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Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion

1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1


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Overview
Introduction
In earlier chapters, LAN designs were illustrated for a single-floor implementation using
Ethernet and Token-ring technologies. As the demand for LAN access grows, it becomes
necessary to expand the network to accommodate new users. At this point, there are three
options available for expansion. They are as follows:
The Repeater Option.
With this option, the number of stations attached to the existing network can be
increased, up to the maximum number of connections allowed. This solution uses
devices called repeaters as needed to overcome excessive signal loss, which
occurs as the length of the network cabling increases.
The Bridge Option.
With this option, multiple networks can be linked to each other using devices called
bridges. This solution overcomes the maximum number of connections rule. It
offers better performance by linking several small networks together, rather than
creating one large LAN.
Introduction, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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The Backbone Option.
With this option, multiple stations or networks can be linked to a common backbone
network, using either repeaters or bridges. With this optionand using bridges
performance improves further and an even greater overall number of stations can
be connected together.
In the following pages, each of these implementations will be described for both Ethernet and
Token-ring. Such expansions are usually needed for LANs servicing multiple floors of a
building. Linkages between buildings in a campus environment would be similar in design
the distances, however, would usually be greater.
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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LAN expansion - The repeater option
Introduction
A repeater operates at the Physical layer of the OSI model. This layer deals solely with
linkages to the physical medium. The repeaters role is to link two cable segments by
regenerating the incoming signal from one segment before rebroadcasting it onto the other
segment.
Because of its relatively simple function, a repeater is incapable of examining an incoming
message and making decisions based on its content.
A repeater can, however, be used to extend the physical reach of a LAN by sending the
outgoing signals over a different transmission medium, such as optical fiber cabling.
A repeater is also able to detect a signal-related malfunction on either of its attached
segments. If necessary, it can isolate the faulty segment, thus preventing the failure from
disabling the entire network.
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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Ethernet repeaters
Copper Ethernet repeaters
Copper repeaters are commonly employed in Ethernet networks when the distances to be
covered are limited.
Coaxial cable based
Ethernet
The original Ethernet
specifications, using thick
coaxial cable trunk
segments, called for a
maximum of five such
segments between any two
nodes. Each segment could
be a maximum of 500 m
(1640 ft) in length and the
five segments were
connected to each other
using four repeaters.
FIGURE 9.1:
ETHERNET USING
COPPER REPEATERS
Ethernet repeaters, continued
Repeater 1
Repeater 2
Repeater 3
Repeater 4
Trunk segment 1 - Network devices attached
Trunk segment 3 - Network devices attached
Trunk segment 5 - Network devices attached
Trunk segment 2 - No network devices attached
Trunk segment 4 - No network devices attached
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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Ethernet repeaters are used to extend the overall length of the trunk cable. This may be
necessary when the floor area to be covered is very large. Repeaters may also be required
when more than 100 transceivers need to be connected to the network.
A repeater is attached to a transceiver on each of the two trunk cables to be connected
with an AUI (Attachment Unit Interface) cable. It is considered to be a network device and,
therefore, becomes one of the maximum of 100 devices on a trunk cable.
Some considerations when installing repeaters are as follows:
Up to five trunk segments may be joined using four repeaters.
Stations may be connected to only three trunk segments. Other trunk segments are
used for distance extension.
The maximum overall length of connected trunk segments is 2500 m (8200 ft).
The total number of devices on all trunk segments which have been combined with
repeaters cannot exceed 1024.
Ethernet repeaters, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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With Thinnet (10Base-2) Ethernet, the layout when using repeaters is similar. It has the
following characteristics:
A maximum of five trunk segments can be connected using four repeaters.
Stations can be attached to only three of the segments. The remaining segments
are used for distance extension.
The maximum segment length is 185 m (607 ft).
The maximum overall length of the trunks is 925 m (3035 ft).
There can be a maximum of 30 attachments (including repeaters) per segment.
The total number of devices on all trunk segments which have been combined with
repeaters cannot exceed 1024.
Ethernet repeaters, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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Multiport repeaters
In both the Thicknet and Thinnet environments, multiport repeaters can be used to attach
more than one station per attachment to the trunk cable. This type of configuration is
shown below.
