The ATM Forum completed the first version of its private network/network interface (PNNI) in March 1996 and many ATM switch manufacturers are now offering early implementations. PNNI offers a different type of internetwork or internodal interface from the traditional Signalling System No 7 based approach favoured to date by ‘public’ network operators, such as BT. In spite of its name, however, PNNI may find its place in network service provider networks as well as in ‘private’ or customer networks. Some of the perceived limitations of the current specification for such an environment are currently being addressed in version 2, tentatively due for completion in the second half of 1998.
The PNNI really consists of two parts, a signalling protocol based around the ATM Forum's UNI signalling specification, and a dynamic source routeing protocol. This paper aims to provide an overview of the functionality and mechanics of PNNI, and to compare and contrast with the functionality offered by ITU-T's B-ISUP.