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Networking - Fiber Distributed Data Interface

The Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) standard was designed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI X3T9.5 standard ) in the mid-1980s, and later turned over to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The OSI specification for FDDI is not actually a single specification, but a collection of four specifications for the the physical and media-access portions of the OSI reference model.

FDDI uses pulses of light and fiber optic cable to send signals with a 100 Mbps throughput. It uses a token passing routine similar to Token Ring networks, except that it uses two rings with signals flowing in opposite directions (referred to as counter-rotating).

FDDI counter-rotating rings

The purpose of the dual rings is to provide high reliability. The dual rings consist of a primary ring and a secondary ring. During normal operation, the primary ring is used for data transmission, while the secondary ring remains idle. If the primary ring experience problems, the secondary ring will take over data transmission.

FDDI can use two types of fiber optic cable, single-mode or multimode. A mode is a variation in the intensity of the light in the cable. basically, a mode can be thought of as a ray of light. Single-mode fiber allows only one mode of light to propagate through the fiber. Multimode cable allows multiple modes of light to propagate through the fiber.

Because multiple modes of light will arrive at the end of the fiber at different times, a characteristic referred to as modal dispersion, the bandwidth and distances that can be achieved using multimode fibers is limited. Because only one mode of light is allowed to propagate through Single-mode fiber, modal dispersion is not present. Single-mode fiber is capable of achieving higher throughput over longer distances.

The number of modes that a fiber-optic cable exhibits depends on the dimensions and variation of refractive indices of the core and cladding of the cable. Multimode fiber systems use an LED as the light generating device, while single- mode fiber systems use lasers.

Fiber optic media has several advantages over copper media. Because fiber optic does not emit electrical signals, it cannot be tapped to permit unauthorized access to the data being transmitted. Fiber optic is also immune to electrical interference allowing it to support higher throughput than copper. For these reasons FDDI is frequently used as a high speed backbone for large networks.

More Networking Topologies Articles:
• Computer Networking Devices
• Frame Relay WAN Protocol
• Multilayer Switch
• Overview of IEEE 802.11 Wireless Lan Technology
• Distance Vector vs. Link State vs. Hybrid Routing
• Transparent Bridging and MAC Address Filtering
• What is an Ethernet Switch?
• Hubs, Switches and Routers - What's the Difference?
• Beginners Guide to Fiber Optic Bit Error Ratio (BER) Measurement
• Here's a Quick Way to Build Your Fiber Optic Network

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