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a Report on Switching Techniques

















“Switching Techniques” provide you with a deeper view of: what is Switch and Switching, what are the different types of switching available, their advantages and disadvantages. This   report contains theory related to switching along with illustrated diagrams; those diagrams will help you to clearly understand and differentiate between various switching techniques

                                                                                          we are provided with a little time to complete this report and we have just studied this course is also a matter of fact. Despite of all these reasons we have tried our level best to prepare this report in such fashion; that it become more comprehend and easily understandable to all of those who utilize this report.












Switch, its architecture and functionality










Aims and objectives:


                                To define the switching, its structure, basic elements  and functionality.

















We have a problem to connect multiple devices to make one to one communication possible (each device must connect with every other device attached). Solution is to install either mesh topology (point to point connection between each pair of devices) or use star topology (use a central device for that purpose). These techniques are impractical or wasteful when applied to very large network. The no. and length of links require too much infrastructure and majority of those links would be idle for most of the time.


Consider a network having six devices A, B, C, D, E, and F. if device A has a point to point links to devices B, C, D, E, and F then whenever only A and B are connected, the links connecting A to each of other devices are idle and wasted.

                Multipoint connection topology such Bus is also rolled out because the distance between devices and total no. of devices increase beyond capacities of media and equipment.

                                                                             For all of the above stated problems the better solution recommended is use of switch called switching. A switched network consists of a series of interlinked nodes called switches. Switches are hardware and/or software devices capable of creating temporary connections between two or more devices linked to the switch but not to each other. In a switched network some of these nodes are connected to the communication devices. Other are used only for routing. The communicating devices are labeled A, B, C, D, and so on and switches I, II, III, IV and so on. Each switch is connected to multiple links and is used to complete the connection between them two at a time









The Basic Switching Element

The two primary functions a packet switch must provide are

1.     Routing of cells from the switch inputs to the correct outputs;

2.     Resolving contention by means of store-and-forward buffering.

We shall show how the routing function is implemented for a 2×2 switch, often referred to as a β-element. In a larger switch the routing function is typically synthesized by a network of β-elements. The smoothing buffers required for contention resolution are placed within that network, according to the switch architecture.

The structure of a β-element is depicted in the diagram.

Basic Switching Element Block Diagram

It consists of decision logic which operates on the cell headers, a latch to hold the result of that decision for the duration of the cell, delay lines to synchronize the cell contents with the decision, and the 2×2 cross-connect itself. The cross-connect is a dual multiplexer which can be set in either a "bar" or a "cross" state; that is, each input can be routed to either output, with the other input correspondingly routed to the other output.

The complexity of a β-element depends entirely on the requirements from its decision-making circuitry. For some switch architectures, the element state is determined only by the cell activity bit; for others, the decision may involve as much processing as determining the two cells' destinations from the virtual circuit numbers in the cell headers, possibly involving binary lookup tables. Whatever the case, the element is sufficiently simple so that many can be incorporated into a single VLSI chip.


Switch Functionality

Broadband interconnection of networks which carry all types of information depends heavily on the feasibility of implementing real-time packet switching fabrics. Such switches route arriving packets on the basis of information contained in each packet header. Because of the high data rates involved, routing decision-making logic must be implemented entirely in hardware; software processing would be grossly incapable of keeping pace with the high rate of packet arrivals. The implementation normally requires custom-design VLSI circuitry to maintain physical compactness.

In discussing packet switch interconnections, we shall henceforth assume that the arriving packets are of fixed time length. Such fixed-length packets are also referred to as cells.

Two primary functions are supported by the N-input, N-output switch (subsequently referred to as an N×N switch): (1) routing of each applied fixed-length cell to its correct destination port, and (2) resolving the contention which arises when several simultaneously arriving cells are headed to a common output port. We are implicitly assuming that the destination port number is included in the cell header. In reality, a cell header usually contains more high-level information, such as a virtual path number and/or a virtual connection number; the relation between these numbers and the switch ports is determined during the call setup phase.

Since packet switching is involved, output port contention is resolved by means of store-and-forward buffering: arriving packets which cannot be immediately delivered because of a contention are stored in a buffer (or buffers) within the switch, their delivery being deferred according to a buffer servicing discipline. The purpose of the buffers is to smooth out the statistical fluctuation in the arrival patterns, so that even in a case of a peak cell arrival rate followed by a quiet period, the output is a smooth continuum of cells. The various switch architectures are differentiated primarily by their buffer servicing policies.








Switching Techniques










Aims and objectives:


                                To briefly describe the techniques of switching.























Switching Methods


Three important methods of switching are: circuit switching, packet switching, and message switching.







Organization Chart













Circuit switching










Aims and objectives:


                                To describe the circuit switching techniques, space division and time division switches.
















Circuit switching


                           It creates a direct physical connection between two devices such as phones and computers. For example instead of point to point connections between the three computers on the left (A, B, and C) to the four computers on right (D, E, F, and G) requiring 12 links, we can use 4 switches to reduce the no. and total length of the links.                            








In circuit switching, dedicated physical connection is established between the sender and receiver and maintain for entire conversation. For example a PSTN uses a circuit switching, when you make a call a physical link between the two lines is dedicated during entire conversation. When one phone hangs up, the connection is terminated and circuit is released. A computer network performs circuit switching in same way. Before any two computers can transfer data, a dedicated circuit must be established between the two. The sending machine request the connection to the destination, after which the destination machine signals that it is ready to accept data. The data is then sent from source to destination, and destination sends acknowledgements back to source. When the conversation ends source sends a signal to the destination, indicating that connection is no longer needed, and disconnects itself.



