SONET Interconnect (was RE: MCI)

The discussions regarding ATM/SONET and IP over ATM are finally focused
on a fundamental issue:

Unless you begin building massive [native] long-haul ATM networks, this
is not an acceptable transport for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

- paul

IMHO, "... massive [native] long-haul ATM networks..." are aready
being put together (as we are doing) because:

(1) ATM is based on "good science" - a lot of people did a
    lot of good research before building the first ATM switch

(2) ATM is based on "good economics" - pay large $$ once to
    put fiber in the ground. Pay smaller $$ increments for
    speed improvements whenever you figure how to build better
    electronics at ether end of the glass.

(3) ATM is being supported by "good people" - I am not surprised
    by the hundreds of announcements comming from a variety of
    vendors. Can that many manufacturers be wrong? [I admit
    that a few are quite naive regarding impact of doing IP
    networks over ATM today.]

(4) ATM and IP are already enjoying "good success" together.
    We all hear about problems. Not enough is heard about
    success. [Not enough press sizzle]. I have encouraged
    all our vendors and customers to put their ATM success
    story on their WWW page. Guess what! Most are so busy
    with new business that they do not want to let their
    competition know how they are doing it.

Here at ATMNET we are biased in favor of using ATM for transport
of IP traffic as well as non-IP traffic. We are not stopping
at the use of ATM as our backbone technology. We provide ATM
all the way to the customer premises at OC3 (or higher) speeds.

IMHO, ATM and IP are *NOT* conflicting technologies. The common
goal is to produce a survivable, scaleable, robust networks.
The respective focus is on a different piece of the common problem.
Early ARPAnet researchers and TCP/IP network builders understood
that the protocol had to be independent of the host computers and
the transport mechanisms to endure. [Yes, I date myself with this
admission.] Today's commercial developers still understand
this natural division. As network operators we must contribute
to the continuing IP/ATM dialog and focus our unique perspectives
[i.e. operating profitably] on the common goal.

I think members of NANOG are correctly voicing concerns about
the future of both IP and ATM. BUT have you noticed that a lot
of ATM FORUM members are also the very same manufacturers who
provide us our IP based equipment?

Perhaps we all need to do a better job of telling our IP equipment
providers of our ATM concerns. This is my practice. Unfortunately,
the manufacturers could all improve their responsiveness to
today's IP routing probelms.

We try very hard to keep our vendors informed of our expectations
of them on ATM and IP matters. This way, they go the the ATM
working groups and fight for what *WE* want.


Mike Trest EMAIL:
ATMNET Voice: 619 643-1800 / 619 643-1805
5440 Morehouse Dr, #3700 Fax: 619 643-1801
San Diego, CA 92121 Ans/Page: 619 960 9070

In fact, this is getting boring. Your arguments sound convincing,
but don't really say anything else than "ATM is good". In
particular, the apparently wide "industry acceptance" is nothing else
than the outcome of the hysteria which invariably surrounds new,
flashy thingies that promise to solve all problems. It isn't the
first time that essentially non-functional, seriously flawed, and
ridiculously expensive technology is being pursued with great
vigour. It's techno-religion for the masses and the unwitting, and
the vendors are simply satisfying the demand -- they're in business,
after all, it's what vendors do (and that's fine with me).

The fundamental question which remains without an answer is this: In
which way do my packets benefit if transported by ATM? Is it
cheaper? Doesn't look like it. Do they travel faster? No. Can I
send more? No. Is it simpler? No, which means more failure modes
(historical evidence, if nothing else, is plentiful). Is it more
reliable than the alternatives? Probably not. So what do I stand to

To put it another way:

What problem does ATM solve that it's alternative doesn't, and what
problem does ATM create that it's alternative doesn't?

You can do your own cost-benefit analysis to determine if you are
interested in ATM.