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DE2: linking personal computers to high speed networks

Local area networks (LAN) using asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) provide the speed and bandwidth needed for high quality, simultaneous voice, video and data transmission. Based around a single-chip controller, the VIRATAlink Network Interface Card (NIC) provides simple, low cost and high performance connection of desktop personal computers (PC) to ATM25 networks. Drivers for Windows are included and, with a network switch such as VIRATAswitch, it can be used to build high performance LANs running standard TCP/IP (the protocols used for Internet access). VIRATAlink also allows PCs to connect to new digital subscriber line (DSL) modems, which offer high data rate services over existing lines.

VIRATAlink uses the Hydrogen chip, a custom IC with an ARM7 core running at 32 MHz. It has PCI bus interface logic, an ATM25 analogue physical layer interface, ATM cell buffers, segmentation and re-assembly (SAR) logic and all other functions required to connect to an ATM25 network. It is supported by 1 Mbyte of external direct random access memory (DRAM) and an Ethernet media access controller (MAC) chip. The ARM core runs the ATMOS real time operating system kernel, which provides a full suite of ATM protocols and performs all functions for connecting to an ATM network. Signalling for the virtual circuits and LAN emulation are also included. VIRATAlink can also function as a standard Ethernet NIC. Device drivers for Windows 3.1x, 95 and NT support all standard network protocols, enabling new classes of multimedia applications to run on PCs across the LAN such as computer telephony integration (CTI).


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