                                                                                              A circuit is a device with n inputs and m outputs that creates a temporary connection between an input link and an output link. The number of inputs does not have to match the number of outputs.



A circuit switch






An nxn folded switch can connect n lines in full duplex mode for example it can connect n telephone in such a way that each phone can connected to every other telephone.







                                               The major advantage of circuit switching is that the dedicated transmission channel the machine establishes provides a guaranteed data rate. This is important for time critical applications as audio and video. Also, once circuit is established, there is virtually no channel access delay, since the channel is always available, it does not need to request again.





                        Circuit switching has its disadvantages. One is that it is often an un-efficient use of transmission medium. Because the connection is dedicated even when it is idle, no other device can use that channel. Dedicated channels require more bandwidth then non dedicated channels, so transmission media can be expensive.


Circuit switching today can use either of two technologies i.e. space division switches and time division switches.






        Organization Chart





Space Division Switches


                                          The Space division switching technology is originally designed for analog network as we previously have discussed a PSTN. Now days it is used for both digital and analog networks. In space division switching paths in circuit are separate by use of space (Spatial separation).



Crossbar Switches



        A crossbar switches based on the number of cross points it can connects n inputs to m outputs in a grid, using electronic micro switches (transistor) at each cross point.







The major limitation of this design is the number of cross points required. Connecting n inputs to m outputs using a crossbar switch requires n x m cross points. If to connect 100 inputs to 1000 outputs requires a crossbar with 100,000 cross points. This factor makes the crossbar impartial because it makes the size of the crossbar huge. Such a switch is also inefficient because statistics show that, in practical, fewer than 25% of the cross points are in use at a given time. The rest are idle.



Multistage Switches


                                 The problem with crossbar switch is of the cross points as the input and output devices attached, and if the input and out point device increases the cross points also increased

And very fewer cross points are in use and the rest are idle, so for the solution of this limitation of the cross bar switch is to use multistage switches, which combine crossbar switches in such away that there are several stages becomes. In multistage switching, device are linked to switches that, in turn, are linked to a hierarchy of

Other switches













The design of a multistage depends on the number of stages and the number of switches required (or desired) in each stage. Normally, the middle stages have fewer switches than do the first and last stages.

Suppose we want a multistage switch of making the 15-by-15 crossbar switch. Assume that we have decided on three-stage design that uses three switches in the first and final stages and two switches in the middle stage. Because there are three of them, each of the first stage switched has inputs fro one-third of the input devices, giving them five each (5X3=15).


   Here each of the first-stage switches must have an output to each of the intermediate switches. There are two intermediate switches; therefore, each first-stage switch has two outputs. Each third-stage switch must have from each of the intermediate switches; two intermediate switches mean two inputs. The intermediate switches must be connect to the three switches of the first-stage and also with the three switches of the final-stage, by this way there must be three inputs and also three outputs each.






Multiple paths



                        Multistage switches provide several options for connecting each pair of linked devices, for two ways traffic can move from an input to an output using the switch designed in the given example above








A pathway is stabled between input line 4 and output line 9.In this instance, the path uses the lower intermediate switch and that switch’s center output line to reach the last-stages connected to Line 9.


                                                In the Second form as above shown that a path way between the same input line 4 and the same output line 9 using the upper intermediate switch .Here the number of cross points in a 15-by-15 single-stage crossbar switches with the 15-by-15 multistage switch that we already discussed in above example. In the single-stage switch, we need (15 x 15) 225 Cross points. In the multistage switch, we need


1.     Three first-stage switches, each with 10 cross points (5x2), for a total of 30 cross points at the first stage.


2.     Two second-stage switches, each with 9 cross points (3x3), for a total of 18 cross points at the second stage.



3.     Three third-stage switches, each with 10 cross points (5x2), for a total of 30 cross points at the last stage.



The total number of cross points required by our multistage switch is (30+18+30) 78. In this example, the multistage switch requires only 35% as many cross points s the single-stage switch.


The major problem with the crossbar switching is number of cross points as the input and output devices are increased but

The reduction in the number of cross points results in a phenomenon called Blocking during period of heavy traffic.




               Blocking refers to times when one input cannot be connected to an output because there is no path available between them-all of the possible intermediate switches are occupied.


   The advantage of single-stage is that in the single-stage switch blocking does not occur. Because every combination of input and output has its own cross points, there is always a path. (Suppose in the situation of two inputs trying to communicate the same output don’t count. that path is not blocked; the output is merely busy)  



       But in case of multistage switch as already described in the above example, However, Only two of the first five inputs can use the switch at a time, only two of the second five inputs can use the switch at a time, and so on the.  Small number of outputs at the middle stage further increases the restriction on the number of available links.


 In a very large system, suppose 10,000 inputs and outputs, the number of stages can increase to cut down the number of cross points required. As the number of stages increases, however, possible blocking increases as well. As a common example many people having experienced blocking on the public telephone system in the wake of natural disaster when calls being to check on or reassure relatives far outnumber the ordinary load of the system. In those cases, it is about impossible to communicate. Under normal circumstances, however, blocking is not usually a problem. In countries that can afford it, the number of switches between lines is calculated to make blocking unlikely. The formula for finding this number is based on statistical analysis.









