A Silicon Valley start up is developing a family of asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) broadband access switches that can run over low cost digital subscriber line (DSL) technology.
Promatory Communications? new Intelligent Multi Service Access System (IMAS) provides full ATM switching, traffic management and quality of service (QoS) to guarantee bandwidth availability.
It also supports service level agreements (SLAs), and enables carriers and network service providers such as International Competitive Providers and Alternative Carriers to offer multiple services.
Promatory, which was set up by four former Netexpress executives, claims that IMAS also offers business users the same service and guaranteed performance levels as T1/E1, frame relay and ISDN, but at a lower cost because it is delivered using DSL technology.
But Steven Eich, Promatory's chairman and chief technology officer, said IMAS was based on ATM because it was the only technology good enough.
"Service level agreements require tight quality of service constraints and the only technology with a well-defined QoS is ATM. ATM is also the only DSL transport technology specified in the original joint procurement consortium specifications for DSLAM equipment," he explained.
The IMAS framework looks like a typical access multiplexer or small ATM switch for a central office, and is based on a midplane architecture with chassis switch and system switch cards at the centre of the system. The chassis is also surrounded by access line cards on either side.
However, Promatory has added software to the box, which enables it to set up proxy switched virtual circuits (SVCs) to mediate between true SVCs on a carrier or Internet backbone and permanent virtual circuits that go to each subscriber?s DSL modem.
According to Eich, IMAS?s entire software provisioning system is built from modular Java elements, "so that software packages are as 'hot-swappable' as the line cards."
But Nick Lippis, president of Strategic Networks Consulting, said: "The DSL market is constantly evolving, and survival of the fittest applies as more players emerge, big companies get involved and standards are adopted."
He added: "The ability to offer a solution with guaranteed bandwidth availability and business quality service will be of value to the service provider community and will uniquely position Promatory to be a contender."
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