The Practical Guide to FDDI -- Intro
If you're toying with the idea of adding FDDI to your home LAN, this guide
should hopefully tell you what you need to know to get started
successfully. It's the guide I wish I'd had when I was getting started out.
It doesn't get too deep into the technical details of FDDI but instead
focuses on what the equipment is and looks like, what you'll need, and how
to hook it up.
Why bother? Well, there are several reasons to consider FDDI, in no
- It's cool!
- Even though it has the same speed as Fast Ethernet (100Mbps), FDDI
is more efficient because it has a much larger MTU. Ethernet is
limited to a packet size of 1536 bytes. FDDI packets can carry a
payload of up to 4478 bytes. This can make a difference for bulk
data transfers from one FDDI station to another, such as NFS or SMB
or even FTP.
- FDDI was around for a long time before Fast Ethernet. Thus, for
some older machines, FDDI may be your only choice for networking
faster than 10Mbps (such as Turbochannel-based DECstations and Alpha
machines, or VME-based Suns), or FDDI gear may at least be cheaper and
more readily available (FDDI cards for Microchannel-based RS/6000s
run $25-50 versus $250-700 for Fast Ethernet cards!)
- Even now, FDDI still has life left in it. SysKonnect is still
manufacturing high-performance FDDI cards for a variety of buses,
including 64-bit/66MHz PCI. Sun's
position paper is a bit dated now but still makes some good points.
Thanks to Sridhar Ayengar, Paul Weissmann, Jochen Kunz, Dave McGuire,
Joshua D. Boyd,
for additions, corrections, and suggestions.
All text and pictures copyright (c) 2003