ATM, once considered the key to communicating across all networks, is expected to continue playing a role, albeit diminished, in LANs and WANs despite the increasing popularity of powerful and intelligent IP devices. However, many enterprises and service providers are looking to Gigabit Ethernet, optical networks, and emerging IP quality of service as alternatives to ATM's traditional strengths.
"In the long term, we're interested in alternatives to ATM because we pay a significant overhead penalty for carrying ATM," said Vint Cerf, senior vice president of MCI. "I'm quite convinced that we can implement similar functionality in other than ATM switches."
Despite this, vendors continue to roll out their respective range of next-generation products that will extend the capabilities of ATM. And observers said that for the foreseeable future, ATM will continue to be critical.