Do you aware how many ATM standards bodies?

Four main standards bodies are associated with ATM standards. The international bodies are the Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) Forum and the United Nations agency, the International Telecommunications Union, Telecommunications Standardization Sector (ITU-T). The regional bodies are the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

The ATM forum leads the way in developing and rolling out ATM standards. A group of manufacturers created this forum to ensure the rapid progress of the ATM standardization process, and it wanted to advertise ATM capability. This group is also active in drawing up solutions for the problems and challenges generated in ATM application.

International bodies

The ATM forum is divided into the

  • Technical Committee, This committee comprises principal members of the forum, and it is responsible for the development of technical standards.
  • Market Awareness and Education (MA&E) Committee – This committee comprises principal members, and it is responsible for educational material, press releases, and other related presentations that raise awareness of ATM capabilities in the telecommunications market.
  • End-User Roundtable (ENR) – This committee comprises user members, and it is responsible for developing an understanding of user requirements for ATM.

You can contact the ATM forum via their official web site at

The ATM forum promotes short-term, practical solutions for equipment manufacturers, the Internet, and private ATM networks. In contrast, the ITU-T promotes long-term, robust standards for public networks.

However, many of the ITU-T standards are similar or identical to those of the ATM forum. The ITU-T often publishes the standards of the ATM forum up to two years after their release.

You can contact the ITU-T via their official web site address

Regional bodies
The influential regional bodies – ANSI and ETSI – don’t focus exclusively on ATM standards, and they tend to base their output on information that the ATM forum publishes. ANSI’s T1 committee contributes to the development of ATM standards, and it adapts ITUT standards to U.S. market environments and to the transmission equipment that dominates North America. ETSI provides telecommunication standards for European countries. Its standards emerge as European Telecommunications Standards (ETS) that define functionality, interfaces, and telecommunications protocols. Or they emerge as normes Europeennes de telecommunications (NETS) standards that are mandatory for the approval of network terminal equipment. ETSI also produces technical reports that provide technical guidelines for network design and maintenance.

The official web site address for the ANSI T1 committee on telecommunications standards is The official web site address for the ETSI telecommunications standards body is

ATM standards can be confusing because several bodies generate standards, later standards may contradict earlier versions, the standards are littered with acronyms, and the different standards bodies may use different terms to refer to the same thing. A further complication is that ITU-T standards are typically published later than those of the ATM forum.

However, you can categorize the standards according to type or function. For example, in the ITU-T standards the

  • I series of standards relates to the architecture and functionality ofIntegrated Services Digital Networks (ISDN) and to the interfaces and protocols relating to these networks
  • G series of standards defines transmission systems and media
  • Q series defines signaling and the protocols used between devices to manage and control the network

Some useful standards to use when you begin to go through the ATM standards include the ITU-T I.113, I.121, I.150, I.211, I.311, I.361, and I.363.

Other useful standards are listed by category show below:

ATM Standard

As a summary,
The four main bodies associated with Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) standards are the ATM forum, the International Telecommunications Union – Telecommunications Standardization Sector (ITU-T), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

Because the ATM standards can be complicated and confusing, you should have a good grounding in ATM technologies before going through the standards, and you need to structure your readings of the standards carefully.

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