At the Hewlett-Packard Co’s Network Briefing down in Grenoble, France, Asynchronous Transfer Mode was heralded as the networking technology of the future. Hewlett-Packard’s worldwide marketing manger for the Grenoble division, William Koenig, said that in developing Asynchronous Mode at the ATM Forum it was the first time that a telecommunications and computer company had agreed […]
At the Hewlett-Packard Co’s Network Briefing down in Grenoble, France, Asynchronous Transfer Mode was heralded as the networking technology of the future. Hewlett-Packard’s worldwide marketing manger for the Grenoble division, William Koenig, said that in developing Asynchronous Mode at the ATM Forum it was the first time that a telecommunications and computer company had agreed on something. But is Asynchronous Transfer Mode really that good? One of its main advantages is that it will provide dedicated bandwith for every user so you are always guaranteed space on the network. It also has scalable bandwith so that a user won’t take up unnecessary space on the network when using low-end applications. Asynchronous Transfer Mode is also the first networking technology that can be used equally as well for local networks, wide area networks and Metropolitan Area Networks, those that cover a town, campus or industrial complex. Asynchronous Mode also supports scalable speeds of 51Mbps to 2.4Gbps on anything from unshielded twisted pair to single and multinode fibre optic cable. However the technology can’t cope with mass data file transfers and more importantly the cost of installation does not make it a viable network technology for today’s users. This is why Hewlett-Packard predicts that it will not be widely used until 1997. When it does become affordable, Asynchronous Transfer will be useful for producing a virtual classroom environment, for example, because it provides transparent local-to-wide area network communications and sharing of speech, video and data traffic on the same network infrastructure. Similarly, it can be used for multimedia applications such as Video-conferencing and data applications that need more bandwidth. Hewlett-Packard plans to ship its ATM Adaptor for HP 9000 Series 700 workstations at the end of this year, while adaptors for the HP 9000 Series 800 servers will be available at the beginning of next year. The company estimates that we will see HP ATM Workgroup Switch and Management Applications and Legacy Connect Devices by mid-1995. Until then Hewlett believes that 100VG AnyLAN is what we all should be using. Hewlett believes 100VG AnyLAN – the VG stands for voice grade, is a bridge to ATM because it will push Ethernet and Token Ring to 100Mb capacity. Hewlett also says that it is very easy to integrate and migrate because 100VG AnyLAN uses existing bridges, routers and network management. According to the company, VG offers 10 times the data performance, low latency and traffic congestion control for multimedia applications, and prices only slightly higher than today’s Ethernet. However, this statement begs the question, is VG really necessary if you’re not using multimedia? The answer is, probably not, unless you plan to run colour printers from your network that need 24Mb to print a page, in which case extra bandwith is needed. If high-end usage is what you want Hewlett believes that Fibre Channel is the high performance interconnect for you. The company is keen to point out that it is a server technology designed to deliver information for video and graphics rather than a network technology like Asynchronous Transfer Mode. It has internetworking functions but can also handle networking.
Hewlett predicts that it will replace the SCSI Small Computer Systems Interface over a broad range of uses in the next few years. The first Fibre Channel product, the adaptor board for its HP 9000 Series 700 workstations, is due to be launched in late July. It will be followed by an HP Fibre Channel chip set in autumn and the Fibre Channel 16-port early next year.