Optical/IP Networks

ATM's Not Dead!

9:00 AM -- Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) came to ATM's rescue at Wednesday's Light Reading Live event, "Backhaul Strategies for Mobile Operators: Europe," as Phil Tilley, Europe and South marketing VP for the vendor's IP division, was forced onto the back foot by conference moderator, Heavy Reading senior analyst Patrick Donegan. (See Backhaul Packs 'Em In and T-Mobile's Backhaul Bugbear .)

Earlier in the day, the London event's audience of about 150 had heard Martin Kingston, Orange UK 's senior designer for transport, say that, in the long-term, sticking with an ATM-based backhaul solution wasn't feasible as "no one is investing in next-generation ATM switches." As a result, MPLS-based aggregation and multiservice switches would, in time, replace ATM gear.

With Tilley on stage, Donegan decided to ask the Alcatel-Lucent man if Kingston was correct. Why ask him? Because Alcatel-Lucent's ATM gear is currently being used by hundreds of customers that are probably keen to know about the newly formed vendor's product development plans.

"We're still investing in ATM," proclaimed Tilley. "We have a large installed base, and with large installed bases comes investment." The company's ATM gear is not ready for end-of-life notices, he reassured the audience.

He did, though, agree with Kingston's basic premise that ATM developments wouldn't keep pace with MPLS and Ethernet in the future. ATM investments will lead to greater efficiencies and some feature enhancements, Tilley told EuroBlog, but he was unaware of any plans to build anything like what Kingston would regard as next-generation.

So there you have it. ATM's not dead. Yet.

— Ray Le Maistre, Ancient Technologies Editor, Light Reading

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