Distributed Data Interface
The Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) standard was produced by the
ANSI X3T9.5 standards committee in the mid-1980s. During this period, high-speed
engineering workstations were beginning to tax the capabilities of existing local-area
networks (LANs) (primarily Ethernet and Token Ring). A new LAN was needed that
could easily support these workstations and their new distributed applications.
At the same time, network reliability was becoming an increasingly important issue
as system managers began to migrate mission-critical applications from large
computers to networks. FDDI was developed to fill these needs.
completing the FDDI specification, ANSI submitted FDDI to the International Organization
for Standardization (ISO). ISO has created an international version of FDDI that
is completely compatible with the ANSI standard version.
although FDDI implementations are not as common as Ethernet or Token Ring, FDDI
has gained a substantial following that continues to increase as the cost of FDDI
interfaces diminishes. FDDI is frequently used as a backbone technology as well
as a means to connect high-speed computers in a local area.
FDDI specifies a 100-Mbps, token-passing, dual-ring LAN
using a fiber-optic transmission medium. It defines the physical layer and media-access
portion of the link layer, and so is roughly analogous to IEEE 802.3 and IEEE
802.5 in its relationship to the Open System Interconnection (OSI) reference model.
Although it operates at faster speeds, FDDI
is similar in many ways to Token Ring. The two networks share many features, including
topology (ring), media-access technique (token passing), reliability features
(redundant rings, for example), and others. For more information on Token Ring
and related technologies.
One of the most
important characteristics of FDDI is its use of optical fiber as a transmission
medium. Optical fiber offers several advantages over traditional copper wiring,
including security (fiber does not emit electrical signals that can be tapped),
reliability (fiber is immune to electrical interference), and speed (optical fiber
has much higher throughput potential than copper cable). FDDI defines use of two
types of fiber: single mode (sometimes called monomode) and multimode. Modes can
be thought of as bundles of light rays entering the fiber at a particular angle.
Single-mode fiber allows only one mode of light to propagate through the fiber,
while multimode fiber allows multiple modes of light to propagate through the
fiber. Because multiple modes of light propagating through the fiber may travel
different distances (depending on the entry angles), causing them to arrive at
the destination at different times (a phenomenon called modal dispersion), single-mode
fiber is capable of higher bandwidth and greater cable run distances than multimode
Due to these characteristics, single-mode fiber is often used for interbuilding
connectivity, while multimode fiber is often used for intrabuilding connectivity.
Multimode fiber uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as the light-generating devices,
while single-mode fiber generally uses lasers.
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