Products
Protocol Analyzers

Ethernet

Ethernet, as the most common communication protocol on the planet, continues to spread into new markets and incorporates new protocols; it presents today’s Ethernet engineers with host of new test and validation challenges, not the least of which is the transition from NRZ (Non-Return to Zero) signaling to PAM4 (Pulse Amplitude Modulation) to achieve 50GbE per link data-rates.
Specifically, the increasing adoption of near-lossless Ethernet standards like NVMe/oF, iSCSI, FCoE, and RoCE, to name a few; increases in the line-rates of Ethernet up to and beyond 100Gb/s; and new physical and logical communications standards to support these technologies and speeds; legacy test tools are outdated and ineffective for Ethernet product developers and the ecosystem.
Teledyne LeCroy is addressing these needs by leveraging our extensive experience in high-speed serial data analysis tools currently used by many of the same companies developing products for NAS, SAN, LAN, and other high-speed protocol environments.

Explore Ethernet Explore Ethernet
SierraNet T328  The SierraNet T328 system provides 25/50/100Gbp/s Ethernet and Gen 6 (32GFC) Fibre  Channel data capture and protocol verification for developers & protocol  test engineers in LAN, SAN, NAS and other Ethernet and Fibre Channel  applications.  Available with eight SFP28  FlexPorts™ for maximum configuration and utility, the SierraNet T328 offers  world-class protocol analysis capabilities with an easy to use, customizable  hardware & software interface, large capture buffers, and the most advanced  T.A.P4 capture, triggering and filtering capabilities in the  industry.
SierraNet M328  The SierraNet M328™ system provides 25/50/100Gbp/s Ethernet and Gen 6 (32GFC) Fibre Channel data capture and protocol verification for developers & protocol test engineers in LAN, SAN, NAS and other Ethernet and Fibre Channel applications.  Available with eight SFP28 FlexPorts™ for maximum configuration and utility, the SierraNet M328 offers world-class protocol analysis and error injection capabilities with an easy to use, customizable hardware & software interface, large capture buffers, and the most advanced capture, triggering and filtering capabilities in the industry.
SierraNet M328Q  The SierraNet M328Q™ system provides 25/50/100Gbp/s Ethernet and Gen 6 (32G) Fibre Channel data capture and protocol verification for developers & protocol test engineers in LAN, SAN, NAS and other Ethernet and Fibre Channel applications.  Available with two QSFP28 FlexPorts™ for maximum configuration and utility, the SierraNet M328Q offers world-class protocol analysis and error injection capabilities with an easy to use, customizable hardware & software interface, large capture buffers, and the most advanced capture, triggering and filtering capabilities in the industry.
SierraNet M408  The SierraNet M408 is the most cost effective, advanced and fully integrated 10/40Gbps Ethernet and 16G Fibre Channel data capture and protocol verification systems available for developers and protocol test engineers.  The SierraNet M408 supports Ethernet protocol analysis and error injection capabilities in a single platform and provides engineers with 100% recording of all Fibre Channel and Ethernet related traffic at full line rates on all ports while maintaining the link integrity through non-retimed pass-through probe technology
SierraNet M168  The SierraNet M168 is the most cost effective, advanced and fully integrated 10Gbps Ethernet and 16G Fibre Channel data capture and protocol verification systems available for developers and protocol test engineers.  The SierraNet M168 supports Ethernet protocol analysis and error injection capabilities in a single platform and provides engineers with 100% recording of all Fibre Channel and Ethernet related traffic at full line rates on all ports while maintaining the link integrity through non-retimed pass-through probe technology.
PAM4 Adapter  The SierraNet PAM4 Layer 2-7 Analysis Adapter modules and licensed software options enables the SierraNet T/M328 family of Ethernet and Fibre Channel protocol analyzers to capture and analyze 50GbE and 64GFC PAM4 based transactions.  The PAM4 Adapter modules extend the investment of the SierraNet T/M 328 for 25GbE and 32GFC developers by offering Teledyne LeCroy’s best in class signal probing technologies and software functionality.

Ethernet, the most ubiquitous networking technology in the computer industry, has been used for a myriad of communications solutions over the past 20+ years and is the backbone of the Internet, corporate datacenter and enterprise applications, modern telephony infrastructures, and all the associated devices.

