Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

The structure of open ATM control architectures

Sean Rooney

November 1998, 183 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted February 1998 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the University of Cambridge, Wolfson College.

DOI: 10.48456/tr-451


The design of networks capable of supporting a large number of different services is one of the principal areas of network research. ATM, by virtue of its ability to give resource guarantees to arbitrary services, is likely to become the transport protocol for high-speed service-independent networks. The ATM control plane — handling as it does the needs of many distinct services with diverse constraints — is necessarily complex. The approach adopted by industry has been to try and adopt the techniques used to control the telephony network to ATM.

This dissertation argues that current monolithic ATM signalling standards reduce the service support flexibility that was the principal motivating factor behind the introduction of ATM. It argues that a more open approach is required if ATM is to be able to meet the demands of a decentralised, deregulated service provision market.

A natural approach in handling complex systems is to divide them into simpler elements. This dissertation considers two types of separation. Firstly it shows how a clean separation can be made between the ATM control plane and the switch, allowing them to be implemented and evolve independently. Secondly, as a consequence of the clear separation of the controller from the switch, it demonstrates how several distinct control architectures can coexist simultaneously on the same physical network, removing the need for one single monolithic control architecture and allowing network operators to choose the control architecture most appropriate for their purposes.

The utility and practicality of this approach are demonstrated through the description of the structure of a switch-independent control architecture which efficiently implements a complete range of ATM control operations. Such a control architecture is more versatile than conventional signalling systems, while the environment in which it executes allows both standard and proprietary signalling systems to coexist.

Network robustness is of primary importance for large scale commercial networks. This dissertation shows how management of an open control network can be made less centralised and more adaptive. These qualities are particularly important in an environment in which there may be many network operators managing distinct networks simultaneously.

Full text

Only available on paper (could be scanned on request).

BibTeX record

  author =	 {Rooney, Sean},
  title = 	 {{The structure of open ATM control architectures}},
  year = 	 1998,
  month = 	 nov,
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  address =	 {15 JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0FD, United Kingdom,
          	  phone +44 1223 763500},
  doi = 	 {10.48456/tr-451},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-451}