Computer Laboratory

Technical reports

Performance management in ATM networks

Simon Andrew Crosby

April 1996, 215 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted May 1995 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the University of Cambridge, St John’s College.


The Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) has been identified as the technology of choice amongst high speed communication networks for its potential to integrate services with disparate resource needs and timing constraints. Before it can successfully deliver integrated services, however, significant problems remain to be solved. They centre around two major issues. First, there is a need for a simple, powerful network service interface capable of meeting the communications needs of new applications. Second, within the network there is a need to dynamically control a mix of diverse traffic types to ensure that they meet their performance criteria.

Addressing the first concern, this dissertation argues that a simple network control interface offers significant advantages over the traditional, heavyweight approach of the telecommunications industry. A network control architecture based on a distributed systems approach is presented which locates both the network control functions and its services outside the network. The network service interface uses the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) paradigm and enables more complicated service offerings to be built from the basic primitives. A formal specification and verification of the user-network signalling protocol is presented. Implementations of the architecture, both on Unix and the Wanda micro-kernel, used on the Fairisle ATM switch, are described. The implementations demonstrate the feasibility of the architecture, and feature a high degree of experimental flexibility. This is exploited in the balance of the dissertation, which presents the results of a practical study of network performance under a range of dynamic control mechanisms.

Addressing the second concern, results are presented from a study of the cell delay variation suffered by ATM connections when multiplexed with real ATM traffic in an uncontrolled network, and from an investigation of the expansion of bursts of ATM traffic as a result of multiplexing. The results are compared with those of analytical models. Finally, results from a study of the performance delivered to delay sensitive traffic by priority and rate based cell scheduling algorithms, and the loss experienced by different types of traffic under several buffer allocation strategies are presented.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Crosby, Simon Andrew},
  title = 	 {{Performance management in ATM networks}},
  year = 	 1996,
  month = 	 apr,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-393}