Time-Division Switches


                                 Time division switching is an other most popular technique in switching, that is achieved by time division Multiplexing. There are two popular methods used in time-division Multiplexing: the time-slot interchange and the TDM bus.



 Time-slot Interchange (TSI)



Suppose a system connecting four input lines to four output lines. Imagine that each input lines wants to send data to an output lines with their respective devices


              1        3        2        4        3        1        4         2 


    Data are output in the same order as they are input. Data from 1 go 1, from 2 go to 2, from 3 go to 3, and from 4 go to 4. We insert a device called a time-slot interchange (TSI) into the link. A TSI change the ordering of the slots based on the desired connections. In this case, it changes the order of data from A, B, C, D to C, D, A, B. Now,

When the demultiplexer separates the slots, it passes them to the proper outputs.












A TSI consists of random access memory (RAM) with several memory locations. The size of each location is the same as the size of a single time slot. The number of locations is the same as the number of inputs (in most cases, the number of inputs and outputs are equal). The RAM fills up with incoming data from time slots in the order received. Slot are then sent out in an order based on the decisions of a control unit.














TDM bus

The input and output lines are connected to a high speed bus though input output gates(micro switches). Each input gate is closed during one of the four times slot. During the same time slots only one output gate is also closed. The pair of gates allows a burst of data to be transferred from one specific input line to one specific output line using the bus. The control unit open and close the gates according to switching need. For example in the figure at first time slot the input gate 1 and output gate three 3 will be closed. During the second time slot, input gate 2 and output gate 4 will be closed and so on. A folded TDM bus can be made with duplex lines (input and output) and dual gates.


































Aims and objectives:


                                To define the message switching technique .


















Message switching is best known by the descriptive term store and forward.  Message switching is unlike circuit switching in that it does not establish a dedicate path between two communication devices. Instead, each message is treated as an independent unit and includes its own destination and source address. Each complete message is then transmitted from device through the internetworks. Each intermediate device receives the message, store it until the next device is ready to receive it, and then forward it to next device. For this reason, a message switching network is sometimes refer   to as store and forward network. In message switching message are stored and relayed from secondary switches(disk), while in packet switching the packets are stored and forward from primary storage(RAM).








                                                                                      Message switches can be programmed with information about the most efficient routes, as well as information regarding neighboring switches that can be used to forward message to their ultimate destination. Because of this information and varying conditions of network, message switching system typically route message through network along varying paths.

                      One example of store and forward system is email. An email message is forwarded as complete unit from server to server until it reaches its correct destination.




                    Advantages of message switching includes following:

·        It provides efficient traffic management. By assigning priorities to the message to be switched, you can ensure that high priority message get through in timely fashion, rather then being delayed by general traffic.


·        It reduces network traffic congestion. The intermediate devices (the message switches) are able to store message until a communication channel become available, rather then choking the network by trying to transmit every thing in real time.



·        Its uses of data channels is more efficient then that of circuit switching. With message switching the network device share the data channel, this increase the efficiency because more of the available bandwidth can be used.


·        It provides asynchronous communication across time zones.





On the other hand, the delay introduced by storing and forwarding complete message makes the message switching unsuitable for real time applications such as audio and video. For these applications especially video conferencing you required circuit switching. Another disadvantage of message switching is that it can be costly enough to equip intermediate devices with enough storage capacity to store potentially long messages.


















Packet Switching










Aims and objectives:


                                To define the packet switching technique and its further types.















Packet Switching


Circuit switching was design for voice communication. For example in a telephone conversation once a connection is established it remains established for the entire conversation. Circuit switching creates a temporary or permanent dedicated links that are appropriate for this type of communication. Circuit switching is not well suited for data and other non voice transmission. Non-voice transmission tend to be bursty, means data come in sudden streams with idle gaps between them. When circuit switched links are used for data transmission, the line is often idle and its facilities wasted.


                 Second weakness of circuit switched link for data transmission is in its data rate. A circuit switched link creates the equivalent of single cable two devices and assume a single data rate for both devices. That limits the flexibility and usefulness of circuit switched connection for networks interconnecting a variety of digital devices.


                 Third, the circuit switching is inflexible. Once a circuit has been established, that circuit is the path taken by all parts of transmission. Whether or not it remains the most efficient or available.


                   Finally, we can not prioritize the data. Circuit switching sees all transmissions as equal. A better solution for data transmission is packet switching. Packet switching provides the advantages of both circuit switching and message switching and avoids the main disadvantages of both. In packet switching, messages are broken into packets, each of which includes a header with source destination and intermediate node information. Individual packets may not always follow the same route; this is called independent routing. Independent routing offers two advantages:


·        Bandwidth can be managed by splitting data onto different routes in a busy circuit.


·        If a certain link in network goes down during transmission, the remaining packet can be sent through different route.

 The main difference in packet and message switching is that the packet switching restricts the packets to a maximum length. This length is short enough to allow the switching devices to store the packet data in memory without writing it to disk. Packet switching works more efficiently then message switching.



                                                                                                Two popular approaches to packet switching are: datagram and virtual circuit.




                        Organization Chart





In the datagram service, each packet entering the network is treated as a self contained entity with no relationship to other packets. Each packet is received and forwarded in the way just outlined. This service is used for the transfer of short, single packet messages.