FIGURE 9.2:
ETHERNET USING
MULTIPORT REPEATERS
Without such devices, a
Thicknet trunk cable
would support no
more than 100
stations, while a
Thinnet trunk
cable would be
limited to 30
stations.
Multi-port Repeater
Transcei ver
AUI cabl e
Stations and ser vers
Coaxial trunk cabl e
Ethernet repeaters, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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10Base-T networks
In 10Base-T networks, where all devices are connected to a central hub, the repeater is
physically a part of the hub. Such a hub may be connected to a thick or thin coaxial trunk
cable or it may be connected to another 10Base-T hub. Both are illustrated below.
FIGURE 9.3:
10BASE-T HUB
ATTACHED
TO A COAXIAL
TRUNK CABLE
10Base-T hub
Transcei ver
AUI cable to AUI port on the hub
Stations and ser ver
Coaxial trunk cable
UTP cable
Ethernet repeaters, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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FIGURE 9.4: DAISY-CHAINED 10BASE-T HUBS
It should be noted that the ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A standard accepts
the connection of devices in different telecommunications closets for
the purpose of maintaining a bus or ring topology.
10Base-T hubs
Stations
and server
UTP cable
10Base-T hubs
Stations
and server
UTP cable
UTP or optical
fiber repeater
cable
Ethernet repeaters, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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Optical fiber Ethernet repeaters
By using optical fiber, the total length of the network can be extended considerably. The
illustration below shows how optical fiber repeaters may be included in an Ethernet
network.
FIGURE 9.5: ETHERNET USING OPTICAL FIBER REPEATERS
Repeater
Segment 1
Repeater
Segment 1
Repeater
Segment 2
Repeater
Optical fiber segment Optical fiber segment
Ethernet repeaters, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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There are three specifications which address the role of optical fiber in such applications.
FOIRL - Fiber Optic Inter-Repeater Link
This is the original specification for linking Ethernet segments using optical fiber. FOIRL
follows the four-repeater limit and specifies a maximum length of 1000 m (3280 ft)
between repeaters. This provides for approximately 2500 m (8200 ft) between two
segments located at opposite ends of a network using coaxial trunk cabling.
10Base-FL
The Fiber Link specification approved in 1993 replaces FOIRL. It allows for 2 kilometers
(6560 ft) between repeaters or between an optical fiber NIC and its corresponding hub
port, in keeping with structured cabling standards recommendations. As a result, the total
distance between two stations at opposite ends of the network is extended to
4500 m (14760 ft).
For hub-based networks, there can be a total of five repeatersrather than the four
specified in FOIRL. This allows five repeater-equipped hubs to be connected to each
other.
Ethernet repeaters, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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10Base-FB
Whereas the 10Base-FL specification can be used for repeater or station-to-hub links, the
Fiber Backbone specification, also approved in 1993, defines specifications for repeater
connections only. The repeaters can be up to 2 kilometers (6560 ft) apart, and multiple
repeaters can be connected to each other sequentially.
The FB specification calls for synchronous signaling between unitsunlike FOIRL and
10Base-FL, which use asynchronous signaling. Such signaling improves the timing of
signals, permitting a greater number of connections between stations located at opposite
ends of a network.
Summary
In all cases where the repeater option is used to expand the size of a single Ethernet, the
limiting factor is the amount of traffic generated on the resulting network. Although it is
possible to connect hundreds of devices using multiport repeaters, usually this will result in
a highly congested network with many collisions and subsequent delays in processing.
Such a situation can be avoided by using bridges, discussed later in this chapter.
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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Token-ring repeaters
Copper Token-ring repeaters
In Token-ring networks, external repeaters are used to increase the overall size of the ring
connecting one passive MAU to another. The active hubs, or CAUs, use internal
repeaters. For both types of hubs, copper and optical fiber repeaters are available.
If the ring to be expanded operates at 4 Mbps, two types of copper repeaters are available.
These are the following:
An external unit used with MAUs.
An internal unit included with CAUs.
For a 16 Mbps ring, only the second choiceusing CAUsis available.
CAU base units operate with LAMsthe CAU acts as the repeater, while the LAMs
connect to station NICs. Each CAU counts as three stations for the purpose of limiting the
overall number of devices on a ring, which cannot exceed a 250 device limit, as specified
by IEEE.
