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Efficient multipoint to multipoint broadband switched network services for distributed multimedia applications


The main objectives of MULTICUBE are the following:
to get a clear picture of user requirements in the Automotive and Aerospace industry with regard to CSCW and existing applications,
to realise a testbed providing switched multipoint ATM communications on top of the ATM WAN provided by the James project,
to investigate how ATM multipoint communications can support multicast IP flows with QoS guarantees,
to provide usage trials and demonstrators of wide area Co-operative Engineering with 6 industry users among 3 European countries with the support of 3 National Hosts,
to evaluate how the everyday working process of involved users can be improved by the use of CSCW over advanced ATM networks,
to evaluate advantages in terms of scope and economy of scale, this evaluation will be performed by the users companies involved in the project
to evaluate operational and management aspects of the telecom infrastructure when providing multipoint communications over ATM,
to provide inputs to users' fora and standardisation bodies on the relevant subjects.

The project started in September 1995 and its planned to finish in August 1998.

Realised and Expected Achievements
Field trials will provide experiences, feedbacks, operational procedures which can be used in several business sectors and can serve to provide requirements and contributions for standardisation bodies.
The project will enable network operators to analyse the needs of important industrial sectors for high bandwidth infrastructures and for the introduction of ATM technology.
The main achievements up to now have been:
participation of Multicube partners in the G7 GIBN and Torino 2000 experiments,
the study of the state of the art of CSCW and the selection of applications to be used in the trials,
the specification of the user requirements, mainly in terms of the communication needs of the applications that MULTICUBE partners involved in the trials will use,
the development of UNI and NNI signalling on public ATM nodes,
the contribution to the IETF work on the multicast IP over ATM issue, with the EARTH proposal.

Expected Impact
Benefits intended to obtain from the introduction of CSCW in engineering contexts are direct, like reduction of the development time or costs reduction in general, and indirect, like higher product quality, higher service quality and customer assistance, opening towards new markets and staff professional growth.
Potential ATM users will be able to evaluate their future use of the ATM technology and assess cost/performance and quality of broadband services. The introduction of multicast servers for multipoint applications will significantly increase the potential of ATM infrastructures allowing access to developers and users with heterogeneous application environment.

Main contributions to the programme objectives:
Main deliverables
A pilot broadband ATM infrastructure enabling manufacturing industries to run demanding CSCW IP applications such as high quality multi-videoconference, distributed interactive simulation, or collaborative automotive design.
Contribution to the programme
Integration of IP, including multicast IP over ATM; a solution for supporting IETF Integrated Services model on a public ATM network.
Technical Approach
MULTICUBE wants to develop, test and validate a demonstration of broadband infrastructure supporting CSCW tools and involving real users. Designers from interested user companies will employ the selected CSCW tools on a high speed multimedia multipoint infrastructure in their everyday activities. Evaluation of performance and of perceived QoS will be performed by users in their working environment. Multipoint communications will be performed employing direct ATM multicast or IP multicast over ATM multicast in the interconnection of users of high-speed LANs through the European ATM network. The problem of signalling and IP soft reservation for multipoint communications will be addressed and short/medium term solutions will be proposed, implemented and tested.
Summary of Trial
The user companies involved in the project are subdivided in two groups: aerospace (Alenia Spazio Torino, CASA Division Espacio, NLR Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory) and automotive (Diseno Industrial, Italdesign, SEAT). The overall co-ordination of the trials will be performed by Alenia Spazio Torino, which is also co-ordinator of the aerospace user trials. The co-ordinator of the car design user trials is Italdesign.
Trials will be based on the ATM European network and a first project demonstration has been given during the first project workshop on October 10th 1996. Extensive wide area experiments on the ATM European network are planned to start in April 1997 and will involve the Dutch, the Italian and the Spanish National Hosts.
Key Issues
MULTICUBE implements network solutions able to support multimedia applications with a minimum upgrading of already existing (or in any case standardised) services and signalling protocols.
The provision of multipoint functionality to multimedia applications is a central issue for network operators in the process of experimentation of new services to provide to industry users.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecomunicazioni SpA (CSELT)
Via Guglielmo Reiss Romoli 274
10148 Torino

Participants (11)

Alenia Un'Azienda Finmeccanica SpA
Corso Marche 41
10146 Torino
CASA Division Espacio
Via Emanueli 15
20126 Milano
Diseno Industrial
Gesellschaft für Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung mbH
Hardenbergplatz 2
10623 Berlin
Via San Quintino 28
10121 Torino
Telefónica de España