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Tip of the Day
Language: Web Development
Expertise: Beginner
Apr 15, 1997

ATM LAN Emulation (LANE)

Question:
What is the importance of ATM LAN Emulation?

Answer:
Local Area Network Emulation (LANE) has been proposed as a way to bring the power of ATM to the user's desktop and local area network. As the name implies, the LAN is emulated; i.e., an entire local area network over ATM -- for instance, the Ethernet 802.3 or the 802.5 Token Ring LAN.

It is very important to note that the LANE standard defines an underlying interface for the network layer in the OSI reference model. There is no attempt to actually emulate the Media Access Control (MAC) layer protocol like CSMA/CD or token ring. Data that is received from the network layer is now encapsulated into a LAN MAC packet. Therefore, LANE will make ATM look and feel like an Ethernet or token ring LAN to the attached devices and provide the benefits of high-speed data transfer rates.

How does one bring ATM to the desktop? The answer lies in a combination of ATM network interface cards (NICs) and the associated ATM internetworking equipment such as ATM attached switches and routers. Therefore, ports on the switches can be assigned to virtual LANs along with ATM NIC-enabled workstations and servers.

How does all this affect the larger ATM picture, a mesh of ATM switches spread across the enterprise? Note the LANE protocol will not directly modify the overall ATM structure. It operates transparently through the ATM network. The cell relay operations that are the core of the ATM model will remain intact, as will the standard ATM signaling procedures. The LANE protocol operates under the network layer of the OSI model provides the mapping between MAC addresses and ATM addresses.

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