ATM To Ethernet Migration

While ATM surfaced in the late 1980s, taking hold in the 1990s as a way to integrate the needs of telecommunications at the time, like all older tech, its day is over.

In its place, telecom companies have been migrating toward Ethernet over the past few years and really ATM is almost completely gone.

Yet, there are still some ATM connections out there. It is in every one’s best interest to migrate from ATM to Ethernet, if you still have an ATM connection.

Ethernet Migration

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ATM Decommissioned

ATM was excellent for what it was made to do. It was incredibly functional with the use of circuit switching and packet switching, encoding data into cells that brought service right into your home.

But the connection-oriented model that it works off of is increasingly impractical. In truth, the technology was essentially eliminated already through the use of IP, so the fact that it is still around is surprising.

Some major companies, like Cisco, offered ATM and even had predicted that ATM would come back and really become the dominate form of connectively in this century. Sadly, they were mistaken and while ATM is still around, it should not be. Cisco also migrated customer circuits from the ATM interface to Ethernet, acknowledging its superiority.

Why Ethernet?

With the continually increased demand for speed from consumers on a global scale, telecom companies have to improve their methods of delivering internet. The only solution to the demand is the use of Ethernet.

Ethernet outpaces everything else, accommodating the need and providing the bandwidth and speeds that everyone is looking to get. ATM, while practical, was not built in a world that had the demands that we have.

This was further pushed by the larger corporate giants, like Verizon FiOS, who insisted that all customers move to IP services and step away from ATM. While the migration required money up front from the telecom companies, they found that the increased bandwidth had a lower cost on their end. 

It made it easier to provide the type of internet connectivity that people really wanted to anyone who wanted it, and at a price that was generally more affordable.

Beyond Speed

Outside of the increased bandwidth and speeds, there are other benefits to the switch to Ethernet. The biggest benefit here is the increase in security, clouds, and backups. If there is a connectivity issue on a physical sense, shutting down the network, the loss will not be great.

Because of the speed and accessibility of Ethernet, businesses can maintain a constant back up, so if something goes wrong with the network, all isn’t lost. The ATM technology just cannot offer that level of security due to the limitations of its design.

Hanging Onto ATM

While ATM was rendered obsolete, it is not completely gone. Not all connections had to migrate to Ethernet in order to benefit from IP technology. Smaller connections that do not have to travel far can still get by with ATM Virtual Circuits.

It is one solution for those who do not wish to go through the trouble of migrating completely to Ethernet. ATM DSLAMs that still exist can be adapted to use Ethernet by providing ATM pseudowires or by terminating the ATM GW7900 and converting between PPPoA and PPPoE.

That said, it is still in everyone’s best interest to say adieu to ATM and move over to Ethernet. The demand for broadband and speed is only increasing, not slowing down. There are continually new demands for Ethernet connections and the speeds offered are only ever increasing. It might be a headache to migrate, but it is completely worth the effort.