For a message containing multiple packets a virtual call service is normally selected. Before any information associated with a call is sent, the source DTE sends a special call request packet to its local PSE containing, in addition to its required physical destination the DTE network address, a reference number called the virtual circuit identifier (VCI). This is noted by the PSE and the packet is forwarded through the network as before. At the destination PSE, a second VCI is assigned to the call request before it is forwarded to the destination DTE. Then, assuming the call is accepted, an appropriate response packet is returned to the calling DTE. At this point, a virtual circuit is said to exist between the two DTEs. The information transfer phase is then entered and all subsequent data packets relating to this call are assigned the same VCI numbers on each interface link to the network. In this way, both source and destination DTEs can readily distinguish between packets arriving on the same link but related to different calls. This might appear similar to a connection established through a circuit switched network but it's purely a logical connection. The class of the service supported by the virtual circuit is very high, since error and flow control are provided at the packet level.

Normally, a virtual circuit is cleared at the end of the call. However, it is possible for the virtual circuit to be left permanently established, so that a user who needs to communicate frequently with another user doesn't have to set up a virtual circuit for each call. This is known as a permanent virtual circuit. The user is charged for this facility and for the quantity of the data transferred.




                                                 In datagram approach to packet switching, each packet is treated independently from all others. Even when one packet represents just one piece of multipacket transmission, the network treat it as it is existed alone. Packets in this technology are referred as datagrams.










Figure shows how datagram approach can be used to deliver four packets from station A to station X. In this example, all four packets (or datagrams) belongs to same message but may go by different paths to reach its destination

                                                                                                            This approach can cause the datagrams of a transmission to arrive at their destination out of order. It is the responsibility of transport layer in most protocols to reorder the datagrams before passing them on destination port.

                                                            The link joining each pair of nodes can contain multiple channels. Each of these channels is capable, in turn, of carrying datagrams either from several different sources or from one source. Multiplexing can be done using TDM or FDM






In above figures, devices A and B are sending dataqgrams to devices X and Y. Some is carrying two packets from different sources in same direction. The link on the right, however. Is carrying datagrams in two directions.




                                                In a virtual circuit approach to packet switching the relationship between all packets belonging to a message or session is preserved. A single route is chosen between sender and receiver at the beginning of session. When the data are sent, all packets of the transmission travel one after another along that route.

                       Virtual circuit transmission is implemented in two formats: switched virtual circuit (svc) and permanent virtual circuit (pvc).





Switched Virtual Circuit (SVS)



       The switched virtual circuit format is comparable conceptually to dialup lines in circuit switching. In this method, a virtual circuit is created whenever it’s needed and exists only for the duration of the specific exchange. For example, imagine station A wants to send four packets to station X. first, a request the establishment of connection to X. once the connection is in place, the packets are send one after another and in sequential order.








 When the last packet has been received and, if necessary, acknowledged, the connection is released and virtual circuit ceases to exist.






 Only one single route exists for the duration of transmission, although the network could pick an alternative route in response to failure or congestion. Each time that A wishes to communicate with X, a new route is established. The route may be the same each time or it may differ in response to varying network conditions.




    PVC are comparable to leased lines in circuit switching. In this method the same virtual circuit is provided between two users on continuous basis. This circuit is dedicated to  specific users. No one else can use it and, because it’s always in place, it can be used without connection establishment and connection termination. Where as two SVC users may get a different loop every time they request a connection, two PVC users always get the same loop.




A Public Data Network (PDN) is a network established and operated by a national administration authority specifically for transmission of data.

There are two main types of PDN: packet switched and circuit switched. Let us first outline the differences between the two types of these networks.

In a circuit switched data network each connection established results in a physical communication channel being setup through the network from the calling to the called subscriber equipment. This connection is then used exclusively by the two subscribers for the duration of the call. The main feature of such a connection is that it provides a fixed data rate channel, and both subscribers must operate at this rate.

In packet switched data networks all data to be transmitted is first assembled into one or more message units, called packets, by the source DTE. These packets include both the source and the destination DTE network addresses. They are then passed by the source DTE to its local Packet Switching Exchange (PSE). On receipt of each packet, the PSE inspects the destination address contained in the packet. Each PSE contains a routing directory specifying the outgoing links to be used for each network address. On receipt of each packet, the PSE forwards the packet on the appropriate link at the maximum available bit rate. As each packet is received at each intermediate PSE along the route, it is forwarded on the appropriate link interspersed with other packets being forwarded on that link. At the destination PSE, determined by the destination address within the packet, the packet is finally passed to the destination DTE.

To prevent unpredictably long delays and ensure that the network has a reliably fast transit time, a maximum length is allowed for each packet. It is for this reason that a message submitted to the transport layer within the DTE may first have to be divided by the transport protocol entity into a number of smaller packet units before transmission. In turn, they will be reassembled into a single message at the destination DTE.

In packet switched data networks error and flow control procedures are applied on each link by the network PSEs. Consequently, the class of service provided by a packet switched network is much higher than provided by a circuit switched network.











ATM Switching and Refrences










Aims and objectives:


                                Case discussion of ATM switching and other new advents in switching techniques and refrences.


















 About this Document

The following document is an introduction to switching on ATM networks. The document includes a general introduction to the ATM switch element, its requirements and performance issues. Several queueing methods, which aim to allow the switch to achieve the requirements are discussed. The Knockout switch element is introduced as an example of switch element architecture.

 Why ATM?

The bandwidth requirements for data traffic within commercial organizations have been increasing steadily for some time, both in the local area networks and in the wide area networks. Workstations have been used to introduce multimedia applications to the desktop, including components of voice, video and image, besides growing amounts of data. This development requires networks of greater bandwidth than commonly present today with the capability of handling multiservice traffic on the same network.

The asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) is being developed as a high speed networking technique for public networks capable of supporting many classes of traffic. ATM also uses the advantage of the new VLSI and fiber optic techniques recently developed.

ATM is a high-speed, packet-switching technique that uses short fixed length packets called cells. Fixed length cells simplify the design of an ATM switch at the high switching speeds involved. The selection of a short fixed length cell reduces the delay and most significantly the jitter (variance of delay) for delay-sensitive services such as voice and video. ATM is capable of supporting a wide range of traffic types such as voice, video, image and various data traffic.

In the following document I will introduce the basis of switching requirements in ATM broadband networks and introduce ATM switching solutions.

 Introduction to ATM Switching

Various switching architectures were developed in the past for different application such as voice and data, based on modes like STM (Synchronous Transfer Mode) and packet switching.

The switching architectures that were previously developed for STM and for conventional packet switching like X.25 are not directly applicable for broadband ATM.

Three major factors have a large impact on the implementation of the ATM switching architecture:

  • The high speed at which the switch has to operate (from 150Mbit/sec up to 600Mbit/sec).
  • The statistical behavior of the ATM stream passing though the ATM switching system.
  • ATM is connection oriented. Therefore, the switching elements have pre-defined routing tables to minimize the complexity of single switch routing.

The ATM cell has a fixed length (of 48 bytes) payload and a fixed length header (5 bytes) with limited header functionality allow to implementation of different optimal switching architectures, queueing functions for example. Some of the switching techniques have been realized, or are in stage of implementation.

A growing number of ATM switches are commercially available and installed by public operations to offer a public, wide are a broadband service, sometimes called ATM Central Office. Other switches are deployed by private users and are used in an internal high speed telecommunication needs, often called ATM LAN.

  Transport vs. Control

In the description of ATM switching in the following introduction the attention will be paid to the "transport" part of the switch and not to the "control" part.

The transport network is defined as all the physical means which are responsible to the current transportation of the information from the ATM inlet to the ATM outlet. The transport network in the ATM network mainly performs functions located in the user plan of the ATM protocol reference model.

The control part of the switch is that which controls the transport network. It decide for instance, which inlet to connect to which outlet. The decision is based on incoming signaling information. The control network mainly performs functions located in the control plane of the ATM protocol reference model. The qulity of service parameters for the transport network are the cell loss rate, the error rate, cell delay and cell jitter .

 ATM Switch Functions

ATM is connection oriented. All cells belong to a virtual connection pre-established by the transport network . All traffic is segmented into cells for transmission across the network. The sequence integrity of all the cells in the virtual connection is preserved across each ATM switch to simplify reconstruction of the original traffic at the destination (allows smaller total delay on the net). The ATM cell is 53 bytes long, built of 48 payload bytes and a 5 bytes header. Each cell's header contain a VCI (virtual channel identifier) that identifies the virtual connection to which the cell belongs.

The ATM switch has several main tasks:

VCI translation.

The established connection on the ATM network defines the virtual path through different switches across the network. The VCI is local to each switch port. As each cell travels across an ATM switch, the VCI is translated into a new value. The switch has to built the new cell header containing the new VCI (and possibly new VPI - virtual path identifier ) and calculate the new HEC value.

Switching - Cell transport from its input to its output.

The transportation of the information (cell) from an incoming logical ATM channel (inlet) to an outgoing logical ATM channel (outlet), is also the responsibility of the ATM switch. The logical ATM channel is characterized by two identifiers:

1.     The physical inlet/outlet which is characterized by a physical port number.

2.     The logical channel on the physical port which is identified by the VCI and/or the VPI.

In order to provide the switching function, both physical and logical identifiers of the incoming cell have to be related to physical and logical identifiers of the outgoing cell. Two functions have to be implemented in the ATM switching system.

The first function is the space switching function. The space switching function is the one which allows the connection between every input and every output. An important aspect of space switching is the internal routing. This means how the information is routed internally in the switch. The internal structure of the switch must allow connections between every input to every output.

The second function is time switching. Since ATM is working in an asynchronous mode, cells which had arrived in various time slots from the different inputs can be delivered from different outputs in different time slots (there is no time identifier in ATM as it is in STM). Since there is no pre-assigned time slot connection, a contention problem arises if more than two logical channels are connected to the same output at the same time slot. This problem in the ATM switch is solved by implementing a queueing function in the ATM switch system.

In this work the functions of routing and queueing will be discussed in more detail.

  General Structure of an ATM switch

The ATM switch has to handle a minimum of several hundred thousand cells in a second at every switch port. A switch has to connect from a few ports to thousands of ports. In principle, a switch fabric can be implemented by a single switching element. But from practical reasons the switch fabric has to be built of basic switching building blocks - switching elements .

A switching element is the basic unit of the switch fabric. It can be implemented in a single integrated circuit element. At the input port (inlet) the routing information of the incoming cell is analyzed and the cell is then directed to the correct output port (outlet). In general the switching element consists of an interconnection network , and IC (input controller) for each incoming line and an OC (output controller) for each outgoing line. Arriving cells will be synchronized to the internal clock by the IC. The OC transport cells which have been received from the interconnection network toward the destination. The IC and OC are coupled by the interconnection network.

