Iso-Ethernet combines the best properties of current IEE 802 LAN and ISDN networks. Multimedia applications requiring isochronous channels can use any combination of ISDN B channels for audio and video according to the desired quality requested. Wide area interfaces from synchronous data channels such as Megastream or SMDS can be connected to the Iso-Ethernet Hub. Narrow band basic rate ISDN and Primary rate ISDN can provide Wide Area connections using Q.931 signalling. ATM protocols can be added. The cost of Iso-Ethernet connections will be targeted to be competitive with existing high speed Ethernet cards.
At least one video conferencing application developer has an interface in development for this type of LAN.
Such solutions are of limited applicability and have been superseded by the Iso-Ethernet LAN.
The implementation of an local ATM network requires an ATM switch connected to a high speed backbone. Initially users can remain on 10 Mbps Ethernet segments connected to the ATM switch. As requirements rise, direct higher speed native ATM connections can be provided. Use of existing applications that run well over Ethernet should be possible in the connection-less ATM class of service. effectively emulating an Ethernet LAN.
While some organisations will be able to provide optical fibre to the desk top for delivery of 155 Mbps, many have unshielded twisted pair (UTP) Ethernet LANs. The 25 Mbps specification may be worthwhile implementing in such situations if the cost of adapter cards and ATM switches is comparable with quality Ethernet cards. It is likely that the cost of implementing 51 Mbps over twisted pair cables will be considerably higher [CT95].
One such ATM adapter card for an ISA bus PC is able to operate over Category 3 UTP wiring. It provides NDIS-3 , ODI and native ATM socket type application programming interfaces. It is anticipated to cost around $400.
One pair of a cable is used for transmission, another for reception and token ring technology. ATM service classes are implemented in part by allowing different priority queues. Transmission is compatible with 16 Mbps Token ring physical components. A switch to support the adapters is available with 12 ports. Two port 155 Mbps modules are available for trunk connections. An Ethernet transparency module permits LAN emulation.
Obviously this type of low cost ATM implementation is very new and will require evaluation, but other vendors are certain to follow, so the option of low cost local ATM is a real possibility. At least one video conferencing application developer has an interface in development for this type of LAN.
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