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Hardware-software architecture of the SWAN Wireless ATM network

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The SWAN (Seamless Wireless ATM Network) system provides end-to-end ATM connectivity to mobile end-points equipped with RF transceivers for wireless access. Users carrying laptops and multimedia terminals can seamlessly access multimedia data over a backbone wired network while roaming among room-sized cells that are equipped with basestations. The research focus on how to make ATM mobile and wireless distinguishes SWAN from present day mobile-IP based wireless LANs. This paper describes the design and implementation of the ATM-based wireless last-hop, the primary components of which are the air-interface control, the medium access control, and the low-level ATM transport and signalling.

The design is made interesting by its interplay with ATM; in particular, by the need to meaningfully extend over the wireless last-hop the service quality guarantees made by the higher level ATM layers. The implementation, on the other hand, is an example of hardware-software co-design and partitioning. A key component of the wireless hop implementation is a custom designed reconfigurable wireless adapter card called FAWN (Flexible Adapter for Wireless Networking) which is used at the mobiles as well as at the basestations. The functionality is partitioned three-way amongst dedicated reconfigurable hardware on FAWN, embedded firmware on FAWN, and device driver software on a host processor. Using an off-the-shelf 625 Kbps per channel radio, several of which can be supported by a single FAWN adapter to provide multiple channels, per-channel unidirectional TCP data throughput of 227 Kbps (or, 454 Kbps bidirectional) and per-channel unidirectional native ATM data throughput of 210 Kbps (or, 420 Kbps bidirectional) have been obtained.

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Agrawal, P., Hyden, E., Krzyzanowski, P. et al. Hardware-software architecture of the SWAN Wireless ATM network. J VLSI Sign Process Syst Sign Image Video Technol 13, 87–104 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01130400

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  • Medium Access Control
  • Wireless Link
  • Medium Access Control Protocol
  • Mobile Host
  • Frequency Slot