Asynchronous Transfer Mode

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A high-performance network technology which, as its name suggests, relies on asynchronous communication. This technology uses fixed size packets known as cells. When data is sent using this method a connection is first established and all the cells that make up the data follow the same path through the network. The delivery of these cells is not guaranteed; however, the order in which they are sent is: a cell which is delivered is always received by the recipient computer after a received cell which was dispatched before it. Networks based on Asynchronous Transfer Mode, often known as ATM, are organized in the same way that wide area networks are organized: with transmission lines and routers. The technology is flexible and fast: flexible because it can handle data which is sent at a constant rate, such as audio data, as well as data sent at a variable rate; and fast because it is capable of speeds in the gigabits range. Although ATM is usually discussed in the context of wide area networks, it is also capable of being used as a base technology for local area networks which are increasingly finding their bandwidth being used up by more and more complex applications.

Subjects: Computing.

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