Книга: Distributed operating systems

2.2. ASYNCHRONOUS TRANSFER MODE NETWORKS

The OSI world sketched in the previous section was developed in the 1970s and implemented (to some extent) in the 1980s. New developments in the 1990s are overtaking OSI, certainly in the technology-driven lower layers. In this section we will touch just briefly on some of these advances in networking, since future distributed systems will very likely be built on them, and it is important for operating system designers to be aware of them. For a more complete treatment of the state-of-the-art in network technology, see (Kleinrock, 1992; and Partridge, 1993, 1994).

In the past quarter century, computers have improved in performance by many orders of magnitude. Networks have not. When the ARPANET, the predecessor to the Internet, was inaugurated in 1969, it used 56 Kbps communication lines between the nodes. This was state-of-the-art communication then. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, many of these lines were replaced by T1 lines running at 1.5 Mbps. Eventually, the main backbone evolved into a T3 network at 45 Mbps, but most lines on the Internet are still T1 or slower.

New developments are suddenly about to make 155 Mbps the low-end standard, with major trunks running at 1 gigabit/sec and up (Catlett, 1992; Cheung, 1992; and Lyles and Swinehart, 1992). This rapid change will have an enormous impact on distributed systems, making possible all kinds of applications that were previously unthinkable, but it also brings new challenges. It is this new technology that we will describe below.

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