FIBRE CHANNEL

1/23/99

Fibre Channel: A "1.0625 GigaBit/Second" (i.e. 12.5/25/50/100 MByte/Sec) serial communications technique using fiber optic cables. 100MByte/Sec is often a burst rate that can not be sustained indefinitely by the devices transmitting or receiving data. Duplexing does not share bandwidth on fiber. Range for 9mm single mode fiber is 10km. Other types of fibre have decidedly shorter ranges. Other media -- coaxial cable or twisted pair -- can be used for short links up to 24 Meters. IP, SCSI, ATM and other protocols are supported. 2GHz Fibre is being investigated.

An ANSI standard is being worked on by the XT311T committee.

Fibre Channels supports SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)

Fibre Channel transceivers are known as Gigabit Linking Modules (GLMs). Fibre Channel is often configured as a loop or daisy chained string. Fibre channel ports are often configured with dual ports or Port Bypass Circuits so that a dead device does not bring an entire Fibre Channel loop/string down. It is also possible to use Fibre in star networks using hubs/concentrators. Different types of lasers are in use and are not interoperable. Some emit dangerous power levels and are interlocked to prevent accidental transmission.

Routers may be needed to connect FC links from different vendors and will definitely be required between networks operating at different speeds. Routers are also needed to interconnect fibre channel and Ethernet.

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