Optical/IP Networks

CeBIT Debate: ATM Versus Ethernet

One of the highlights of the CeBIT exhibition this year will be a debate on the pros and cons of Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) and Ethernet for dealing with the bottlenecks that are occurring in access networks as a result of the widespread deployment of DSL (digital subscriber line) technology.

The live debate will take place at 11:30 to 12:30 on Thursday, March 13th, at the Network Information Center in Hall 15, Stand 14. Attendance is free of charge.

The moderator will be Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading, the technology news Website with the largest readership among service providers in the world.

The speakers will include: Background

The continuing rollout of DSL is generating huge amounts of traffic on carrier networks, not only because lots of DSL lines are being installed every day but because DSL users stay on the Internet longer and make greater use of higher-bandwidth media, such as music and video.

This is creating big bottlenecks upstream of DSLAMs (DSL access multiplexers), where the traffic from thousands of DSL lines converges and is then carried to a broadband remote access server (B-RAS), the gateway to high-capacity Internet backbones.

The problem is that DSL lines don’t generate a lot of revenues, so service providers are looking for a low-cost way of upgrading this stretch of the network. Some equipment vendors argue that the latest developments in last-mile Ethernet provide a perfect solution. Other vendors take the opposite stance, saying that carriers won’t find it economic to rip out what’s already there -- ATM. They also say Ethernet still can’t match ATM in terms of guaranteeing quality of service and giving carriers the tools they need to manage their networks.

Background Reading

  • Ericsson Launches Ethernet DSL Push
  • Siemens Is Shaping Up
  • First-Mile Ethernet Camps Dig In
  • Hatteras Bucks Up for RBOC Campaign
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