Token-ring repeaters, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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FIGURE 9.6: CAU-BASED TOKEN-RING
When using Type 1 STP to connect the ports of the CAUs, a distance of 400 m (1312 ft)
can exist between two CAUs operating at 4 Mbps and 200 m (656 ft) when operating
at 16 Mbps.
CAU
CAU
CAU
CAU
CAU
Token-ring repeaters, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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Optical fiber Token-ring repeaters
Optical fiber repeaters are recommended for extended distance links between CAUs or
MAUs. This will often be the case where a ring spans multiple buildings on a campus.
FIGURE 9.7:
TOKEN-RING USING
OPTICAL FIBER REPEATERS
When using
62.5/125 m
multimode
optical fiber
to connect
either CAUs
or MAUs, a
distance of
2000 m
(6560 ft)
can exist
between the
repeaters, at either 4 or 16 Mbps.
This is consistent with structured
cabling standards recommendations for
such applications.
Optical fiber cabling
CAU/
MAU
CAU/
MAU
CAU/
MAU
Optical
fiber
repeater
Optical
fiber
repeater
CAU/
MAU
CAU/
MAU
CAU/
MAU
Optical
fiber
repeater
Optical
fiber
repeater
CAU/
MAU
CAU/
MAU
CAU/
MAU
Optical
fiber
repeater
Optical
fiber
repeater
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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LAN expansion - The bridge option
Introduction
Each new station functioning on a LANEthernet, Token-ring or any other typeincreases
the load on the network. Repeaters, which make it possible to connect distant stations to the
network, contribute to this congestion. As newer, more complex software is adopted by
users, there is a need to limit the number of stations on the network to maintain acceptable
performance.
A bridge operates at the Data Link layer of the OSI model. It is used to link two or more
networks to each other to permit message exchange between stations. Each segment or ring
joined this way stays distinctunlike with repeaters, where one large segment or ring results
from the link.
Bridges are a better solution for LAN expansions than repeaters. They allow for a large
number of stations to communicate with each other while maintaining excellent network
response and performance.
There are two broad categories of bridgeslocal and remote. A local bridge linking two
networks, connects to the cabling system of each. A remote bridge linking two networks
connects to one using its cabling system and to the other using a telecommunications circuit.
Remote bridging is examined in greater detail in a later chapter. The following sections
describe network expansion using local bridges.
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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Ethernet bridges
Overview
Since a bridge operates at the Data Link layer of the OSI model, it has no knowledge or
understanding of the topologies or communications protocols used by the networks it
connects. An Ethernet bridge connecting two or more networks acts as an arbitrator for the
messages generated by the devices on each network
FIGURE 9. 8:ETHERNET BRIDGES
Bridge B
LAN B
LAN A
OR,
Ethernet bridges, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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Upon connection to the networks to be
linked, the bridge proceeds to examine
the source and destination addresses
found in all frames it sees. It then
rapidly builds an internal database
identifying the network associated with
each device. This activity is performed
in seconds and is referred to as the
learning function of a bridge.
From this point onward, the bridge
forwards all frames whose destination
devices are on another network and
filtersor discardsall frames whose
destination is another device on the
same network.
Frames intended for all stations or an
unknown station on the linked networks
are broadcast by the bridgesent to all
attached networks. This process is
referred to as flooding.
Bridge module
Bridge module
LAN A
LAN B
Ethernet bridges, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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Transparent bridging
As devices are activated on the connected networks, the bridge updates its database
without requiring intervention by the network administrator. For this reason, such bridges
are referred to as Transparent bridges.
When transparent bridging was introduced, there lacked a means of providing multiple
paths from one network to another. This would ensure a greater likelihood of network
availability in the event of a bridge failure. The problem is illustrated below.
FIGURE 9.9: TRANSPARENT BRIDGING
LAN A
LAN C
LAN B
B1
B2
B3
OR,
Ethernet bridges, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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In such a design, bridge B3
is a secondary path from
LAN A to LAN C. If active, it
would forward frames from
LAN A to LAN C. Bridges B1
and B2 would do the same
thing, creating needless
frame duplication and an
inefficient use of the
channels linking the
networks.
