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Fibre Channel. Maria G. Luna. Objectives. Define what is Fibre Channel Standards Fibre Channel Architecture Simple example of a Network Connection Fiber Channel Layers Summary FC Layers (Picture) Fibre Channel Topologies Technology Comparison Conclusion. Maria G. Luna.

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Fibre channel

Fibre Channel

Maria G. Luna


  • Define what is Fibre Channel

  • Standards

  • Fibre Channel Architecture

    • Simple example of a Network Connection

    • Fiber Channel Layers

      • Summary FC Layers (Picture)

    • Fibre Channel Topologies

  • Technology Comparison

  • Conclusion

Maria G. Luna

What is fibre channel
What is Fibre Channel?

  • A high-speed transmission technology used as a peripheral channel or network backbone.

  • It is a 100MB/sec, full-duplex, serial, data communication technology.

  • It supports several common transport protocols like Internet Protocol (IP) and SCSI.

  • It operates over copper and fiber optic cables at distances of up to 10 Kilometers.

  • It is supported by many suppliers like Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Seagate, and Sun Microsystems.

Maria G. Luna

Standards for fibre channel
Standards for Fibre Channel

  • The T11 Committee of NCIT, a U.S. standards-development organization under the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) meets 6 times a year to develop Fibre Channel standards.

Maria G. Luna

Current standards
Current standards:

  • Some examples of current standards.

  • Performance from 266 megabits/second to over 4 gigabits/second.

  • Support for distances of up to 10Km.

  • High-bandwidth utilization with distance insensitivity.

  • Support for multiple cost/performance levels, from small systems to super computers.

  • Ability to carry multiple existing interface command sets, including Internet Protocol (IP), SCSI, IPI, and audio and video.

Maria G. Luna

Fibre channel architecture
Fibre Channel Architecture

  • Fibre Channel transfers digital data between sources and users of information.

    • This digital data represents different types of information like programs, files, graphics, videos and sound.

    • Each having its own structure, protocol, connectivity, measures of performance and reliability requirements.

Maria G. Luna

Network connection example
Network Connection Example

Node Ports

Node Ports





Node Ports

Node Ports





Fabric Ports

Maria G. Luna

Network connection continued
Network connection (continued):

  • Network Connections are established between the node ports (N_Ports), that are in computers, servers, storage devices, and printers, and the fabric ports (F_Ports), that are on the periphery of the Fibre Channel Fabric.

  • The Fibre Channel Architecture specifies in detail the link Characteristics and protocol used between the node ports and the fabric ports.

  • The Fibre Channel can interconnect more than 16 million node ports in a single address.

Maria G. Luna

Fibre channel layers
Fibre Channel Layers

  • Five layers FC-1, FC-2, FC-3, and FC-4.

    • Define the physical media, transmission rates, encoding scheme, framing protocol, flow control, common services, and the upper level interfaces.

    • FC-0, FC-1, and FC-2 - define how Fibre Channel ports interact with other ports.

    • They are refereed to as the Fibre Channel Physical levels (PC-PH Levels).

    • FC-3, and FC-4 - define how Fibre Channel ports interact with applications in host systems.

Maria G. Luna

Fc 0 media and interfaces
FC-0 : Media and Interfaces

  • Covers the physical characteristics of the interface and media, including cables, connectors, drivers, transmitters, and receivers.

    • Examples of media :

      • twisted pair

      • coaxial

      • multi mode/single mode fiber

      • fiber light sources

      • long wave lasers

Maria G. Luna

Fc 1 and fc 2
FC-1, and FC-2:

  • FC-1: Transmission Protocol

    • Defines how FC-0 signals are patterned to carry data and how port-to-port links are initialized.

  • FC-2: Framing and Signaling Protocol

    • Defines the rules for signaling and the transfer of data.

    • Defines various classes of services, some examples:

      • Class 1: Is a full-duplex dedicated link between 2 ports. (Highest quality of service because it is the most effective in transferring large amounts of data at very high speed.

      • Class 2: Multiplexed connection , where 1 port can carry different exchanges with many other ports.

      • Class 3: Multicast and broadcast where there’s no confirmation of receipt.

Maria G. Luna

Fc 3 and fc 4
FC-3 and FC-4:

  • FC-3: Common Services

    • Defines commons services provided by two or more node ports in a host system. (Ex. Two or more node ports, sharing a common port address, which increases the bandwidth available from node port to fabric ports).

  • FC-4: Protocol Mappings

    • Formed by series of profiles defining how to map legacy protocols to Fibre Channel.

    • Profiles for protocols like IP, SCSI, for disk drives, and several others are already defined here.

Maria G. Luna

Fibre channel layers1
Fibre Channel Layers



Maria G. Luna


Fibre channel layers2
Fibre Channel Layers

  • The previous picture illustrates the relationship between the media type and the operating range for each Fibre Channel, which is defined by the FC-0 layer.

    • For example we see that a Multimode Fiber medium has a transfer rate of 133Mbps-266Mbps.

    • And Singlemode Fiber medium has a range of 531Mbps-1.06Gbps.

    • Whereas a copper medium has a transfer rate 2.12Gbps-4.25Gbps.

Maria G. Luna

Fibre channel layers continued
Fibre Channel Layers (continued)

  • We also observe the relationship between FC-0 and FC-1, where FC-1 defines how the signals are carried by the FC-0 layer.

    • We also observe that the FC-2 layer defines the framing protocol, and flow control.

    • We also observe that FC-3 defines the common services.

    • And that FC-4 is the layer defining the protocols like IP.

Maria G. Luna

Fabric topologies
Fabric Topologies

  • There are three topologies for Fibre Channel Fabrics:

    • Point-to-point

      • Where two node ports have the same signaling rate and class of service.

    • Switched

      • Where 16 million node ports can be interconnected.

    • Loop (Ring)

      • Organizes up to 127 Fibre Channel ports on a ring, and distributes the routing functions among them.

      • It is used more than the switched topology.

      • It also costs less than switched topology.

Maria G. Luna

Technology comparison
Technology Comparison

Maria G. Luna


Technology comparison1
Technology Comparison

  • Clearly from this table we can observe that Fibre Channel is the best technology:

    • Because it provides a higher data rate than ATM.

    • Because it can be employed in more topologies, when compared to the Ethernet, and ATM.

    • It is more reliable since the delivery of data is guaranteed and there’s no loss of data.

    • It has a bigger frame size of up to 2KB when comparing it to Ethernet’s 1.5KB, and ATM’s 53B

    • And also because it supports Network, SCSI, and video protocols, whereas Ethernet only supports Network, and ATM only supports Network and Video Protocols.

Maria G. Luna


  • Once again Fibre Channel is a high speed peripheral transmission technology used in networks.

  • With a transmission rate of 100MB/sec and with a full-duplex flow of transmission.

  • It is defined by five layers which are FC-0, FC-1, FC-2, FC-3, and FC-4, and they define the media, transmission rates, coding/encoding, framing, flow, and protocols supported.

  • And when compared to the Ethernet and ATM technologies it is the best.

  • Experts agree that Fibre Channel is the first technology with the potential to move the data communications industry into a low-cost-of-ownership, commodity phase.

Maria G. Luna



Lee, Edwin. “An Introduction to Fibre Channel.” Unix Review’s Performance Computing (March, 1999).

Computer Desktop Encyclopedia.

Fibre Channel (1999).

Newton's Telecom Dictionary.

Fibre Channel Association (1999).

Black, George. “ Fibre Alliance to set new standards.” ComputerWeekly (February 11, 1999).

Maria G. Luna