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Data Communications & Networking: DIT 230

Extending LANs: Fibre Modems, Repeaters, Bridges and Switches

UNIT: 09


Introduction MAC protocols such as CSMA/CD require time proportional to the length of the cable Electrical signal weakens with distance Network designers choose a combination of capacity, delay and distance that can be achieved within a given cost hence: LAN technologies are designed with constraints of speed, distance and costs. Typical LAN technology can span, at most, a few hundred meters. 11/11/2011 2

LAN Design for Distance LANs use shared medium - Ethernet, token ring Length of medium affects fair, shared access to medium
CSMA/CD - delay between frames, minimum frame length Token passing - circulation time for token

Length of medium affects strength of electrical signals and noise immunity

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LAN Extensions Several techniques extend diameter of LAN medium Most techniques use additional hardware LAN signals relayed between LAN segments Resulting mixed technology stays within original engineering constraints while spanning greater distance


Fiber Optic Extensions Fiber modems extend connection between computer and transceiver Can extend connection to a computer using fiber optic cable Fiber modems: Convert AUI signals to digital signal Transmit digital signals via fiber optic cable to other modem Most often used to connect two LANs typically through a bridge on different buildings 11/11/2011 5

Example of Fibre Modem Connections


Repeaters We may want to extend the LAN medium: Ethernet - timing constraints allow longer medium Signal strength constraints limit length Repeater a bidirectional, analog amplifier that retransmits analog signals. One repeater can effectively double the length of an LAN segment.


Figure below shows


Ethernet Repeaters Simply copy signals between segments Do not understand frame formats Do not have hardware addresses Any Ethernet segment is limited to 500 meters Repeater can double to 1,000 meters


Limits on Repeaters

Can't extend Ethernet with repeaters indefinitely. CSMA/CD requires low delay; if medium is too long, CSMA/CD won't work. Ethernet standard includes limit of 4 repeaters between any two Ethernet stations.






Characteristics of Repeaters Very easy to use - just plug in Repeaters simply re-transmit analog signals Collisions affect entire network Transient problems - noise - propagates throughout network



Network Bridges A network bridge is a device that connects multiple network segments (Also connect two LAN segments) Retransmits frames from one segment on other segment(s) Handles complete frame Uses NIC like any other station Performs some processing on frame Invisible to other attached computers Bridging is most suitable to be used for LAN network traffic data load.
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Advantages of Network Bridges Bridges are simple to use and they are relatively inexpensive. Bridges have simple configuration modes Bridges help to lower the data load over the data link layer. Bridges are more reliable if one wants to lower the bandwidth utilization.



Disadvantages of Network Bridges All bridges are unable to read specific IP address Bridges cannot help to build a communication network between the networks of different architectures Unable to handle more complex and variable data load such as occurring from WAN. Bridges transfer all types of broadcast messages
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Bridged LAN Segments



Filtering Bridges Bridges can do additional processing: Don't forward collisions, noise Only forward frames where necessary Bridge performs frame filtering and forwards frames along LAN segments to destination Learns location of stations by watching frames Forwards all broadcast and multicast packets This kind of bridge is also called a transparent 11/11/2011 17 bridge, since it requires no special setup.

Frame Filtering Bridge checks destination of each incoming frame Looks up destination in list of known stations Forwards frame to next interface on path to destination Doesn't forward frame if destination on LAN segment from which frame was received



How Does A Bridge Set Up Its Forwarding Table?

A bridge examines the source address in each arriving frame. It adds an entry to the list for the LAN segment from which the frame was received (essentially recording from which direction the frame arrived). The bridge forwards each frame to each interface that does not have the destination address in its list.
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Filtering Example



Startup Behavior of Filtering Bridges Initially, the forwarding tables in all bridges are empty. The first frame from each station on LAN is forwarded to all LAN segments. After all stations have been identified, frames are only forwarded as needed. This behavior may result in a burst of traffic after some events like power failures.



Designing with Filtering Bridges Filtering bridge allows concurrent use of different LAN segments if traffic is local. U and V can exchange frames at the same time X and Y exchange frames. Designers identify patterns of local communication and isolate groups of communicating computers with bridges.



Bridging Between Buildings This is similar to extending AUI with fiber modems. We can put a bridge in one building with a long connection to a LAN segment in a different building. This avoids an extended AUI connection for each computer in the remote building.



Bridging Across Longer Distances Can use leased line, microwave, laser or satellite to connect two bridges and LAN segments Using two bridges instead of one:
Filters at both ends, reducing traffic across slow link Provides buffering at both ends, matching dissimilar transmission speeds



Bridges and Cycles We can use multiple bridges to interconnect many LAN segments. Stations on segment c sends frames to stations on segment g through B2, B1, B3 and B6 Broadcasts are forwarded through all bridges. Suppose another bridge connects g and f?



Cycles A circular path through bridged networks is called a cycle Adding B4 creates a cycle



Eliminating Broadcast Cycles Bridges must cooperate to broadcast frames exactly once on each segment. The solution is from graph theory - spanning trees - used to determine which bridges will forward broadcasts. As each bridge joins the network, it communicates with the other bridges using special hardware (typically multicast) addresses
The set of bridges learn the network topology; performs the spanning tree computation; and determines if the new bridge will result in a cycle. 11/11/2011 27

Switching A network switch is a small hardware device that joins multiple computers together within one local area network (LAN). Effectively a separate LAN segment for each port. Similar to hub - hub shares single segment among all ports. With switching, multiple stations can transmit simultaneously. Switching provides much higher aggregate bandwidth.



Switches and Hubs Network switches inspect data packets as they are received, determining the source and destination device of that packet, and forwarding it appropriately. A hub sends all packets out through all ports A switch only sends the packet a packet out through the port that actually needs it. Cuts down on broadcast traffic. A switch is effectively a higher-performance alternative to a hub.
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Adv & Disad of Switches

Advantages : Reduces the number of Broadcast domains Supports VLAN's Intelligent device Compared to Bridges ,Switches are more H/w oriented therefore operations are less CPU intense [Basic operations] Disadvantages: Not as good as a router in limiting Broadcasts Handling Multicast packets needs quite a bit of configuration & proper designing. At times switches when in Promiscuous mode is a opening for Security attacks [Spoofing Ip address or capturing Ethernet Frames using ethereal]
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