Spanning Tree Algorithm
To permit efficient redundant links using transparent bridging, the IEEE approved the
Spanning Tree Algorithm as the IEEE 802.1D standard. Spanning Tree allows for loops to
be created between networks with Transparent bridges, with the following guidelines:
One bridge in the group of installed bridges is classified as the Root bridge.
Each path between bridges is assigned a cost.
Each bridge then calculates the least cost route to the Root bridge, referred to as
the primary path.
All redundant paths are classified as Standby or Backup paths. Bridges in such
paths will not forward frames unless the Primary path develops a failure.
LAN A
LAN B
LAN C
B1
B2
B3
Ethernet bridges, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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Summary
Bridges linking several Ethernet networks can coexist with repeaters linking several
Ethernet segments on a single Ethernet network. This possibility, combined with station
counts, multiple media, bridge performance and vendor enhancements, makes it difficult to
provide a definite limit on the total number of Ethernet networks that can be linked using
bridges. Rules-of-thumb suggesting a maximum of seven or eight bridges can be used.
Ultimately, the deciding factor is network performance, itself a function of traffic load,
timing and signal propagation delay.
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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Token-ring bridges
Overview
Linked Ethernet networks rely on their bridges to decide on the forwarding or filtering of
frames. In the Token-ring environment, the stations generating the frames are responsible
for specifying the path to the destination.
Token-ring bridges do not have internal databasestables are kept by each station and
updated as needed. In this environment, the bridges are referred to as Source Routing
bridges. A message can pass through a maximum of seven bridges before reaching its
destination.
Token-ring bridges, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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Source routing
When a station has a message to send, it broadcasts a route discovery packet to the
destination station. Each bridge which receives this packet adds its own address and
forwards it. Eventually, the destination station receives one or more of these packets,
depending on the arrangement of the bridges.
The destination station picks the packet which took the shortest path to arrive and
broadcasts this information to the sending station, which uses this path for all subsequent
messages to that station.
FIGURE 9.10: SOURCE ROUTING
Because of this route-discovery method, Source-Routing bridges can be used to construct
multiple paths between networks. There is no requirement
for unique paths as with Transparent bridging.
In this example, if LAN B sends a message to LAN D it
can do so using four different routes. These are as
follows:
Via bridges B2 and B3.
Via bridges B1 and B4.
Via bridges B1, B5 and B3.
Via bridges B2, B5 and B4.
The route proving to take the shortest time to transmit the message is the one selected for
subsequent transmissions.
LAN A
LAN C
B1
B2
LAN D
B3
B4
B5
LAN B
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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Linking Ethernet and Token-ring
Source routing transparent bridging
Token-ring and Ethernet networks differ in many ways, including frame size, frame format,
frame content and bridging architecture.
In order to permit linking Ethernet and Token-ring networks using bridges, IBM proposed
the Source Routing Transparent bridging method to the IEEE 802.1 High-Level Interface
committee in March 1990.
As the name implies, such a device allows both the Ethernet and Token-ring bridging
mechanisms described previously to coexist on an internetwork. However, if the message
is passing from Ethernet to a Token-ring networkor vice versaframe translation is also
required. This may be performed by the bridge or software running on the network
stations.
Linking Ethernet and Token-ring,
continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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FIGURE 9.11: SOURCE ROUTING TRANSPARENT BRIDGING
Transparent Bridge B
Ethernet LAN B
Ethernet LAN A
Token-ring LAN A Token-ring LAN B
B
Source Routing Bridge
B
Source Routing
Transparent
Bridge
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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LAN expansion - The backbone option
Introduction
In most cases, the messages sent by a station are destined for a station or server on the
same network segment or ring. There is a rule referred to as the 80/20 rule80% of the
network traffic is local and 20% of the traffic is to another network. This rule focuses the
design on the individual networks, with links to other networks being dealt with as growth
occurs.
For large-scale networking, where hundreds or thousands of stations are to be able to
communicate with each other, the design effort must begin with the links between the
eventual networks. The individual networks will be configured at a later time.
This approach is called backbone networking. It uses one or more segments or rings to act
as a pathway for inter-network messaging. The individual networks are connected to the
backbone via either repeaters or, more commonly, bridges. Such a design also eliminates, for
all practical purposes, the number of stations which can be linked to each other.
