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RE: Does Ten-Gigabit Ethernet need fault tolerance?


There are existing products that use standard Ethernet (100 Mb/s and 1 Gb/s)
that provide failover from link to link within 20 milliseconds of
notification from the PHY of the loss of 'link integrity'. It is not
necessary to 'build it in hardware' to achieve rapid failover times.

Further, L1 link restoration services are only a small part of the picture
of achieving reliable and highly available transmission services, and
loading the 10Gb/s standardization effort with a laundry list of additional
functionsfrom all areas of potential applicability would seem a sure way of
making sure that it does not follow the price/volume curves of Ethernet, but
rather those of the standards you seem keen to replace.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-stds-802-3-hssg@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:owner-stds-802-3-hssg@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Roy Bynum
Sent: Monday, July 19, 1999 6:59 AM
To: Rogers, Shawn
Cc: stds-802-3-hssg@xxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Does Ten-Gigabit Ethernet need fault tolerance?


I use the term "L1 restoration link services" to refer to the generic
process by
which the L1 processes of SONET/SDH does "protection" switching.  SONET/SDH
this without requiring instruction from upper layers.  I will attempt to
give a
simple explanation of the service process of one of the architectural

SONET/SDH monitors the operable status of alternate links, "working" and
"protection".  SONET/SDH "sends" traffic over both links, but only receives
on the "working" link.  SONET/SDH monitors for L0/L1 fault and other
crossing "events".  When SONET/SDH detects an "event" it moves the reception
traffic from the "working" to the "protection" link.  SONET/SDH then sends
alarm message to upper layer monitoring applications.

With the exception of the upper layer monitoring applications, most of this
done in the SONET/SDH chip set.  Because it is done directly in the chip
set, at
L1, it is very fast.  This is as close to true "fault tolerance" as can be
achieved by a communications process.  Not upper layer processing is
required by
SONET/SDH.  The speed that SONET/SDH does protection switching can not be
duplicated by upper layer applications.  I do not consider the fault
processes of upper layer protocols to be "fault tolerant".  By definition
comparison, they can not be.   At best, upper layer processes are "fault

When we talk about fault tolerance for 802.3, we need to think of it as
operating at the PHY level.  In many ways, fibers/wavelengths are "cheap".
Inside buildings and in WAN/MAN areas of the country they will be becoming
"cheaper".  Using the chip set to implement the process makes L1 restoration
link services "cheap" and simple to implement.

Thank you,
Roy Bynum
MCI WorldCom

"Rogers, Shawn" wrote:

