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Cell relay

Cell relay definition

Cell relay is a network technology that transfers fixed-size packets (cells) in networks. It's a key part of technologies such as Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM).

Modern deployments do not use cell relays anymore. However, the technology, especially in the form of ATM, is still in operation in certain legacy systems and specific applications.

See also: open relay, relay node, asynchronous transfer mode, network frame, virtual switch, digital switch

History of cell relay

  • Emergence. Cell relay technology emerged in the 1980s as a solution for integrating voice, video, and data services over the same network. The aim was to create a unified networking standard that efficiently handles diverse types of traffic.
  • Development of ATM. Based on cell relay technology, the International Telecommunication Union-Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) developed the concept of ATM in the mid-1980s.
  • Rapid adoption. In the early 1990s, ATM gained attention as a promising technology for high-speed broadband networks and a potential unifying standard for telecommunications and computer networks.
  • Decline in popularity. Despite its initial adoption in various sectors, the popularity of ATM and cell relay technology began to decline by the late 1990s and early 2000s due to the rise of Internet Protocol (IP)-based technologies.