NEC and Cisco are leading an EC-backed project to develop a standard for IP over ATM. The resulting technology will be used to deliver real time multimedia applications over the Internet.
Alcatel's Belgian unit is understood to be the third main partner in the project, but the company would not confirm this.
The European Commission is to fund 50 per cent of the cost of the two-year programme, which will begin in March. The results will be forwarded to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards body, which is defining a specification for IP switching.
The three firms will submit their respective IP switching technologies to test how they can be used together to support multimedia applications as well as integrate Wan resource management.
Among the IP technologies tested will be Cisco?s Tag Switching, NEC?s Ipsofacto and a product still under development at Alcatel.
The project will involve six European sites, testing the use of different IP switching technologies as access nodes.
Heinrich Stuttgen, manager of NEC?s computer and communication research laboratory, said: ?ATM is a connection oriented network architecture and IP is a connectionless network technology that evolved from the data communications area. The challenge is how to run IP over ATM efficiently.?
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