Multiprotocol Over ATM

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What Does Multiprotocol Over ATM Mean?

Multiprotocol over ATM (MPOA) facilitates local area network (LAN) data exchange through an asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) backbone.


MPOA is an ATM Forum specification standardized as RFC 2684.

Techopedia Explains Multiprotocol Over ATM

MPOA runs at layer three of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model and integrates ATM technology with LAN protocols such as Ethernet, Token Ring and Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).

MPOA features are:

  • Providing ATM scalability and bandwidth
  • Allowing legacy LAN retention
  • Allowing virtual LAN (VLAN) creation and routing

MPOA also manages the following operations:

  • Configuration: This is required by MPOA clients (MPC) and MPOA servers (MPS). Configuration component parameters are defined by the LAN emulation configuration server (LECS).
  • Discovery: Operating MPOA component locations are determined. These are MPOA components transmitting LAN emulation (LANE) messages, which carry MPOA device type and ATM data.
  • Target Resolution: MPOA builds ATM shortcuts from any MPOA host or edge device, which routes data to the destination as required.
  • Connection Management: MPOA components establish virtual channel connections (VCC), which are required for ATM data and control message transfer.
  • Data Transfer: This is facilitated by default and shortcut flow operation modes.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.