The following sections describe backbone networking in the Ethernet and Token-ring
environments using both repeaters and bridges. It is not necessary, however, for the
backbone network to use the same technology as the networks it connects. Two high-speed
technologies, FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface) and ATM (Asynchronous Transfer
Mode) can also be used to construct backbone networks. These technologies are discussed
in later chapters.
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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Ethernet backbones
Using repeaters
Coaxial cable backbones
With coaxial cable trunk Ethernet, individual segments are connected to a common
backbone segment using repeaters.
A message sent by a station on
one segment would be
broadcast over the
backbone to all of the
other attached stations. In this
manner, only two repeaters are
between any two stations wishing to
communicate over the extended
network.
The maximum number of devices
over the extended network remains
1024, since the combined segments
represent only one Ethernet.
FIGURE 9.12:
COAXIAL CABLE
ETHERNET BACKBONE
Repeater
Repeater
Repeater
Repeater
Repeater
Backbone
Ethernet backbones, continued
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10Base-T and 10Base-FL backbones
Ethernet backbones can also be created using hubs connected to one another, with each
hub acting as a repeater. If 10Base-FL is used to create the backbone segment, a total of
five repeaters can exist between any two stations, as shown below.
FIGURE 9.13: 10BASE-FL BACKBONE
Station
Server
Repeater 1
Repeater 2
Repeater 3
Repeater 4
Repeater 5
Optical Fiber
Ethernet backbones, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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Collapsed backbone
It is also possible to implement a backbone in a single hub. Such an arrangement is
referred to as a Collapsed Backbone.
One hub acts as the backbone hub, with all other hubs connected to its ports. With this
configuration, a maximum of
three hubs or repeaters is
between any two stations
needing to communicate.
FIGURE 9.14:
COLLAPSED BACKBONE
Backbone hub
Station
Station
Server
Ethernet backbones, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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In the most centralized model, the collapsed backbone as well as its connected segments
are all found in the same hub. Such a device has several backplanes, or paths, to link
various hardware modules. Some of these modules connect to stations and servers, while
others are used for bridging and network management.
With the ability to connect hundreds of network devices, these hubs are often referred to
as Enterprise hubsthey have the ability to link together every station in the organization
through one chassis.
FIGURE 9.15: THE ENTERPRISE HUB
Primary Power
Supply Module
Secondary (redundant)
Power Supply Module
Managem ent
Module
Ethernet
segment
#1
Ethernet
segment
#2
Ethernet
segment
#3
Backbone
Ethernet segment
Ethernet backbones, continued
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Using bridges
Bridge-based Ethernet backbones are implemented in the same manner as repeater-based
ones, in both coaxial trunk and hub configurations.
Since bridging permits each connected segment to remain a distinct network, the
maximum-number-of-repeaters rule and the 1024 device limit apply separately to each of
the segments. This makes large scale networking possible.
FIGURE 9.16:
COAXIAL CABLE BRIDGING
Backbone
B
B
B B B
B B
Ethernet backbones, continued
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FIGURE 9.17: BRIDGING MODULES IN 10BASE-T ETHERNET
Station
Station
Server
Bridging module
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
1996, BICSI LAN Design Manual - CD-ROM, Issue 1
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Token-ring backbones
Introduction
Token-ring backbones are created using bridges to link discrete rings to a common
backbone ring. This is illustrated below.
FIGURE 9.18:
TOKEN-RING
BACKBONE RING
RI RO
RI RO
RI RO
RI RO
B
RI
RO
B
B
B
Token-ring backbones, continued
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Each ring, including the backbone, can operate at either 4 or 16 Mbps. When extended
distances are involved, as is the case in some multi-building situations, the backbone ring
can be made up of MAUs or CAUs located centrally in each building. Optical fiber
repeaters are then used to connect these MAU/CAU clusters together to form the
backbone ring.
FIGURE 9.19: CAMPUS BACKBONE RING
Since there is a limit
of seven source-
routing bridges
between any two
rings, the backbone
ring can be used to
internetwork more
than eight rings.
Rather than passing
from ring to ring, a
message goes from
its source ring to the
backbone ring and
then to the
destination ring,
avoiding all other
rings which may
exist.
