A Practical Navigator for the Internet Economy

John Curran: Has the Internet Rendered ATM Irrelevant? pp. 1 - 9, 24

In a long interview, John Curran the CTO of BBN, Planet describes BBN's major use for ATM as being transport between routers within a single point of presence. He doubts the viability of SVCs because work on application programming interfaces is going no where. Why? because there is no demand since all applications are made first to run over TCP/IP. While ATM was planned in the late 80's and began implementation in the very early 90s, the explosion of the Internet in the mid 90s has made ATM irrelevant. John compares ATM to ISDN - used in some areas, but really nothing more than a niche application. He believes that RSVP, as TCP/IP bandwidth reservation protocol, will obviate the need to end user controlled SVCs.

Most people making use of ATM for high speed IP networks are simply using the ATM for large backbone data transport with PVCs going across the mesh and without taking advantage of all the capabilities that ATM offers. The reason is that IP, by definition, does not offer any interface to such ATM capabilities. There is no way right now to send an IP packet and say this packet is a constant bit rate packet and have it mapped to the ATM fabric. According to Curran: "With some of the technology being tested now (RSVP), we will soon be able reserve bandwidth across the network layer. But then you are back to the question of asking if RSVP works independently of underlying transport, why am I using the ATM?"

While, in some situations, ATM may have some utility as a means of backbone transport, John points out that there are people working on running ATM directly over SONET as a long term solution to the requirements both of higher bandwidth and the desire to avoid ATM's cell tax.


Hans Werner Braun Leaves SDC for Teledesic, p. 9

The friction that surfaced a year ago with General Atomic's loss of its share of the InterNic Cooperative Agreement has spilled over into the San Diego Supercomputer Center as a whole, with many of the top people quiting GA and going to work for University of California San Diego. Influenced in part by the deteriorating situation, Hans Werner Braun has left SDSC and joined Teledesic as its network architect.


BBN Pushing Commercial Availability for RSVP for Early 97 pp. 10 -12, 24

We interview Richard Blatt, BBN's RSVP product manager. BBN, Cisco and Intel have a project designed to make bandwidth-on-demand commercially available as soon as possible via the Internet protocol RSVP. A commercial implementation of RSVP would have the same general uses as end-user controllable, ATM Switched Virtual Circuits. If successful, some believe it would spell the end for the commercial viability of ATM in the Internet marketplace.


Sprint Executives Discuss New Backbone Implementation and ATM, pp. 13 -15

According to Dominick DeAngelo Sprint remains committed to an ATM implementation plan announced in the summer of 1993. However, until ATM standards mature, SprintLink will do little ATM adoption. Instead it has increased its backbone capacity by addition additional routers, and circuits to backbone POPs. FDDI rings have been bolstered by the addition of Giga switches. The new architecture gives Sprint 90 megabit-per second bandwidth capacity compared to MCI's OC3 which, because of the ATM "cell tax," may only be about 120 megabits per second.


Future Architecture - Huge Transit Backbones or Fine Mesh & Many Naps? pp. 16 - 17

Complaints about constraints on and inadequate investment in Internet infrastructure continue. Founding the Internet in the United States on five to six default free backbones engineered to differing capacities seems to have produced complaints from some of the top providers that their resource investments are not adequately compensated. At the same time these providers who are at the top of the Internet pyramid continue to be very picky about those providers with whom they will peer at the major public exchange points. Given this pickiness, some doubt the continued viability of public exchange points. However, for those who would like to see the public exchanges become viable, one very good sign in April was Sprint's commitment to start using the Routing Arbiter.


What's Wrong With NII Policies? pp. 18 - 20

In early April we started a conference devoted to a discussion of what we call Local Information Infrastructure (LII). We are contrasting LII to National Information Infrastructure as being far more desirable than federally funded projects which far too often go to vested interests in the stockholder's bottom line rather than in creating and infrastructure that is owned, operated, and controlled by the local community. The interests of a community far too often are defined by whatever group with either a national corporate of a self serving local institutional agenda can get to the grants disbursing agency first. Jeff Michka, a Washington state community activist, outlines for us, the unholy alliance between between self appointed community groups that specialize in getting grants and public officials and industry.


Access Indiana Policy Clarified, pp. 20-22

The Director of Indiana's Intelenet Commission describes the commission's role and legislation focusing the AI program under its control. It becomes clear that this state agency for the centralized purchase of telecommunications services, made the assumption that it could purchase Internet service for the state in the same top down manner. We now think that most of the policy snafus of the past year may be attributed to state bureaucrats who failed to understand the decentralized nature of the Internet. We offer key personnel detailed suggestions for re-orienting their approach into one of working with local communities to help them decide how to best purchase Internet services from the private market.