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Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)

ATM is called Cell Relay Designed by the ATM Forum Adopted by ITU-T Designed for modern propagation media eg. Fiber Attempt to provide high data rates. Attempt to be compatible with existing systems. Meant to be the back bone of data networks. ATM is connection oriented protocol.

ATM (contd.)
Problems with existing packet networks Variable packet sizes in different protocols. Header takes space and header size not fixed. A large header is wasteful. Large data field sometimes wasteful. Different packet sizes makes switching complicated and inefficient at Multiplexers, Routers, etc. A variety of packet sizes can make network traffic unpredictable. With different protocols, a packet can be as large as 65,545 bytes or as small as 200 bytes.

ATM (contd.)
Internetworking among different packet networks (carrying packets of different protocols) is slow and cumbersome With different packet sizes, priority cannot be implemented properly at multiplexing units. To be able to fully utilize the available bandwidth of a transmission facility, it should be able to be shared with all available traffic. Real time traffic ( audio, video, etc.) are usually made of small packets. Mixing them with normally large data packets makes shared packet links unusable for audio and video information and thus makes real time traffic unviable.

Cell Networks
Cell is a small data packet of fixed size. It can be used as a basic unit of data exchange. All data are loaded into identical cells As packets of different sizes and formats arrive at a cell network, they are broken down to cells. Cells are then multiplexed and routed through the cell network to their destinatins. Since all cells are of the same size multiplexing and switching devices can operate efficiently. If cells of a traffic stream is allowed to pass through without long gaps, it can appear as continuous traffic (at destination).

Cell Networks (contd.)

Because of fixed cell size, switching devices can operate taking a cell as a unit rather than a bit. This makes the switching operations possible at hardware level, which makes the switches fast and efficient. Cell multiplexing done asynchronously. That is each out put slot (which has a space for a cell) is filled with a cell taken from any input that has cells. If no cells are present at input lines, then empty slots flow in the output line.

ATM Architecture
In ATM network, the user access devices are called the User Network Interface (UNI). The switching points in the network (nodes) are called Network-to-Network Interface (NNI). Cell networks are based on Virtual Circuits. All cells belonging to a single message follow the same VC and arrive at the destination in the original order. Virtual Circuit makes an end-to-end (virtual) connection. Virtual Path is formed by a bundle of VCs (over some section of the network) which share the transmission fiacility.

Virtual Circuit and Virtual Path Identifiers

ATM connections are identified by their Virtual Circuit/Virtual Path identifiers. There is a hierarchy in these Identifiers. VPI defines the Virtual Path that carries the virtual circuit and the VCI defines the particular VC contained in the VP. Dividing the identifier into two parts is done to ease routing of ATM cells. Thus, a virtual connection is defined by a pair of numbers: The VPI and the VCI.

VPs and VCs (contd.)

Lengths of VPIs are different at UNI and NNI interfaces. At a UNI a VPI is 8 bits. At a NNI a VPI is 12 bits. The length of a VCI is the same at both UNI and NNI, and is 16 bits. Therefore, a VC is identified by a group of 24 bits at a UNI and by a group of 28 bits at a NNI. At UNI VPI (8 bits) VCI (16 bits) At NNI VPI (12 bits) VCI (16 bits)

Cell Format
Cell is 53 bytes long. It contains a header of 5 bytes. This leaves a 48 byte payload (for user data). Most of the header is occupied by the VPI and VCI. Cell Foramt: | VPI | VCI | Payload | |- - 5 bytes - -|- 48 bytes - -|

Header contains VPI and VCI.

PVCs and SVCs

Similar to other connection oriented protocols, ATM has Permanent and Switched Virtual connections. PVCs are permanently set up and their values of VPI+VCI are entered in lookup tables at the ATM switches. SVCs involve establishment and release of a virtual connection every time it is used. For this ATM layer requires the services of the Network layer. The end to end network layer addresses are provided by the network layer. The actual mechanism of connection establishment/release depends on the network layer protocol.

ATM Switching
Types of ATM switches: VP Switch VPC Switch VP switch routes the cell using the VPI. The value of the VCI stays unchanged across the switch. VPC switch routes the cell using both VPI and VCI. Both VPI and VCI values are changed across the switch. Most of the switches in an ATM network are VP switches. Since they need only to lookup for VPI the switching operation is more efficient.

ATM Switch Fabrics

The aim of ATM is to increase the data rate To achieve 155 Mbps, it requires 350,000 cells per sec. to pass through a switch. ATM switches are synchronized. A switch has a clock and at each tick it delivers a cell (from its input to its output). Switching hardware: Cross bar switch Banyan switch (Multi-stage switch) Batcher-Banyan switch reduces blocking probability

ATM Layers
ATM defines 3 layers: Application Adaptation Layer ATM Layer Physical Layer End points use all 3 layers. Switches use only the 2 bottom layers. Application Adaptation Layer (some times called the ATM Adaptation Layer) accepts packets from upper layers and map them into fixed size ATM cells. These packets (coming from layers above) could be carrying traffic of any type: voice, data, audio, video, etc.

