ATM networks provided the best option for transporting blended streams of media as recently as 2002, a lifetime in technology. Cisco, the company that stands astride the networking world like some modern Colossus, shipped thousands of ATM ports for their routers and switches annually. Other network ATM switch vendors like Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel and Marconi deployed an impressive amount of hardware as well.
Times have changed. Ethernet has arrived. Bigger, stronger and faster than ATM, and by all reports better, Ethernet, with up to 10 Gigabit per second throughput speeds, is inexorably pushing aside older ATM network technology. Nevertheless, reports trumpeting the disappearance of the ATM network are premature:
1. Vendors still support customers with ATM switches
2. Providers still use ATM switch technology to deliver blended voice, data and video services.
3. Cost of ATM switch hardware varies by source.
Get hardware, software and technical support from major ATM switch vendorsMany major purveyors of carrier-grade ATM switch hardware have upgraded their platforms to support Gigabit Ethernet and other next-generation services. Yesterday's ATM network switch is today's next-gen platform on the same architecture. Network providers and end-users relying on ATM can relax because many ATM switch suppliers can deliver low cost hardware and technical support for your existing infrastructure.
Discover the truth about legacy ATM networks--not everyone is GigELocal exchange carriers continue to provide business grade ATM services directly to enterprise customers. Many wireless companies still use ATM in their backhaul networks today even as they spend millions of dollars installing GigE backbones for the future. ATM still means a lot more than the place where you get cash.
Decide on the best support source: ATM switch manufacturers or the gray marketDespite the radical drop in the cost of ATM switch hardware pricing by ATM switch manufacturers, there is another place to shop for ATM networking needs: the gray market.
- Inventory your existing equipment before contacting suppliers. ATM switch vendors need to know manufacturer, model number, software version and other information before quoting you any pricing, especially for service contracts.
- Line up professional installation and upgrade support if you don't have the staff on board to integrate that new gear when it arrives. Warranties usually void if you mishandle equipment.