Hardware-Software Architecture of the SWAN Wireless ATM Network

  • Prathima Agrawal
  • Eoin Hyden
  • Paul Krzyzanowski
  • Mani B. Srivastava
  • John A. Trotter


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.


Medium Access Control Medium Access Control Protocol Mobile Host Frequency Slot Connection Manager 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prathima Agrawal
    • 1
  • Eoin Hyden
    • 1
  • Paul Krzyzanowski
    • 1
  • Mani B. Srivastava
    • 1
  • John A. Trotter
    • 1
  1. 1.Bell LaboratoriesLucent TechnologiesMurray HillUSA

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