The “original” serial communication interface, newer high-speed Ethernet deployments provides a bi-directional, physical or logical, lower latency connection between the user/client and their device(s).  Serial transmissions enable much longer connection distances as compared to parallel transmission methods, because far fewer signal lines are required, thereby reducing noise created by multiple signal lines all switching at the same time (cross talk).

Ethernet has long been the data-communications choice for the corporate network as a reliable interconnectivity solution.  The evolution of speeds as well as multi-vendor networks requires adherence to the IEEE standards for Ethernet and a industry commitment to interoperability testing for standards conformance.

Advancements in storage protocols support and physical transport speeds, and improvements in reduced latency is elevating Ethernet to rival Fibre Channel for support of block oriented storage traffic in SAN (Storage Area Network) applications.

Ethernet relies on direct attached copper (DAC) cabling, however to enable longer distance communications, it is designed to work with either optical fiber physical medium or copper cables in many connector and cable type configurations.  Copper cables are relatively inexpensive, but they are useable only for shorter distances, in the range of 5-meters at 10GbE and ~3-meters at 25GbE. In general, the higher the transmission speed, the shorter the distance that can be reliably supported by copper cable technology.  A variety of copper solutions are available, the most commonly used being DAC cabling in both SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) and QSFP (Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable) configurations. SFP and QSFP optical cabling solutions are also available, supporting reliable transmission distances greater than 10 meters, up to about 10 kilometers.

 

 

Architecture

Fibre Channel is a layered protocol, and is modeled loosely on the OSI model for networks. In the OSI model, and in the case of Fibre Channel, each layer provides specific services and makes the results available to the next layer.  Figure 1 below compares the defined OSI layer to the defined Fibre Channel layers.

OSI Model Fibre Channel
7 - Application  
6 - Presentation  
5 - Session FC-4 Protocol map
4 - Transport FC-3 Services
3 - Network FC-2 Framing
2 – Data Link FC-1 Data Link
1 - Physical FC-0 Physical
Figure 1, OSI Model and Fibre Channel Network Layers

The layers in the table represent different functions and services that exist within the Fibre channel protocol definition. As with the other communication standards, protocol level analysis is often focused at the link layer (FC-2) and above.

Fibre Channel, like any network architecture, transports blocks of user or application related information called payloads. Before sending a payload over the physical link, additional Fibre Channel specific control bytes are added to both the start and the end of the payload data. The combination of the control bytes and the payload data is called a frame, which is the basic unit of information in Fibre Channel.  A minimum of 60 bytes of overhead data surround each frame for the purposes of maintaining minimum separation between frames, mark the start and end of a frame, and to check for transmission errors. Within a frame the actual user data being transported can vary from 0 to a maximum of 2112 bytes. Fibre Channel transfers data through switched or direct point-to-point connections which work by creating temporary connections between the source and destination devices.  These connections last only until the transfer is completed and can be temporarily preempted by higher priority transfer requests.

Connections are made on Fibre Channel systems through “interconnect components” such as switches, hubs, and bridges. The ability of Fibre Channel to use different interconnect devices makes it flexible and scalable depending on user needs. For small Fibre Channel networks, inexpensive hubs and loop-switches may be used for connecting devices in a topology called Fiber Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC- AL). As Fibre Channel networks get larger and network bandwidth demands increase, full matrix switching may be implemented. A fully switched Fibre Channel network is called a Fabric topology.

Fabric topology permits multiple alternative paths to be established between any two ports in the Fabric. Loop (FC-AL) topology, on the other hand, is like a string of Christmas tree lights where the path goes serially from one device to the next and finally back to the originating device.  In this type of topology if one device or the path between any two devices fails, the entire string of devices lose their connection.  Loop and Fabric topologies can be combined to provide both low cost connectivity and high performance.

Summary

Fibre Channel protocol is designed to support very low latency and high data transfer rates. The currently approved standard supporting up to 8.5Gb/s, is generally referred to as 8GFC. Server virtualization and storage virtualization are broad trends that are driving the need for higher bandwidth.  The need for high bandwidth in the network infrastructure is just now beginning to drive the replacement of previous product generations of 1, 2, and 4GFC by 8GFC.

Fibre Channel is a good choice for any environment with many servers needing access to centralized storage, computer data centers for example. Because of this, Fiber Channel enjoys over 80% market share as the network interface used in external storage systems such as SAN environments.