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
Building 1 Building 2 Building 3
Campus backbone ring
Repeater Repeater
Token-ring backbones, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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Dual backbone rings
For added protection against backbone failure due to a software, equipment or cable-
related fault, a duplicate backbone system can be readily implemented in a Token-ring
environment. In such systems, two bridges are used on each ring, with each bridge
connecting to a different backbone ring. Since both backbones are available at all times,
the failure of one causes no disruption in network availabilitythe second handles all
internetwork traffic until repairs are made.
FIGURE 9.20:
DUAL
BACKBONE
RINGS
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
B
Primary Backbone ring Secondary (backup) Backbone ring
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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LAN expansion - The switch option
Overview
Traditional LAN environments such as Ethernet and Token-ring have relied on using a
shared transmission channel. In the case of Ethernet, the shared channel traditionally
provided a total bandwidth of 10 Mbps, with 100 Mbps Ethernet currently making an
appearance. Token-rings shared either 4 or 16 Mbps total bandwidth.
As network traffic makes increasing demands on the shared bandwidth, alternatives are
being considered. Newer applications such as multimedia presentations, video-
conferencing, imaging and other graphics and data-intensive software are causing network
congestion problems. These problems may be indicated by low network throughput, slowed
response times and in the case of Ethernet, high rates of collisions.
Possible solutions to network congestion problems include the following:
Using traditional LAN segmentation by using bridges and/or routers.
Using higher-speed technologies such as FDDI or 100 Mbps Ethernet.
Using LAN segmentation, but through switching hubs.
The first two solutions may improve performance. However, bridge and router-based
environments can become complex to administer and can potentially require costly
investments. Also, traditional higher-speed technologies still rely on the use of shared
media.
Overview, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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The use of switching hubs may provide a solution to congested networks. They are capable
of providing dedicated links to each attached device, giving each device the bandwidth it
requires.
Switching hub technology is also referred to as port switching. It allows LANs to be divided
into multiple, smaller independent segmentsmicrosegmentationand then interconnects
the segments at full network speeds as required.
The number of stations assigned to a single port on the hub can be as few as one. Or, for
devices producing lighter traffic loads, some of the switching hubs permit multiple devices to
access a single port. In all cases, switches allow the separation of heavy network traffic
producers from those producing less network traffic.
FIGURE 9.21:
MIXED SWITCH
ENVIRONMENT Switching hub
Shared LAN segment
Dedicat ed LAN
segments
Overview, continued
Chapter 9 - Ethernet and Token-ring Expansion
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FIGURE 9.22: DEDICATED (PRIVATE) SWITCH ENVIRONMENT
Many port switching devices also allow stations to be reassigned to different logical LAN
segments. This ability to create virtual LANs allows LAN administrators to define logical
workgroups regardless of the physical LAN to which they are connected.
Switching hub
Each device has a dedicated or private link to
the hub. Each link has full network bandwidth.
Overview, continued
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Switching environments
Currently most of the switching hubs available are for use in Ethernet environments,
although there are some units available for use in Token-ring and FDDI environments. As
well, there are switching hubs that allow multiple environments to be connected to the
same hub.
One of the primary advantages associated with switches is the ability to install them
transparently. That is, they do not require any additional changes to be made to the
network environment. For example, a 10Base-T Ethernet network administrator who
wishes to switch to dedicated 10 Mbps links for all stations needs only to purchase the
appropriate switching hubs. The Network Interface Cards and cabling already in place can
be used to provide the dedicated links.
Switching hubs are generally categorized according to the physical capabilities of the
hubthe number of ports and the technology supportedas well as to the style of
implementation.
Three categories of hubs are broadly defined. They are as follows:
Workgroup hubs.
These are the smallest of the switching hubs. They usually have between 8 and 12
ports per hub used to connect stations and the servers these stations need to
access. If selecting this type of hub, it is important to ensure that there is room for
growth. That is, that the hub can be connected to other hubs at a later time.
Departmental hubs.
These are hubs that work at the same level as workgroup hubsconnecting
stations and serverbut have more ports available.
Overview, continued
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Enterprise hubs.
These are the larger switching hubs used to connect multiple network segments,
including workgroup and department hubs and switches, and common resources
such as backup devices and database servers. These hubs form the basis for the
collapsed backbone environment.
