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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Survey of unified approaches to integrated-service networks


The increasing demand for communication services, coupled with recent technological advances in communication media and switching techniques, has resulted in a proliferation of new and expanded services. Currently, networks are needed which can transmit voice, data, and video services in an application-independent fashion. Unified approaches employ a single switching technique across the entire network bandwidth, thus, allowing services to be switched in an application-independent manner. This paper presents a taxonomy of integrated-service networks including a look at N-ISDN, while focusing on unified approaches to integrated-service networks.

The two most promising unified approaches are burst and fast packet switching. Burst switching is a circuit switching-based approach which allocates channel bandwidth to a connection only during the transmission of "bursts" of information. Fast packet switching is a packet switching-based approach which can be characterized by very high transmission rates on network links and simple, hardwired protocols which match the rapid channel speed of the network. Both approaches are being proposed as possible implementations for integrated-service networks. We survey these two approaches, and also examine the key performance issues found in fast packet switching. We then present the results of a simulation study of a fast packet switching network.

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