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How do satellite ATM networks work?

Can you please explain to me how satellite ATM networks work?
Satellite networks work via line of site from the satellite (which roams the earth) to the end device. It is very much like satellite dish TV's. In some networks, they will back haul ATM to the premise. In others, they use the ATM packet structure to deliver packets up to the satellite and back down. W-ATM (wireless ATM) is being worked on by several different groups, but the idea is that they will used a fixed cell format to carry data. If enough data does not exist to fill the cell, it will be padded to get it to the fixed cell length. If you are speaking strictly of wireless/satellite ATM and not worried about the backhaul to your location, then the latter is the case.
This was last published in April 2005

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