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Token Ring, FDDI, Bridge, Switch

Token Ring
IBM's version of Token Ring was introduced
in 1984 for the entire range of IBM
computers and computing environments
• Personal computers.
• Midrange computers.
• Mainframe computers and the Systems
Network Architecture (SNA) environment
(SNA is IBM's networking architecture).
Token Ring
Token Ring Features
• Star-wired ring topology
• Token-passing access method
• Shielded and unshielded twisted-pair (IBM
Types 1, 2, and 3) cabling
• Transfer rates of 4 and 16 Mbps
• Baseband transmission
• 802.5 specifications
Token Ring Format
How Token Ring Networking
• When the first Token Ring computer comes
online, the network generates a token.
• The token is a predetermined formation of bits (a
stream of data) that permits a computer to put
data on the cables.
• The token travels around the ring polling each
computer until one of the computers signals that
it wants to transmit data and takes control of the

• The destination computer copies the frame into
its receive buffer and marks the frame in the
frame status field to indicate that the information
was received.
• The frame continues around the ring until it
arrives at the sending computer, where the
transmission is acknowledged as successful.
• The sending computer then removes the frame
from the ring and transmits a new token back on
the ring.
• Only one token at a time can be active on
the network, and the token can travel in
only one direction around the ring.
• a computer cannot force its way on to the
network as it can in a CSMA/CD
environment. If the token is available, the
computer can use it to send data.
• Each computer acts as a unidirectional
repeater, regenerates the token, and
passes it along.
Recognizing a Computer
When a new computer comes online on the
network, the Token Ring system initializes
it so that it can become part of the ring.
This initialization includes:
• Checking for duplicate addresses.
• Notifying other computers on the network
of its existence.
Hardware Components
• Hub, which houses the actual ring. A
Token Ring network can have multiple
• STP or UTP cabling with connectors that
connects the computers to the hubs;
• patch cables can further extend the
• Fiber-optic cable is especially well suited
to Token Ring networks.
The Hub

In a Token Ring network, the hub is known

by several names that all mean the same
thing. These include:
• MAU (Multistation Access Unit).
• MSAU (MultiStation Access Unit).
• SMAU ( Smart Multistation Access Unit).
• FDDI is frequently used as a backbone
technology, and to connect high-speed
computers in a LAN.
• FDDI has four specifications:
– Media Access Control (MAC) - defines how the
medium is accessed
– Physical Layer Protocol (PHY) - defines data
encoding/decoding procedures
– Physical Layer Medium (PMD) - defines the
characteristics of the transmission medium,
– Station Management (SMT) - defines the FDDI
station configuration
FDDI Standards
FDDI signaling
• FDDI uses an encoding scheme called
• Every 4 bits of data are sent as a 5 bit
code. The signal sources in FDDI
transceivers are LEDs or lasers.
FDDI media
• FDDI specifies a 100 Mbps, token-passing, dual-
ring LAN that uses a fiber-optic transmission
• Optical fiber offers several advantages over
traditional copper wiring, including such
advantages as:
– security - Fiber does not emit electrical signals that
can be tapped.
– reliability - Fiber is immune to electrical interference.
– speed - Optical fiber has much higher throughput
potential than copper cable.
• FDDI defines the two specified types of fiber:
single-mode (also mono-mode); and multi-mode
• Modes can be thought of as bundles of light rays
entering the fiber at a particular angle.
• Single-mode fiber allows only one mode of light
to propagate through the fiber, while multi-mode
fiber allows multiple modes of light to propagate
through the fiber.

• Single-mode fiber is capable of higher
bandwidth, and greater cable run distances, than
multi-mode fiber.
• Because of these characteristics, single-mode
fiber is often used for inter-building connectivity
while multi-mode fiber is often used for intra-
building connectivity.
• Multi-mode fiber uses LEDs as the light-
generating devices, while single-mode fiber
generally uses lasers.
Bridges can be used to
• Expand the length of a segment.
• Provide for an increased number of computers
on the network.
• Reduce traffic bottlenecks resulting from an
excessive number of attached computers.
• Split an overloaded network into two separate
networks, reducing the amount of traffic on each
segment and making each network more
• Link unlike physical media such as twisted-pair
and coaxial Ethernet.
How Bridge Works
Bridges work at the MAC sublayer and are
sometimes referred to as MAC-layer
bridges. A MAC-layer bridge:
• Listens to all traffic.
• Checks the source and destination
addresses of each packet.
• Builds a routing table, as information
becomes available.

• Forwards packets in the following manner:
– If the destination is not listed in the routing
table, the bridge forwards the packets to all
– If the destination is listed in the routing table,
the bridge forwards the packets to that
segment (unless it is the same segment as
the source).
Implementing a bridge
A bridge can be either a separate, stand-alone
piece of equipment (an external bridge) or it can
be installed in a server.
If the network operating system (NOS) supports it,
one or more network interface cards (NICs),
making an internal bridge, can be installed.
Network administrators like to use bridges
because they are:
• Simple to install and transparent to users.
• Flexible and adaptable.
• Relatively inexpensive.
• A switch is a layer 2 device just as a
bridge is. In fact a switch is called a multi-
port bridge, just like a hub is called a multi-
port repeater.
• The difference between the hub and
switch is that switches make decisions
based on MAC addresses and hubs don't
make decisions at all.
Purpose of a switch
To concentrate connectivity, while making data
transmission more efficient.
For now, think of the switch as something that is
able to combine the connectivity of a hub with
the traffic regulation of a bridge on each port.
It switches packets from incoming ports
(interfaces) to outgoing ports, while providing
each port with full bandwidth (the transmission
speed of data on the network backbone).