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Switch operations
Introduction
Most switches operate essentially as MAC-layer (or device address) bridges and are even
referred to by their vendors as multiport bridges.
A switch needs to know the MAC-layer address of the destination device to be able to
forward the data packets. Switching hubs may provide dedicated port switching with a
single MAC address per port or shared port switching where multiple MAC addresses are
acceptable per port. The switch learns the MAC addresses associated with a specific port
as network packets appear at the port. The addresses are stored in an address database.
Therefore, little or no manual administration is required.
When a data packet arrives at a port, the switch examines the MAC destination address.
Depending on what the destination address is, the switch does one of three things:
If the destination address is local to the incoming port, the packet is filteredit is
ignored by the switch and not forwarded.
If the destination address is associated with another port, the packet is forwarded
to the other port.
If the destination address is unknown, the packet is broadcastit is sent to every
port other than the incoming port.
In an environment where devices are assigned to dedicated ports, communications with
other devices is done via the switchs backplane. It allows the devices to communicate at
network speeds.
Switch operations, continued
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An advantage that switches have over traditional bridges is a high-performance backplane
that supports very high throughput. The total throughput of the backplane can be as high
as the number of paths through the switch multiplied by the throughput of each individual
link.
EXAMPLE 9.1: SWITCH THROUGHPUT
A workgroup consisting of 12 users will be installing an Ethernet switch providing
dedicated 10 Mbps links to each user. Users want to be able to communicate with each
other at maximum possible network speed. What would the minimum acceptable
backplane throughput be for the switch?
A 12-port hub could provide for a maximum of 6 links at one time. Each of the links could
transmit at a maximum of 10 Mbps. Therefore, the maximum backplane throughput would
be as follows:
Backplane throughput = 6 links x 10 Mbps per Link
Backplane throughput = 60 Mbps
With a backplane throughput of 60 Mbps, 6 links could each support 10 Mbps throughput.
Large switches, such as those found in Enterprise hubs, can have backplane throughput
measured in Gbpsespecially those switches providing ports operating at 100 Mbps.
Well-designed, switch-based networks can benefit from aggregated total throughput.
Additional switches can add to total network throughput and improve overall performance.
Switch operations, continued
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Switching methods
When packets arrive at an incoming port on the switch, they must be directed to the
appropriate outgoing port leading to the destination device. The traditional mechanism
used is known as store-and-forward while a newer mechanism used by some switching
hubs is referred to as cut-through.
Store-and-forward
The store-and-forward method is a technology used in high-speed bridges. Switches
based on this technology wait for the entire data packet to arrive before processing can
begin. Before sending the packet to its destination, error checking is performed on the
packet using a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC). If the packet is determined to be error-
free, it is forwarded to its destination.
Store-and-forward type switches may have additional features. Some have the ability to
perform packet filteringthey can be programmed to ignore certain packets received from
certain device addresses. Also, some of these switches provide for low-level routing. This
allows networks to be logically segmented from a single location. It should be noted that
each added feature can slow network performance, which can be problematic in large
networks.
Switch operations, continued
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Cut-through
The cut-through method of switching represents a newer technology. It is based on the
premise that there is no need for the switch to wait for the arrival of the complete packet.
The switch waits only long enough to read the destination address on the packet before it
begins forwarding the packet to its destination.
Network performance may or may not be significantly improved with such a technology,
depending on the packet size used and the protocol used. It has been found that network
protocols requiring an acknowledgment of every packet sent benefit from this method. In
addition, networks configured to use packet sizes greater than 1024 bytes do not see as
great an increase in performance as those using smaller packet sizes.
Also of concern is the lack of error checking done on the packets. Malformed packets and
corrupt packets are also passed on by the switch, resulting in a propagation of errors. This
can adversely affect network performance by requiring retransmission of these bad
packets.
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Full-duplex Ethernet
Associated with dedicated port switching is the introduction of full-duplex Ethernet. This
technology allows for signals to be transmitted and received at full network speeds at the
same time. That is, full-duplex 10 Mbps Ethernet permits 10 Mbps transmission to happen in
both directions at the same time, resulting in a total throughput of 20 Mbps.
Full-duplex Ethernet is possible with a dedicated connection since there is no need for
devices to listen for collisions. Without the danger of a collision, connections can operate in
both directions at the same time.
