What Is Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) & How Does It Work [MiniTool Wiki]

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An Introduction to Asynchronous Transfer Mode

Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) is a high-speed, broadband transmission data communication technology that is based on packet switching. It is a telecommunications standard that is defined by ANSI and ITU (International Telecommunication Union) standards.

The ATM networks can carry user traffic such as telephony (voice), data, as well as video signals. The ATM technology is developed for meeting the demands of Broadband Integrated Services Digital Network and integrating telecommunication networks.

what is asynchronous transfer mode

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The ATM is also built for networks that can cope with conventional high-throughput data traffic and real-time, low-latency content like voice and video. How does this mode function? Where it can be used to? MiniTool will talk about these questions in the content below. Please keep reading the post.

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How Does Asynchronous Transfer Mode Work

How does this ATM work? As you know, ATM is a switching technique that is used by telecommunication networks. The technique utilizes asynchronous time-division multiplexing to encode data into tiny and fixed-sized cells. It may be slightly different from its literal meaning – asynchronous.

It indicates that the ATM connections are predictable and easy to be taken control of. Hence, no single data type or connection can monopolize the transmission path. That is different from Ethernet or Internet.

These two kinds of networks use variable packet sizes for data or frames. Asynchronous transfer mode is the core protocol that is used in the synchronous optical network backbone of the integrated digital services network.

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The Application of Asynchronous Transfer Mode

Asynchronous transfer mode is widely used in the daily life. Where is this ATM networking mainly applied to? It can be used as ATM WANs, multimedia virtual private networks and managed services, frame relay backbone, residential broadband networks and carrier infrastructure for phones and private line networks.

You can check the details for each in the following content.

ATM WANs: It can be used as a WAN to send cells over long distances. It can also be used as a router serving as an end-point that has two stacks of protocol between the ATM network and other networks.

Multimedia virtual private networks and managed services: Asynchronous transfer mode is helpful for managing ATM, LAN, voice and video services. Besides, it also helps in managing full-service virtual private-networking including integrated access of multimedia.

Frame relay backbone: Generally speaking, Frame relay backbone services are used as a networking infrastructure for a series of data services. In addition, this service can enable frame relay ATM service to Internetworking services.

Residential broadband networks: ATM can supply networking infrastructure to the establishment of residential broadband services to find some highly scalable solutions.

Carrier infrastructure for phones and private line networks: If you want to make full use of SONET/SDH fiber infrastructure, you can try building the ATM infrastructure that is used to carry the telephonic and private-line traffic.

Read here, you may know the specific application of asynchronous transfer mode, which helps you get a further understanding of this mode.

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Asynchronous Transfer Mode Advantages and Disadvantages

The ATM networking stands out because of these advantages. At first, it offers high-speed, fast-switched integrated data, voice, and video communication. Secondly, it can replace the existing telephony networks infrastructure.

Thirdly, it can interoperable with standard LAN/WAN technologies. Besides, it is QoS oriented and high speed. More importantly, it can enable effective use of network resources by using bandwidth on demand concept.

Of course, it has some disadvantages as well. For example, it is overhead of cell header (5 bytes per cell), has complex mechanisms to achieve QoS. The congestion can cause cell loss. An ATM switch is very expensive compared with the LAN hardware. Since ATM technology is a connection oriented one, the setup time and tear down time is longer than the time to use it.

All the asynchronous transfer mode advantages and disadvantages have been analyzed for you.

The Bottom Line

Up to now, the definition, working principles, applications and pros and cons of asynchronous transfer mode have been introduced. After reading the post, you may have a deep and comprehensive understanding of ATM technology. Here comes the end of this post.

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