Global ATM Networks (GANs) : Technical Issues for Multimedia Applications

Andres Albanese, ICSI

Internet has evolved into a global network driven by multiple applications that enable users to access global information and to reach level of productivity much higher than those achieved over local and metropolitan area networks. A key factor for the evolution of a network is its simplification to achieve connectivity on a global scale and to support the many applications, service providers, and equipment manufacturers. This global connectivity is being address by the deployment of an ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) service widely supported by the telecommunication and computer industry to provide connectivity from local to global dimensions.

Recently, there has been a large interest in developing commercial applications requiring a service with warranties in quality of services (QOS) beyond the capabilities of the "best effort service" offered by the Internet of today.

Such warranties in QOS have been difficult to achieve in a global area network scenario because of the many barriers caused by the heterogeneity of hosts and diverse pricing policy of communication services, and various other various issues that show up in different places and at different times. Solutions based in realtime protocols and resource allocation policies have not scale up due to the large numbers of administration domains.

In spite of the lacking of a total solution, Global ATM Networks are being deployed to support group interactions at large, but, there are several issues that have to be addressed for their success in achieving high utilization and low cost. Information must be compressed, and encoded to be resilient to unforeseen events and to allow for information recovery under packet loss conditions.

ICSI is exploring solutions for sharing multimedia applications over a Global Area Network to determine the impact of computer supported collaborative work in the commercial environment. Here is a list of technical issues being addressed at ICSI.