The Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) specifies a 100-Mbps token-passing, dual-ring LAN using fiber-optic cable. FDDI is frequently used as high-speed Backbone technology because of its support for high Bandwidth and greater distances than copper. It should be noted that relatively recently, a related copper specification, called Copper Distributed Data Interface (CDDI), has emerged to provide 100-Mbps service over copper. CDDI is the implementation of FDDI Protocols over twisted-pair copper wire.
FDDI uses dual-ring architecture with traffic on each ring flowing in opposite directions (called counter-rotating). The dual rings consist of a Primary and a secondary ring. During normal operation, the primary ring is used for data transmission, and the secondary ring remains idle.
FDDI was developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) X3T9.5 standards committee in the mid-1980s. At the time, high-speed engineering workstations were beginning to tax the bandwidth of existing local-area networks (LANs) based on Ethernet and Token Ring. A new LAN media was needed that could easily support these workstations and their new distributed applications. At the SAME time, Network reliability had become an increasingly important issue as System managers migrated mission-critical applications from large computers to networks. FDDI was developed to fill these needs. After completing the FDDI specification, ANSI submitted FDDI to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which created an international Version of FDDI that is completely compatible with the ANSI standard version.
FDDI uses Optical Fiber as the primary Transmission medium, but it also can run over copper cabling. As mentioned earlier, FDDI over copper is referred to as Copper-Distributed Data Interface (CDDI). Optical fiber has several advantages over copper media. In particular, security, reliability, and performance all are enhanced with optical fiber media because fiber does not emit electrical signals. A physical medium that does emit electrical signals (copper) can be tapped and therefore would permit unauthorized access to the data that is transiting the medium. In addition, fiber is immune to electrical Interference from radio Frequency interference (RFI) and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). Fiber historically has supported much higher bandwidth (throughput potential) than copper, although recent technological advances have made copper capable of transmitting at 100 Mbps. Finally, FDDI allows 2 km between stations using Multimode fiber, and even longer distances using a single mode.
FDDI defines two types of optical fiber: single-mode and multimode. A Mode is a Ray of Light that enters the fiber at a particular angle. Multimode Fiber uses LED as the light-generating device, while single-mode fiber generally uses lasers.
Multimode fiber allows multiple Modes of light to propagate through the fiber. Because these modes of light enter the fiber at different angles, they will arrive at the end of the fiber at different times. This characteristic is known as modal dispersion. Modal Dispersion limits the bandwidth and distances that can be accomplished using multimode fibers. For this reason, multimode fiber is generally used for connectivity within a building or a relatively geographically contained environment.
Single-mode fiber allows only one mode of light to propagate through the fiber. Because only a Single Mode of light is used, Modal Dispersion is not present with single-mode fiber. Therefore, single-mode fiber is capable of delivering considerably higher performance connectivity over much larger distances, which is why it generally is used for connectivity between buildings and within environments that are more geographically dispersed.
Fiber distributed data interface (FDDI) provides a standard for data transmission in a Local Area network that can extend in Range up to 200 kilometers (124 miles). Although FDDI protocol is a Token Ring network, it does not use the IEEE 802.5 token ring protocol as its basis; instead, its protocol is derived from the IEEE 802.4 token bus timed token protocol. In addition to covering large geographical areas, FDDI local area networks can support thousands of users. As a standard underlying medium it uses optical fiber (though it can use copper cable, in which case one can refer to CDDI). FDDI uses a dual-attached, counter-rotating token ring topology.