There are several switch element requirements to perform the switch functionality . A general structure of a switching element is in the figure below :

General model of switching element

  Switching Element Requirements

An ATM network has to support a wide range of applications using various kinds of information in, a wide range of speeds from telecontrol to high quality video. These services define different requirements in terms of bit rate, behavior in time (constant bit rate or variable bit rate), semantic transparency (cell loss rate, bit error rate) and time transmission (over all delay, jitter). The ATM switch architectures have to be considered in these requirements.


* Connection Blocking

Since ATM is defined to be connection oriented, after connection set-up a logical connection must be found between the logical inlet and the logical outlet.

Connection blocking is defined as the probability that not enough resources can be found to allow all the required physical connections between inlets and outlets at any time.

* Cell Loss, Cell Insertion

In an ATM switch it is possible that temporarily too many cells in the switch have to be transmitted through the same link (switch internal or external link). In optimal operational conditions there is an available entry in a queue to hold all the cells. But if the queue is currently full, another cell that will require the same queue will be lost.

The probability of a cell lost mast be kept in a specified limits to assure high semantic transparency. Typical values for cell loss in ATM are in the range of 10^(-8) to 10^(-10).

Some switching architectures are designed such that they will not suffer from cells competing for the same resources internally, but only at their inlets and/or outlets.

It is also possible that from some internal routing error a cell will be sent to the wrong logical connection. If such an error occurs, error impact is doubled by the fact that one destination will miss a cell and that a second destination will accept an additional cell. The switch element has to be designed so that cell insertion error probability will be about 1000 times better than a cell loss.

* Switching Delay

To allow support of different real time services in an ATM network, a maximal delay has to be guaranteed and a low values of jitter.

Typical delay values are between 10 and 1000 usec, with jitter of 100 nsec or less. The delay and the jitter in the cell are strongly related to the queueing in the switching element. A small queue will assure better delays but will increase the cell loss probability.

  Information Rates

A large number of information rates have to be switched in the same ATM switch. The maximal bit rate which a future ATM switch has to be able to switch lies around 150 Mbit/sec. For such fast services, the switching element can be implemented as several switching elements in parallel. Or, several 150Mbit/sec switching elements can be multiplexed on a single link. That will require a switching rate in the order of Gbit/sec.


In classical connection oriented packet switching services, only point to point connections are available, because the information (cell) can be switched from one logical inlet to one logical outlet only. In future broadband networks broadcast and multicast services are required for different applications from electronic-mail to network TV services.

 Queueing Methods

There are many queueing problems in an ATM switch because actually the ATM switch performs statistical multiplexing in the switch inputs and de-multiplexing in the switch outputs. Suppose two ATM cells arrived at two inlets at the same time and are aiming for the same outlet. Some arbitration mechanism and queue of waiting cells has to be implemented in the switch. There are several queueing possibilities. It is possible to add a queue at the switch element inputs, add a queue at the switch output, or add a queue between the inputs on the outputs of the switch.

The different possibilities are described briefly.

 Input Buffers

In this configuration the buffers are located at the input controller (IC). When using a first-in-first-out (FIFO) buffer, a collision occurs if two or more head-of-the-queue cells compete simultaneously for the same output. Then all but one of the cells are blocked. The cells behind the blocking head-of-the-queue cell are also blocked even if they are destined for another available (currently not in use) output. In this method the switch interconnection network will transfer the the cell from the input buffer to the output buffer without internal conditions. Arbitration logic is needed to determine which of the cells held in different inlet buffers destined to the same output will be transferred in the interconnection network. The arbitration logic can be from very simple logic (e.g. simple round robin) to more complex arbitration methods (aiming to keep the same queue length in all the buffers).

To overcome this disadvantage, the FIFO buffer can be replaced by a random access memory (RAM). If the first cell in the queue is blocked, the next cell which is destined for an idle output (or internal switch interconnection network link) will be selected for transmission. The disadvantage of this solution is that a complex buffering control is required to find a cell destined to an idle connection and also to guarantee a correct cell sequence of cells destined for the same output.

The input buffer approach achieves the worst performance in the sense of the queue length required to achieve a given cell-loss rate in various switch loads in comparison to the other two queueing methods.

Input Buffering.

Output Buffers

In this technique, the buffers are located at the OC of the switch element. The assumption is that many cells from the IC can cross the internal interconnection network and arrive to the outlets. This solution requires use of a very fast internal pass. In order to allow a non-blocking switch, the interconnection network and the output buffer have to be capable of handling N cells at one cell time (when N in the number of ICs).

When output buffers are in use, no arbitration has to be used. The control of the output is based on a simple FIFO logic.

Output Buffers.

Central Queueing

In the central queueing approach, the queueing buffers are not dedicated to a single inlet (as in the input buffer approach) or to a single outlet (as in the output buffer approach), but shared between all inlets and outlets. Each coming cell will be directly stored in the central storing element. Every outlet will identify the cells destined to it in a FIFO discipline.

From the queueing point of view, this method is the most efficient and required the smallest total storage to allow minimal cell loss in heavy load conditions. Since the available memory on an integrated circuit switching element is limited, it is possible to achieve low cell-loss probabilities when using the central queueing approach.

The disadvantages of this approach are that very fast memory elements are required to allow all the coming cells and outgoing cells access to the memory ports at the same time, and big complexity in the queue management.

