Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) enables the statistical multiplexing of traffic over any network resource. Statistical multiplexing avoids the need to preallocate resources for a user, but allocates resources on-demand, providing bandwidth to users only when they need it. This allows the network to support more users (typically twice as many as a simple TDM network).
However, to succeed, an ATM network must be able to integrate traffic of all types into this single, integrated, statistically multiplexed stream. This means handling that most testing of traffic—voice. The transport of voice presents the network with a number of technical challenges; these must be successfully managed if the network is to provide an effective voice transport mechanism.
Today, through the work of the ATM Forum and its members, these issues have been addressed and it is possible to build and operate an ATM network to meet the needs of many types of voice application.
It is possible to build an ATM network to meet the VPN voice needs of an enterprise or the backbone transmission needs of national voice network. An ATM network can also be built to support a national cellular network or provide international voice transport.
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