Most station applications receive more network traffic than they transmit, making full-duplex
transmission seem to be unnecessary. However, having an additional transmission channel
allows acknowledgments and other housekeeping traffic to be transmitted while the station is
still receiving data.
The greatest benefit of full-duplex Ethernet is found in those environments where the traffic
flow is balanced in the two directions. This is seen mostly in server-to-switch connections
and in video-conferencing situations.
It should be noted that full-duplex Ethernet requires full-duplex Network Interface Cards and
special full-duplex switch ports.
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Overview.................................................................................. 1
Introduction....................................................................................... 1
LAN expansion - The repeater option ................................. 3
Introduction....................................................................................... 3
Ethernet repeaters ........................................................................... 4
Copper Ethernet repeaters................................................................ 4
Coaxial cable based Ethernet ......................................................... 4
Multiport repeaters .......................................................................... 7
10Base-T networks ......................................................................... 8
Optical fiber Ethernet repeaters ...................................................... 10
FOIRL - Fiber Optic Inter-Repeater Link ....................................... 11
10Base-FL ...................................................................................... 11
10Base-FB .................................................................................... 12
Summary ......................................................................................... 12
Token-ring repeaters ..................................................................... 13
Copper Token-ring repeaters........................................................... 13
Optical fiber Token-ring repeaters................................................... 15
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LAN expansion - The bridge option .................................. 16
Introduction..................................................................................... 16
Ethernet bridges............................................................................. 17
Overview ......................................................................................... 17
Transparent bridging ....................................................................... 19
Spanning Tree Algorithm ................................................................ 20
Summary ......................................................................................... 21
Token-ring bridges......................................................................... 22
Overview ......................................................................................... 22
Source routing ................................................................................. 23
Linking Ethernet and Token-ring ................................................ 24
Source routing transparent bridging ................................................ 24
LAN expansion - The backbone option ............................ 26
Introduction..................................................................................... 26
Ethernet backbones ...................................................................... 27
Using repeaters ............................................................................... 27
Coaxial cable backbones .............................................................. 27
10Base-T and 10Base-FL backbones........................................... 28
Collapsed backbone ...................................................................... 29
Using bridges .................................................................................. 31
Token-ring backbones .................................................................. 33
Introduction ...................................................................................... 33
Dual backbone rings ........................................................................ 35
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LAN expansion - The switch option .................................. 36
Overview.......................................................................................... 36
Switching environments .................................................................. 39
Switch operations .......................................................................... 41
Introduction ...................................................................................... 41
Switching methods .......................................................................... 43
Store-and-forward ......................................................................... 43
Cut-through ................................................................................... 44
Full-duplex Ethernet ...................................................................... 45
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Example 9.1: Switch throughput .............................................. 42
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Figure 9.1: Ethernet using copper repeaters ........................... 4
Figure 9.2: Ethernet using multiport repeaters ........................ 7
Figure 9.3: 10Base-T hub attached to a coaxial trunk cable .. 8
Figure 9.4: Daisy-chained 10Base-T hubs .............................. 9
Figure 9.5: Ethernet using optical fiber repeaters ................. 10
Figure 9.6: CAU-based Token-ring ......................................... 14
Figure 9.7: Token-ring using optical fiber repeaters .............. 15
Figure 9.8: Ethernet bridges .................................................... 17
Figure 9.9: Transparent bridging ............................................. 19
Figure 9.10: Source Routing ..................................................... 23
Figure 9.11: Source routing transparent bridging ................... 25
Figure 9.12: Coaxial cable Ethernet backbone ...................... 27
Figure 9.13: 10Base-FL backbone .......................................... 28
Figure 9.14: Collapsed backbone ........................................... 29
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Figure 9.15: The Enterprise Hub ............................................ 30
Figure 9.16: Coaxial cable bridging ........................................ 31
Figure 9.17: Bridging modules in 10Base-T Ethernet .......... 32
Figure 9.18: Token-ring backbone ring .................................. 33
Figure 9.19: Campus backbone ring ...................................... 34
Figure 9.20: Dual backbone rings ........................................... 35
Figure 9.21: Mixed switch environment .................................. 37
Figure 9.22: Dedicated (private) switch environment ........... 38
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