ATM Data Types

ATM Adaptation Layer divides traffic into 4 different categories: Constant Bit Rate (CBR) traffic Variable Bit Rate (VBR) traffic Connection Oriented Packet Data traffic Connectionless datagram traffic There is no unique agreement about these divisions. AAL3 and AAL4 traffic above are usually considered as of same type and called AAL3/4 traffic.

ATM Data Types AAL1

For functional purposes, the activity in ATM Adaptation Layers (in each category) are divided into tow sub-layers: Convergence Sublayer (CS). Segmentation and Reassembly (SAR) sublayer. The convergence sublayer divides the bit stream into 47-byte segments and passes them to the SAR sublayer below. The SAR sublayer accepts the 47-byte payload from CS and adds a one byte header. The resulting 48-byte payload is passed onto the ATM layer. ATM layer adds a 5-byte header to complete the cell.

ATM Data Types AAL1 (cotd.)

The header byte added in the SAR sublayer has the following fields: Convergence Sublayer Identifier (CSI) 1 bit Sequence Count (SC) 3 bits modulo 8 sequence number that could be used for end-to-end flow control of cells Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) 3 bits provides a limited error correction capability. Employs the polynomial x3 + x + 1. Parity (P) 1 bit Parity check for the first 7 bits of byte. Along with 3 CRC bits it can correct one bit error.

ATM Data Types AAL2

This is intended for Variable Bit Rate traffic. A 45 byte payload is taken from the Convergence Sublayer. The Segmentation and Reassembly sublayer then adds 1 byte header and 2 byte trailer. The header byte contains Convergence Sublayer Identifier (CSI) (1 bit), Sequence Count (SC) (3 bits), Information Type (IT) (4 bits) First 6 bits of the trailer is Length Indicator (LI). This indicates whether padding is there in the last cell. Last 10 bits are a CRC for the entire data unit. This can correct one bit error.

ATM Data Types AAL2 (contd.)

AAL2 Data Unit: Header (1 byte) Payload (45 bytes) Header: CSI (1 bit) SC (3 bits) IT (4 bits) Trailer: LI (6 bits) CRC (10 bits)

Trailer (2 bytes)

ATM Data Types AAL3/4

AAL3 was meant for Connection Oriented traffic and AAL4 for Connectionless traffic originally. But later they were put in the same category. Convergence Sublayer accepts packets up to 65536 bytes from upper layers, and adds a 4 byte Header and a 4 byte trailer. Header and the trailer indicates the beginning and the end of the message. Header (4 bytes) Message (<= 65536 bytes) Trailer (4 bytes) Convergence Sublayer then passes to Segmentation and Reassembly sublayer 44 byte segments.

ATM Data Types AAL3/4 (contd.)

The SAR sublayer adds a 2 byte header and a 2 byte trailer to each 44 byte segment coming from CS. The Header contains 4 fields: Segment Type (ST), Convergence Sublayer Identifier (CSI), Sequence Count (SC), Multiplexing ID (MID) ST (2 bits) CSI (1 bit) SC (3 bits) MID (10 bits) ST tells whether the segment belongs to the beginning, middle, or end of a message, or is a single segment message.

ATM Data Types AAL3/4 (contd.)

The Trailer consists of 2 fields: Length Indicator (LI) 6 bits CRC 10 bits LI is used along with ST to determine how much of the last segment is padding. AAL5 AAL5 is called Simple and Efficient Adaptation Layer (SEAL). It is meant for ATM backbones and point-to-point links. CS adds an 8 byte trailer (and padding if necessary) to the message and passes it in 48 byte segments to SAR.

ATM Layer
ATM layer provides routing, traffic management, switching, and multiplexing services. Accepts 48 byte segments from AAL and add 5 byte header to form a 53 byte cells. ATM has two header formats: for UNI interface, for NNI interface. UNI interface has a field for Generic Flow Control (GFC). This 4 bit field provides flow control at the UNI level. It is considered as not necessary at the NNI level.

ATM Layer (contd.)

Format at UNI interface: GFC (4bits) VPI (4 bits) VPI (4 bits) VCI (4 bits) VCI (8 bits) VCI (4 bits) PT(3) CLP(1) HEC (8 bits) Payload (48 bytes) In Payload Type (PT), the first bit defines whether it is user or system data. If user data, next bit gives congestion status, and the last indicates signaling status.

ATM Layer (contd.)

If system data, the next two bits define the type of system data as follows: link associated management end-to-end management resource management reserved Cell Loss Priority (CLP) provides congestion control. When congestion takes at a switch, the cell will be dropped if this bit is set to 0. Header Error Check (HEC) applied for first 4 bytes of header.