtual path may support clock. (2) A CCITT standard for synchronous transmis-
multiple PVCs. sion up to multigigabit speeds.(3) A standard for fiber
Private Network-to-Network Interface (P- optics.
NNI)—A routing protocol that allows multiple vendors' Variable Bit Rate (VBR)—Applications which
ATM switches to be integrated. It automatically and produce traffic of varying bit rates, like common LAN
dynamically distributes routing information, enabling applications, which produce varying throughput rates.
any switch to determine a path within the network.
Variable Bit Rate/non-real time (VBR/nrt)—
Quality Of Service (QOS)—Term for the set of One of five ATM Forum-defined service types.
parameters and their values which determine the Supports variable bit rate traffic with average and peak
performance of a given virtual circuit. traffic parameters which can tolerate variable but
Request for Comment (FRC)—The document predictable transit delays.
series, begun in 1969, which describes the Internet suite Variable Bit Rate/real time (VBR/rt)—One of
of protocols and related experiments. Not all (in fact five ATM Forum-defined service types. Supports vari-
very few) RFCs describe Internet standards, but all able bit rate traffic which requires strict timing control,
Internet standards are written up as RFCs. such as packetized voice or video, with average and
Segmentation And Reassembly (SAR) peak traffic parameters.
sublayer—Converts PDUs into appropriate lengths Virtual Channel—A defined route between two end
and then formats them to fit an ATM cell format. At nodes that may access multiple virtual paths.
the destination end-station, the SAR extracts payloads
Virtual Channel Connection (VCC)—Virtual
from the cells and converts them back into PDUs to be
channels in two or more sequential physical circuits can
ultimately used by applications.
be concatenated to create an end-to-end connection,

36 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Glossary • 37

called a VCC. A VCC is a specific instance of a SVC NOTES
or PVC. A VCC may traverse one end-to-end VPC or
several sequential VPCs.
Virtual Channel Identifier (VCI)—The 16-bit
number in an ATM cell header identifying the specific
virtual channel on which the cell is traversing on the
current physical circuit.
Virtual Circuit (VC)—(1) A portion of a virtual path
or a virtual channel used to establish a virtual connec-
tion between two end nodes. (2) Logical channels estab-
lished as a result of the call initiation procedure to a
network address that exists for a period of time.
Virtual Path Connection (VPC)—Virtual paths in
two or more sequential physical circuits can be concate-
nated to create a logical connection, called a VPC.
VPCs must be pre-configured. All cells traversing VCs
in a VPC are routed the same way.
Virtual Path Identifier/Virtual Channel
Identifier (VPI/VCI)—Combined, these fields iden-
tify a connection in the ATM network.
Virtual Path Link (VPL)—Between switches, may
carry many connections (ATM).
Virtual Tributary (VT)—A payload structure that
specifies where and how a sub-STS-1 signal will fit into
an STS-1 SPE.

38 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure Notes • 39


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40 • ATM - The Universal Infrastructure

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