Fibre Channel electrical interface

Fibre Channel Electrical Interface

Fibre Channel electrical interface

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The Fibre Channel electrical interface is one of two related standards that can be used to physically interconnect computer devices. The other standard is a Fibre Channel optical interface, which is not covered in this article.

Fibre Channel signal characteristics

Fibre channel electrical signals are sent over a duplex differential interface. This usually consists of twisted-pair cables with a nominal impedance of 75 ohms (single-ended) or 150 ohms (differential). This is a genuine differential signalling system so no ground reference is carried through the cable, except for the shield. Signalling is AC-coupled, with the series capacitors located at the transmitter end of the link.

The definition of the Fibre Channel signalling voltage is complex. Eye-diagrams are defined for both the transmitter and receiver. There are many eye-diagram parameters which must all be met to be compliant with the standard. In simple terms, the transmitter circuit must output a signal with a minimum of 600 mV peak-to-peak differential, maximum 2000 mV peak-to-peak differential. A good signal looks rather like a sine-wave with a fundamental frequency of half the data rate, so 1 GHz for a typical system running at 2 gigabits per second.

The Bit-Error Rate (BER) objective for Fibre Channel systems is 1 in 10<sup>12</sup> (1 bit in 1,000,000,000,000 bits). At 2 Gbit/s this equates to seven errors per hour. Therefore, this is a common event and the receiver circuitry must...
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