ATM and frame relay are two of the most common used methods for telecommunications between networks today. ATM, which stands for Asynchronous Transfer Mode, is a technology that arose from international standards relating to the transmission of data, voice, and video simultaneously over a network at speeds far faster than has been possible without the standards. ATM can transport electronic communications from phone calls, to movies, to the familiar email and files contained on a gopher or world wide web server. ATM is also known for transporting communications at hundreds of megabits per second, which results in speedier service than Ethernet on local area networks. This speed allows accurate and near perfect synchronization between speech, motion, and data that make up a multimedia presentation, which are more commonly used in offices and schools. ATM has also ascended into being a standard for fixed-length cell switching. Cells that originate from various sources, or from various destinations are asynchronously multiplexed between multiple packet switches. The Virtual Path Identifier (VPI) and Virtual Circuit Identifier (VCI) are the unique integer fields that identify each circuit on each link of the network, and the ATM switches are responsible for switching cells between ports, buffering cells, translating VPI/VCI's, guaranteeing Quality of Service (QOS), connection set-up, and connection tear down.
On the other hand, we have Frame Relay, which is connection-oriented transport service that operates at speeds ranging from 56 kilobytes per second to 44 megabytes per second. The data being sent is packaged into frame packets from the end-device terminal, and then, transported through the network on predefined logic links. And if the packet is corrupted or lost, the equipment can simply re-transmit the data. Frame relay was developed to capitalize on quality levels and bandwidth offered by digital, electrical, and fiber optic facilities.