FDDI Handbook: Preface

Fiber Distributed Data Interface {FDDI} is a 100 megabits per second fiber optic local area networkLAN standard being developed by an American National Standard Institute {ANSI} accredited committee.

FDDI Handbook has been designed to be a comprehensive reference book providing an easy-to-understand explanation of key aspects of FDDI. It is intended for users, buyers, managers, and designers of computer networking products and answers the following types of questions:

  1. What do I need to install/manage/use an FDDI network?
  2. How does FDDI work?
  3. Why does FDDI work this way?
  4. What other alternatives were considered for FDDI and why were they rejected?
  5. What if my organization needs to to use a different size, length of fiber?
  6. What should I expect in the future?
For users, it explains what features of FDDI are different from those of other popular networks such as IEEE 802.3/Ethernet and IEEE 802.5 token rings and how these features affect the applications that run on these networks. For buyers, it provides a complete list of products, what to look for and where to find them. For network managers, it explains how to install, monitor, tune, and trouble-shoot FDDI networks. For network designers and researchers, it explains what design alternatives were considered during the design of the FDDI standard and why a particular alternative was chosen.

The FDDI standard committees consist of participants from companies, which are competing in the market place and often have very different design philosophies. The final FDDI design is an amalgamation of ideas some of which are considered good by one set of manufacturers while considered not so good by the others. FDDI Handbook presents an objective and balanced view of both sides of issues rather than presenting a one-sided view.

An overview-detail-summary organization is used for each section, chapter, and for the entire book. The first chapter of the book provides an overview of FDDI suitable for most nontechnical executives. Other chapters provide the details. Each chapter begins with an overview section which provides sufficient information for speed readers, executives, and browsers. The last section of the chapter summarizes new concepts introduced in the chapter.

Entertaining sidebars and cartoons sprinkled throughout the book make it easier to understand complex technical concepts. A set of multiple-choice exercises has been added for entertainment and self-testing. You will find these useful as trivia questions during FDDI related presentations.

Only some basic knowledge of networking concepts such as protocols and layers is required. No prior knowledge of fiber optics is needed. Familiarity with other popular protocols such as ISO, TCP/IP, and IEEE 802 will be helpful but not required.

The Handbook is designed for a wide audience. Therefore, it covers more topics than many of you would want to read in one pass. I suggest that you read Chapter 1, then look through the table of contents and select a few chapters to suite your interest. There is an extensive index at the end to help you find the concepts that you may have skipped. The index is designed to make it easy to use the Handbook as a reference.

If you are interested in installing an FDDI network, you may want to look in Chapters 0, 0 and 0. Chapter 0 also contains a list of issues to consider when buying adapters, bridges, routers, and other devices. There are several tips in these chapters that will help you save time and money by clearly understanding what different features mean and whether you need them.

Many ideas and concepts presented in the book apply not only to FDDI but to other high-speed networking technologies as well. Thus, users, managers, and designers of asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) and IEEE 100BASE-T (100 Mbps Ethernet) will also benefit from the book. For example, much of the discussion on building wiring, twisted-pair copper cable classification, fiber selection, optical components, network management, error detection, bit order, and so on applies to these other technologies as well.

This book is not meant to be a substitute for standards. Readers interested in precise details, particulalrly implementors, must consult the standard documents. The description here has been simplified for the sake of a clear explanation.

Some of the FDDI standards are still being developed. In order to keep the Handbook up-to-date, we plan to update it frequently. If you would like to hear about these future revisions of this book, please fill out the card at the end of this book. Also, if your company is interested in using the book or portions of it for customer or employee training, please contact the publisher for availability of LaTeX sources used to produce the book.

If you notice any errors, typos, or if you have any suggestions for improvements, please contact me via electronic mail at: 70243.1253@compuserve.com

Littleton, Massachusetts
Raj Jain
May 1993

See also:
100 Mbps Networking Technologies
FDDI Handbook: High-Speed Networking with Fiber and Other Media
FDDI Handbook: Table of Contents

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