It can be envisaged that heterogeneous transport solutions will be used for delivering future multimedia services. This inevitably leads to the situation that bit streams are carried over multiple networks which implement different transport technologies. Thus network elements, such as switches, should be able to interface to different networks and support switching of dissimilar data units. As a solution to the emerging problem, this paper introduces the concept of multidiscipline switching which combines two or more transmission technologies into a compact fabric.
In order to support different networks and services carried on them, a sophisticated service and control architecture is needed. Reported experiments on distributed switching, combined with separation of fabric control from connection and service control, have given encouraging directions to tackle with the implementation problem. As an example, a switching solution combining time-slot, cell and packet switching is presented.
[Full paper (postscript)]
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