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Fibre Channel Design and Test

Fibre Channel (FC) is a high-speed storage area network (SAN) technology used by IT professionals in data centers. FC connects servers, switches and routers with storage devices such as disk arrays and other external enterprise-grade storage systems. The initial design from the mid-1990s carried 100 Mbytes/s of data over a 1.0625 Gbaud optical link that was 8B/10B encoded. Subsequent implementations always doubled the data capacity – i.e., 2G/4G/8G/16G/32G FC transport 200/400/800/1600/3200 Mbytes/s. 2G, 4G and 8G FC doubled the signaling rate to 2.125, 4.25 and 8.5 Gbaud, respectively. However, the challenges of even faster data rates led to different encodings, such as 64b/66b at 16G FC, and even the introduction of Forward Error Correction (FEC). The resulting data rates are no longer aligned with the name (e.g., 16 GFC uses 14.025 Gbaud and 32G FC uses 28.05 Gbaud). In addition, parallel designs such as four individual fibers or one fiber using coarse wavelength-division multiplexing (CWDM) technology quadruple the capacity to (128G FC) while leveraging the lower line-rate technology.

Technical specifications of Fibre Channel links as well as test methodologies are defined by the Technical Committee T11 within the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS). Keysight Technology is a proud member of T11 and supports existing and evolving FC channel standards with a wide variety of test instruments and software applications. Many of the products shown below provide insights through advanced measurements that help engineers in R&D to push the limits of technologies and verify/validate new designs. The same products but in different configurations (or related products) then help manufacturing customers to test high volumes of optical transceivers, electrical semiconductors, interconnect products, printed circuit boards and other components.

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