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NE40E V800R010C00 Feature Description - WAN Access 01

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Overview of ATM IMA

Overview of ATM IMA


IMA is the acronym of Inverse Multiplexing for ATM. The general idea of IMA is that the sender schedules and distributes a high-speed ATM cell stream to multiple low-speed physical links for transmission, and then the receiver schedules and reassembles the stream fragments into one cell stream and submits the cell stream to the ATM layer. In this manner, bandwidths are multiplexed flexibly, improving the efficiency of bandwidth usage.


When users access an ATM network at a rate between T1 and T3 or between E1 and E3, using T3 or E3 lines is cost-ineffective for carriers. Using multiple T1 or E1 lines is more flexible and efficient. IMA allows a network designer and administrator to use multiple T1 or E1 lines, not the expensive T3 or E3 lines, to implement ATM access.


IMA has the following advantages:

  • Provides a rate that is lower than the T3/E3 rate but higher than the T1/E1 rate.
  • Maintains the order of cells, which facilitates ATM management

IMA provides the following benefits for carriers.

  • Construction and maintenance of networks will cost less.

  • Networks can be expanded flexibly and bandwidth usage is more efficient.

Updated: 2018-07-04

Document ID: EDOC1100027168

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