These are roughly comparable to IP addresses used in the IP protocol; they can specify a piece of equipment connected to the ATM network. A specific stream (analogous to a 'port' or 'socket' used with TCP or UDP) is specified by using a TSAP, or Transport Service Access Point. ATM can also use a Presentation and Session AP (PSAP and SSAP respectively), but these may also be left blank; this is up to the application.
NSAP addresses are allocated by the ISO, through a system of delegated authorities, which are generally national standards organizations. One of the schemes to generate NSAPs uses E.164 which is the addressing format describing phone numbers.
NSAP addresses do not specify where a network terminal is located. Routing equipment must translate NSAP addresses to NSPAs (Network Service Point Addresses) to route OSI packets; VCI (Virtual Circuit Identifier) numbers are an example of a datalink layer NSPAs in ATM; when OSI packets are sent encapsulated in IP packets the IP address is considered an NSPA.
Currently SDH/SONET networks are a major part of the network infrastructure and NSAP's are used extensively. They are usually assigned by the Network Management/NOC personnel and agreed upon within an organisation to be unique (to that organisation and based on geographical location using country code phone prefixes) and are REQUIRED before any operational connectivity is established at the commissioning stage.
NSAP addresses are used in the following OSI-based network technologies:
NSAP-style addresses are used in the IS-IS routing protocol.