Designing ATM Switching Networks

Main Article Content

Mounir Hamdi


Mobsen Guizani and Ammar Rayes 
McGraw-Hill Series on Computer Communications McGraw-Hill, New York, 
NY, 1999, 224 pp.
ISBN 0-07-025217-3, $59.95

Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) has emerged in the 1980s as a promising transfer mode for high speed computer networking, particularly for Broadband Integrated Services Digital Network (B-ISDN) systems. The motivations for this new emerging technology arise from the promising advantages provided by ATM such as statistical multiplexing, high speed switching capabilities, inter-operability, portability, reliability and its support for conventional, real time and non-real time multimedia and Internet applications.

The composition of traffic carried by ATM networks is a mixture of low speed voice and data, along with high speed video, image, and interactive traffic. The development of efficient ATM traffic management and network (switching and transmission) design methods rely heavily on understanding of Quality of Service requirements of various services and the traffic characteristics.

Managing the service quality in the ATM networks is a complex and essential task for network engineers and service provider companies. The development of appropriate traffic and capacity management models and methods depends crucially on a clear understanding of Quality of Service requirements, statistical characteristics of the traffic, and performance evaluation methods.

While there is over one hundred years of experience in voice networks, little is known about the networks that carry a mixture of voice, data, video, and interactive traffic. Due to the interactions among these traffic streams, routing involves complex decision rules that are tightly intertwined; it is critical to understand such interactions, and thereby decouple the decision rules in order to crystallize the essence of routing polices being formulated.

Due to the importance of this subject for both industry and research areas, the need for a book that covers these subjects in details arises. Throughout the book entitled Designing ATM Switching Networks, major concepts are first explained in a simple non-mathematical way. This followed by careful descriptions of the modeling issues and then mathematical analysis. The analysis to be gained are explained and examples are given to clarify the more subtle issues.

The book stresses the fundamentals of ATM operations, switch architecture and functions, protocol modeling, Quality of Service requirements, traffic modeling and control, fault tolerant, traffic and capacity management functions, and routing. The book provides the fundamental concepts necessary for the traffic management, design, use, performance issues and implementation of ATM networks.

ATM routing algorithms are introduced and then analyzed in the book. Moreover, the authors present algorithms to evaluate the performance of the routing schemes presented and compares them against simulation results. Since optical networks are a potential candidates for future telecommunication infrastructure, an overview of optical ATM networks is presented in the book. it introduces the advantages of optical technology and the architecture of ATM optical switches designed by different scientists. Recent projects developed in this area are also presented.

The book compares different modeling techniques to evaluate the performance of computer communication networks to direct measurement techniques. Then, introduces analytical modeling and queuing networks. Alter that a review of the discrete time arrival processes is presented. Finally, different types of stochastic processes and the analysis of a single MINI/I queue, MID/i, and network of queues are summarized. In addition, the book covers a review of the main advantages and disadvantages for the use of simulation to perform the analysis of computer communication networks is done. Some of the commercial software packages that are used to perform such simulation studies and the main features that are supported by each package are reviewed.

Finally, the book discusses most of the required traffic measurements and the transport performance objectives for broadband switching systems as specified in Bellcore Generic Requirements.

This book is meant to be used as a reference for systems designers, hardware and software engineers, R&D managers, and market planners who seek an understanding of local and wide area broadband networks. The first part of the book (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10) can be used for an undergraduate senior course. The second part (Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10) can be used for a graduate course with emphasis on research topics in the field. There are many research ideas open problems presented in chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Problems at the end of each are not available at this point, but authors are producing a set of problems that can be supplied to whoever will be using the book for teaching a course.

Overall, I found the book extremely useful both in its fundamental and practical treatment of ATM networks. Such a dual purpose is lacking from current books on the topic. As a result, I strongly urge researchers working on this area and students wanting to know more about this topic to take a look at this book. It will be all the help that they can get.

Mounir Hamdi
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China

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