Fibre Channel (FC)

An integrated set of standards developed by ANSI designed to improve data speeds between workstations, supercomputers, storage devices and displays while providing a single standard for networking storage and data transfer. It can be used point-to-point, switched or in an arbitrated loop (FC-AL) connecting up to 126 devices.

Planned in 1997 to run on a fiber-optic or twisted-pair cable at an initial data rate of 1Gb/s, it has been consistently upgraded to make, 2, 4, 8 and 14 Gb/s (14GFC) available. Expect both 28 and 4 x 28 Gb/s in 2015. There is a road map sketched to 2028 with the possibility of about an 8-fold further increase in speed. These are nominal wire speeds but 8b/10b encoding is used to improve transmission characteristics, provide more accuracy and better error handling. With every 8-bit data byte for transmission converted into a 10-bit Transmission Character, the useful data rate is reduced by 20 percent.

Because of its close association with disk drives, its TV application is mostly, but not always, in the creation of storage networking. It can interface with the SCSI disk interface, which is key to its operation in storage networking such as SAN.

See also: SAN