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Fiber over Ethernet – functionality and other aspects

When an Ethernet framework uses a fiber channel then it is known as fiber over Ethernet. Even though this is an extremely simple way to describe this networking technology, it has so many other aspects that come into play when one talks about connectivity. Here is taking a look at some of them.

Speed Since this computer network technology deploys fiber Channel frames on the foundation of Ethernet, it allows the usage of networks which are 10 gigabit speeds and can go even higher. By enabling fiber Channel Communications to transmit directly over Ethernet protocols, fiber over Ethernet is characterized by:

  • High speed infrastructure
  • Convergence of IP and storage protocols
  • Reduction in switch complexity
  • Support for high-speed data connections and
  • Usage of a single interface.


Fiber over Ethernet is governed by a specification that is part of the International Committee for Information technology Standards T11 FC-BB-5 standard. Typically, fiber over Ethernet is used in data centers mainly because it allows for a significant reduction in cabling. As mentioned before, the usage of a single interface when it comes to cable transport makes it possible for clients to enjoy:

  • Lower costs when it comes to cooling and power
  • Reduction in the number of equipment such as adapters, data center switches, cables and so on and
  • A simpler management of storage and IP networks.

Equipment and technologies

Fiber over Ethernet is characterized by its use of its own frame format and a lossless Ethernet fabric. By using fiber Channel links to connect devices, this networking technology delivers high-speed data transmissions. The standard Ethernet equipment such as cables, cards and switches are used to handle traffic. The frame format as far as fiber over Ethernet is concerned is characterized by:

  • The use of a dedicated EtherType or field
  • A FIP or FCoE Initialization Protocol which is integral to this frame format and
  • RFC3643 which governs the start of frame and end of frame.

This technology also allows users to enjoy a level of flexibility when it comes to fiber Channel and Ethernet traffic that belongs on the same hardware. An organization can either separate these 2 entities or share the same on a physical cable.  

Evolution of computer networking

Most service providers; when it comes to fiber Channel over Ethernet; will always focus on the salient feature of this technology. This salient feature is the fact that it is an evolutionary technology which has allowed users to consolidate networks. For instance, SAN and LAN networks can be integrated. An organization can also enjoy converged network management which results in easier traffic management and better security as well.

With the introduction of fiber Channel over Ethernet support with the help of 10GBASE-T technology, most data centers and clients also enjoy lower operating costs. Quite a few service providers talk about the availability of efficient and higher speeds as well. The possibility of 100 gigabit fiber Ethernet can result in an extremely sophisticated architecture which will result in a robust network.

Thus, fiber Channel over Ethernet is indeed capable of delivering latency, better traffic management and security as well.

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