How can I compare IP with ATM networks and on what basis? Which physical layer - Ethernet or ATM is preferable and why?

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IP (Internet Protocol) has the lead as today's preferred choice due to lower cost, a higher adoption rate and advanced features – it is better suited for call management and virtual switching.

ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) has many advantages over its competitor, though. It carries multiple types of content at very high speeds, providing benefits for streaming video applications and payroll data. Overall, ATM has a higher quality of service, especially for time-sensitive materials because of its bandwidth efficiency.

For organizations to decide between the two, they must first look at short-term and long-term business needs, and then map features, functions and capabilities to them. A thorough cost-benefit analysis, including TCO and ROI, is essential to understand the value they both deliver and which solution might be better than the current telephony infrastructure. Items like transport costs, hardware investment, management and support, and the availability differences should all be compared and contrasted.

This was first published in May 2005

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