WATMnet: A prototype wireless ATM system for multimedia personal communication

Dipankar Raychaudhuri, Leslie J. French, Robert J. Siracusa, Subir K. Biswas, Ruixi Yuan, Parthasarathy Narasimhan, Cesar A. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


A prototype microcellular wireless asynchronous transfer mode network (WATMnet) capable of providing integrated multimedia communication services to mobile terminals is described in this paper. The experimental system's hardware consists of laptop computers (NEC Versa-M) with WATMnet interface cards, multiple VME/i960 processor-based WATMnet base stations, and a mobility-enhanced local-area ATM switch. The prototype wireless network interface cards operate at peak bit-rates up to 8 Mb/s, using low-power 2.4 GHz industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM)-band modems. Wireless network protocols at the portable terminal and base station interfaces support available bit rate (ABR), variable bit rate (VBR), and constant bit rate (CBR) transport services compatible with ATM using a dynamic time-division multiple-access/time-division duplex (TDMA/TDD) MAC protocol for channel sharing and data link control (DLC) protocol for error recovery. A custom wireless control protocol is also implemented between the portable and base units for support of radio link related functions such as user registration and handoff. All network entities including the portable, base and switch use a mobility-enhanced version of ATM ("Q.2931+") signaling for switched virtual circuit (SVC) connection control functions, including handoff. In the first stage of the prototype, the application-level API is TCP/IP over ATM ABR service class using AALS. Early experiments with the WATMnet prototype have been conducted to validate major protocol and software aspects, including DLC, wireless control, and mobility signaling for handoff. Selected network-based multimedia/video applications requiring moderate bit-rates (∼0.5-1 Mb/s) in ABR mode have been successfully demonstrated on the laptop PC. Work aimed at a more complete implementation of WATMnet protocol functionalities, along with performance optimization and multimedia application software development is currently in progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • DLC
  • MAC
  • Mobility management
  • Multimedia systems
  • Personal communications
  • Wireless ATM


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