FC-AL - FIBRE CHANNEL - ARBITRATED LOOP
Fibre Channel - Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL) is a high bandwidth -- 100 mByte/Sec -- serial interface designed for communication with high capacity peripherals. It can be dual ported to double speed and will be extended to higher base speeds in future years. It will support copper links up to 30 meters, or Fibre Optic Links up to 10km. FC-AL will support several peripheral command Interfaces including HIPPI, IPI3 and SCSI3. FC-AL allows hot plugging of up to 126 devices and is purported to be fault tolerant. However, FC-AL is currently substantially more expensive than SCSI and IDE and is unlikely to replace either in the next few years except in high end applications.
FC-AL may be replaced in the future by a technology called Fibre Channel Loop (FCL) which will implement FC-AL as a mode and will add modes capable of supporting spatial reuse (device to device communication) and arbitrationless (multiple simultaneous) communications similar to the capabilities presently found in IBM's SSA.
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Copyright 1994-2002 by Donald Kenney.