An enhanced ATM switch with CPU node interconnect functionality and peripheral interconnect functionality and network functionality. The ATM switch provides low latency transfer between computer nodes and performs input/output operations with peripherals through the ATM network. SCSI Fibre Channel protocol (FCP) commands are implemented according to ATM standards to provide communication with peripherals. A segmentation and reassembly (SAR) unit is provided for performing ATM segmentation and reassembly. The SAR includes functional units which allow direct connection of an application agent to the core of the switch once the cell characteristics are determined by the application agent and provides ATM cell translation to and from available kernel buffers. The transmission media in the ATM network comprises digital optical links. The enhanced ATM switch may also include a synchronous optical network (SONET) interface for providing SONET transmission over the digital optical links in the ATM network.