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July 13, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

Hard on the heels of 3Com Corp, IBM Corp yesterday announced its Asynchronous Transfer Mode strategy, which takes an end-to-end approach, ranging from ATM chips to high speed switches and software for network management. High-speed Asynchronous Transfer Mode switching is seen as the most promising technology for transmission of mixed media information – sound, video, text and data. The company says it has developed a new high-speed networking architecture, dubbed Broadband Network Services, which provides control and management functions. According to the company, this addresses areas that fall outside basic Asynchronous Transfer Mode standards, such as control point, access and transport services. IBM says the architecture will be offered to the industry as Asynchronous Transfer Mode standards are refined. IBM has also developed a transmission technology for the chips to be used in its Asynchronous Mode adaptors, which will enable its local network adaptors to offer high speed Asynchronous Transfer networking – up to 155Mbps – over unshielded, twisted-pair wiring, it says; local network adaptors will be the first ATM-based products released. The company also has a new chip that it claims will give its Asynchronous Transfer Mode switches unprecedented scalability. Based on a new switch technology, the chip incorporates more than 2m transistors and is claimed to have a throughput of over 8Gbps. It will appear in the Asynchronous Transfer Mode-capable intelligent hub IBM is jointly developing with Chipcom Corp, announced last September. The move into switching will see IBM pitching to major telephone companies in competition with the established players such as AT&T Co, Northern Telecom Ltd, Alcatel NV, Siemens AG and L M Ericsson Telefon AB. The base for IBM’s wide-area Asynchronous Mode offering is a Transport Network Node. Advantis Inc, the joint private network venture between IBM and Sears, Roebuck & Co, already has plans to build an Asynchronous Transfer backbone network using this. The roll-out for the new products will start at InterOp in San Francisco next month, where the local network adaptors will be demonstrated, and they will also feature at InterOp Europe in Paris, together with an intelligent hub, in October. The adaptors will be available in the first half of next year, followed by the hub. The wide-area transport network node will follow late next year. IBM’s first Asynchronous Transfer Mode-capable versions of NetView will be ‘tied closely to that schedule’. No specific dates have been announced. IBM is at pains to emphasise its broad, long-term commitment to Asynchronous Transfer Mode. It says that it is doing more than adding ATM capabilties to its products and will eventually base an entirely new family of products around ATM. It adds that it has made 47 submissions to the ATM Forum, which .lh 6advises on standards definition.

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