 Technical Aspects

The realization of the three queueing approaches ( input buffer, output buffer, central queueing ) are very different. The differences are in three main aspects:

queue size

The size of the queue depends on the performance requirements of the system (cell loss ratio, load, delay) and the queueing method in use. The queue size is reflected in the number of cell buffers which are supported by the switching element.

memory speed

The access time of the queueing element depends on the queueing method in use, the number of inlets and the number of outlets of the switching element and the rate of the incoming and out going cells.

memory control

In order to control the queues of the switching element, additional control logic is required.

 Example- Knockout Switching Element

The following paragraphs describe the general structure of the Knockout switching element. The Knockout switch was first introduced by Yeh in 1987. The Knockout switch can grow to a large size by composing small entities, to create bigger switching element or as a switching fabric.

The Knockout switch is based on a the output buffering (queueing) approach. As mentioned before one of the disadvantages of the output queueing methods is the fast memory access required to achieve a small cell loss rate. The Knockout is trying to overcome this disadvantage.

The Knockout switch has N inlets and N outlets. The interconnection network is a matrix type. N broadcast buses, one of each inlet, connects to each of the inlets. Each outlet is connected to all inlets via a bus interface of N inputs, connected to each individual broadcast bus. This means that the interconnection network is non-blocking, and at the input of the bus interface there is no cell loss.

Knockout Switching Element

The bus structure has the major advantage that each bus is driven by only one inlet. This structure allows simple implementation and high bandwidths on the interconnection network.

At a bus interface, several cells may arrive simultaneously. All can (in the worst case) be destined to a single output. Therefore, the bus interface requires some kind of queueing. Since N cells can be destined to a bus interface at one cell time, the bus interface has to use very fast memory elements to guarantee zero cell loss. In order to simplify the implementation and reduce the required memory operation speed, a non-zero loss method is implemented. The is switch realized as an intelligent bus interface , which acts as a concentrator , with a non-zero cell loss probability.

At the top of the bus interface N filters are located, each one of them connected to one of the N inlet broadcast buses. The cell filters examine the address of the incoming cells. If the cell is destined to the outlet related to the bus interface the cell is passed to the concentrator .

The next part after the bus interface is the concentrator , which concentrates N inputs to L outputs (where L<= N). If in the same cell time, k cells are destined to the same outlet and k>L , a (L-k) cells will be lost in the concentrator . The concentrator itself is built of very simple building blocks. Those biulding blocks are basically a switch in which 2 inputs contend for a winner output. If only one cell is present at the input at a time, it will be selected as a winner output. If two cells are present at a time in the inputs, one cell is selected as a winner and the second one, the loser, it transferred to contend on the next stage.

The probability of losing a cell in the concentrator must not be larger than the probability of losing cells elsewhere in the switch element. Statistical calculations show that if L=12, a cell loss probability of 10^(-10) can be achieved for any load and any value of N.

The next stage in the Knockout switch is the output buffers . L dual port buffers are connected to the L concentrator outputs. In order to distribute the load on the output FIFOs (and reducing the total amount of memory required for each bus interface) a sifter stage is provide. The shifter guarantee that all L buffers are equally (uniformly) loaded and optimally used.

  •  Hardware
    • 5ESS Switch (Lucent) - A multi-service, software-based digital switching system designed to evolve with the changing needs of communication service providers. The 5ESS Switch has the least amount of downtime of any switch in its class according to analysis of the latest U.S. FCC reports. Also, with an embedded base of more than 104 million lines and 48 million trunks served by four thousand host switches in more than 50 countries worldwide, the 5ESS Switch is a market leader.
    • 8000 Access Switch (Nortel Networks) - The 8000 Access Switch delivers high-performance to streamline dial-up traffic for reliable transport over both the public network and the Internet. For dial access, the 8000's multi-protocol support allows service providers to use one or more industry-standard network protocols. Along with its full array of digital and analog remote access options, the 8000 supports both ISDN PRI and channelized T1/E1 wide area networking.
    • APX 8000 Multiservice Access Switch (Lucent) - The Lucent APX8000™ is a carrier-class access switch optimized for seamless integration of dial, voice-over-IP, fax-over-IP, virtual private network, and other IP services.
    • AXD 301 Multiservice Switch (Ericsson) - AXD 301 high-performance multiservice switch is designed with carrier class profile. The AXD 301 system has a performance, scalability and reliability that makes it the ideal solution for large public networks, however a minimum configuration of the AXD 301 system is just one subrack and that makes it also well suited for small public networks or enterprise networks. Services supported include ATM, IP/MPLS, Frame Relay, circuit emulation, and voice services.
    • B-STDX Multiservice WAN Switches (Lucent) - Lucent B-STDX Multiservice WAN switches offer carrier-class, cost-effective, and feature-rich frame relay, IP, and ATM services. Deployed for years to build core frame relay networks, the B-STDX is naturally evolving to play a leading role at the access point to the next-generation WAN.
    • Catalyst 2900 Series XL Switches (Cisco) - Cisco's Catalyst 2900 series XL is a full line of 10/100 autosensing Fast Ethernet switches that offer performance, modularity, and easy-to-use management.
    • Catalyst 3200 Series Switches (Cisco) - The Catalyst 3200 is an IEEE 802.3-compliant device designed to boost throughput on Ethernet networks.
    • Catalyst 3500 Series XL Switches (Cisco) - The Cisco Systems Catalyst 3500 series XL is a scalable line of stackable 10/100 and Gigabit Ethernet switches that deliver premium performance, manageablility, and flexibility.
    • CBX 500 Multiservice WAN Switch (Lucent) - A foundation for next-generation networks that service providers can use to scale, simplify, and consolidate converged public networks of today and tomorrow. Service providers can leverage this switch's intelligence, reliability, and multiservice port density into new revenue sources while streamlining their networks.
    • CorNet 10/100 Fast Ethernet Switch 4 TX/1 FX Port ST (Corman Technologies ) - One fiber connector for 100Base-FX connectivity. Offers 1-4 ports RJ-45 jacks for 10/100Base-TX connectivity.
    • CorNet 10/100 Fast Ethernet Switch 5 Port (Corman Technologies) - Provides 5 10/100Mbps ports, supporting both 10/100Mbps speed auto-negotiating and auto-sensing. Compact design with small footprints and magnetic mounting base.
    • CorNet 10/100 Fast Ethernet Switch 8 Port (Corman Technologies ) - Provides 8 10/100Mbps ports, supporting both 10/100Mbps speed auto-negotiating and auto-sensing. Compact design with small footprints.
    • CVX 1800 Access Switch (Nortel Networks) - The CVX 1800 is an 18-slot access switch designed for deployment in a carrier's central office or a major ISP's point of presence (POP). With 1,344 modem/ISDN ports, high-volume dial-up traffic is aggregated by the CVX 1800 for reliable transport via the public network and the Internet. The CVX 1800's multi-service architecture supports the complete range of access technologies, including modem, ISDN, voice, PRI, and SS7.
    • Dual Remote Switching Center-S (Nortel Networks) - This larger switch remote physically terminates over 10,000 lines / 960 trunks at locations up to 650 miles from the DMS SuperNode system. Both the Dual RSC-S and the RSC-S can serve as hosts for RLCMs and OPACs in remote-off-remote configurations and for TR-008 digital loop carriers.
    • GX 550 Multiservice WAN Switch (Lucent) - A scalable, high-capacity switching system that provides the necessary capacity, performance, and port fanout capabilities for carrier services. It combines industry-leading port densities for industry-first OC-48/STM-16 high-speed trunking, OC-12/STM-4, OC-3/STM-1, and DS3 (GX 250 Multiservice Extender) interfaces, providing carriers with capacity for today and investment protection for tomorrow.
    • IBM 8270 Nways LAN Switch (IBM) - The IBM 8270 Nways LAN Switch is intended for customers who need a low- cost, stand-alone Token-Ring workgroup switch to improve bandwidth congestion. With the 8270 Model 800 customers can build larger switched networks with a larger number of high-speed uplinks. The newer Model 600 provides a smaller, entry configuration (six slots).
    • KVM Server Switches (Network Technologies Inc) - These switches enable IT professionals to eliminate redundant hardware (keyboards, monitors, & mice) while decreasing energy costs, and consolidating security and management.
    • LAN Modular Chassis Switches (3Com ) - 3Com's Modular LAN Chassis Switches are highly scalable and interchangeable switching engines that offer ease of configuration and management. Versatile enough to be deployed anywhere in the enterprise, these switches provide the flexibility and high-performance necessary to support e-Business applications.
    • LAN Stackable Switches (3Com) - SuperStack II Switches deliver powerful connectivity in a full range of networking technologies. Combining high performance workgroup solutions and low cost, the SuperStack II family provides reliability, ease of installation, and scalability.
    • MAX TNT (Lucent) - A multiprotocol WAN access switch that enables carriers, ISPs, corporations, and major network providers to offer a variety of access services such as analog, ISDN, leased T1/E1, and frame relay.
    • NX64000 Multi-Terabit Switch/Router (Lucent) - An architectural innovation that provides high-speed optical speed interfaces and integrates all the key core requirements—the ability to support multiple classes of traffic with varying service delivery requirements, the functionality of a high-capacity router, and carrier-class reliability and availability levels—onto a single, carrier-class multi-service device.
    • OfficeConnect Switches (3Com) - Specifically designed for small businesses and offices, OfficeConnect switches and hubs provide cost-conscious businesses with the foundation of an integrated system of small-office networking. By installing a local area network (LAN), users can work more effectively with file and print sharing and reduce costs by sharing expensive resources such as printers.
    • Passport 2430 (Nortel Networks ) - The Nortel Networks Passport 2430 multiservice access switch is a high- performance, flexible, yet low-cost branch-office router. Its flexible WAN and LAN options, small size, and quiet operation make the Passport 2430 switch the ideal solution for any small branch office.
    • PathStar Access Server (Lucent) - The PathStar Access Server is a next-generation, carrier-grade, packet based, Class 5 switch for converging voice and IP-data on a packet infrastructure at the edge of the network. PathStar was designed specifically to enable Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs), cable companies, ISPs, and ILECs in new serving areas to rapidly offer innovative and differentiated high-margin, high-quality local & long-distance voice and data services over packet networks at lower capital and operational costs.





















1.            Data Communications, Computer Networks and OSI / F.Halsall

2.Computer Network / A.S.Tanenbaum

3.Data Network / U.D.Black

Reference books

  1.        MCSE: Networking Essentials

  2.       Data communications and Networking By: Behrouz A.. Forouzan.

  3.       ATM and Multiprotocol Networking (McGraw Hill Text)

  4.       Building Switched Networks: Multilayer Switching, QoS, IP     Multicast,    Network Policy, and Service Level Agreements (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company)

  5.       The Switch Book: The Complete Guide to LAN Switching Technology (John Wiley & Sons)

Reference sites