> Roy, sorry but I blinked and missed a tread.  What is L1 restoration link
> services?
> Shawn
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roy Bynum [mailto:rabynum@xxxxxxxxxxx]
> Sent: Sunday, July 18, 1999 6:02 PM
> To: Joe Gwinn
> Cc: stds-802-3-hssg@xxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: Does Ten-Gigabit Ethernet need fault tolerance?
> Joe,
> I have a question?  Your RTFC flooding algorithm sounds a lot like the
> restoration
> algorithms that have been proposed for DXC traffic restoration in the
> telephony
> industry.  These have not been used because of the complexity of
> introduced in designing the architecture.  This might work in very simple
> systems,
> but I have reservations about successful implementations in large, high
> bandwidth,
> enterprise networks.
> In doing economic modeling, it was discovered that using simple L1
> working/protect
> restoration link services actually cost less to implement in large complex
> architectures.  Nodal failure is more often better handled at higher
> In addition, simple L1 restoration implementations are easier to maintain
> for
> not-so-technical people.  Part of the reason for the success of 802.3 is
> simplicity of maintenance.  The success of 10GbE will be dependent on a
> continuing
> of that simplicity.
> Thank you,
> Roy Bynum
> MCI WorldCom
> Joe Gwinn wrote:
> > Jonathan,
> >
> > At 2:22 PM 99/7/16, Jonathan Thatcher wrote:
> > >
> > >A question and a suggestion:
> > >
> > >1. Are you suggesting that Fault Tolerence is a requirement for 10 Gig
> > >Ethernet or for all Ethernet?  Or, if FT is added to 10Gig Ethernet, is
> it of
> > >any particular value if 10, 100, and 1000 BASE-* don't have it?
> >
> > I am suggesting fault tolerance as an optional enhancement for 10GbE
> > mainly because it's early enough in 10GbE's standards development
> > that FT could be included without pain, if the committee so desires.
> >
> > Another reason is that I would like to be able to buy FT/DT 10GbE
> > a few years from now, for use in military systems.  If you recall from
> > London GbE meeting, I intended to suggest this FT technology to GbE, but
> > the technology couldn't be released in time, and so missed the GbE
> > standards train.
> >
> > As for the other ethernet standards, I propose nothing, although there
> > no reason that they could not also take advantage of the offered FT
> > technology, should they so desire.
> >
> > The RTFC technology allows some segments of an overall network to be FT,
> > and does not require all to be FT, so there is no reason for an
> all-or-none
> > approach.  In a network containing multiple FT segments, the segments
> react
> > to changes and roster independently of one another.
> >
> > >A1: If all Ethernet: you should ask for a call for interest in 802.3
> > >bring presentations supporting the requirement (5 criteria, etc).
> > >
> > >A2: If only 10 Gig Ethernet: you should bring a presentation supporting
> the
> > >requirment to the next 802.3 HSSG meeting.  Expect questions about how
> this
> > >supports the 5 criteria. Expect questions about why only 10 Gig
> >
> > The famous 5 criteria, lifted from slide 15 of thatcher_1_0399.pdf:
> >
> > 3.4.1. Broad Market Potential  -- FT is already in ATM/SONET, 802.3ad,
> > Rapid Reconfiguration in 802.1, etc, so there seems to be preexisting
> > agreement that fault tolerance is desirable and has a sufficiently broad
> > market potential.
> >
> > 3.4.2. Compatibility with IEEE Standard 802.3 -- Based on my experience
> > with 802.3z, I believe the offered technology is compatible, but the
> > committee is the expert here.
> >
> > Some facts:  The current RTFC implementations use standard TriQuint
> > Fibre-Channel parts and Finisar optical transceivers for the gigabit
> links,
> > plus some code in a standard-issue FPGA.  Only Fibre Channel layers FC-0
> > and part of FC-1 are used, just as GbE does (although the details of use
> of
> > FC-1 differs).  The network segments (containing NICs, hubs, and fibers)
> > are either in "data mode" (with normal lan traffic), or in "rostering
> mode"
> > (where the new roster of NICs, hubs, and fibers are configuring
> > into a working segment), and the protocols used in those two modes are
> > wholly independent of one another.  This is detailed in RTFC Principles
> > Operation.
> >
> > 3.4.3. Distinct Identity -- No problem.  No other fault and damage
> > tolerance algorithm works this way, and thus confers unique advantages.
> > For one, the technology is noticably simpler than all other FT
> technologies
> > I am aware of, and is a whole lot more robust (in that it also supports
> > DT).
> >
> > Perhaps the key difference between this and other message-based fault
> > distributed tolerance schemes is that all other schemes attempted to be
> > stingy with mesages (because they are expensive in most distributed
> > systems), while RTFC is a flooding protocol with just enough population
> > control to prevent network saturation.  The use of flooding allowed a
> > radical simplification of the algorithm, and the implementation of true
> > damage tolerance rather than just fault tolerance.
> >
> > 3.4.4. Technical Feasibility -- It has been implemented, and is in use
> a
> > military application, with others under consideration.
> >
> > 3.4.5. Economic Feasibility -- It has been implemented, and the
> > is quite simple, as detailed in RTFC Principles of Operation.  We are
> > basically talking about making a gate array slightly larger in those
> > supporting fault tolerance (for which one can charge extra).
> >
> > I guess the only requirement, in the sense that all of 10GbE would have
> > follow it, is for the NICs to do their part in rostering, a simple task
> > easily buried in the NIC's state machines.  The rest is for an optional
> > variety of hub where one does the rest of the rostering algorithm.
> >
> > If by "requirment" you mean only a one-liner like "10GbE shall support
> > Fault Tolerance", it wouldn't be much of a presentation.  I doubt that
> > anyone will argue that fault tolerance is undesirable; their question
> > be "At what price?".  I claim the price is small, and the payoff large.
> In
> > the final analysis, the matter will turn on how hard it is to implement
> the
> > algorithm, a matter of details.
> >
> > I don't know that I will be able to attend many meetings, so I won't be
> > very active proponent of my own technology.  As I said before, no
> > will call.  But email is another matter.
> >
> > More to the point, a few brave souls will no doubt read the RTFC
> Principles
> > of Operation, and if they think that there is something there that 10GbE
> > either wants or needs, and the rest of the committee comes to agree, the
> > technology will find its way into GbE.  Otherwise, it won't.  How else
> > could it be?
> >
> > Basically, this technology is a gift, yours if you wish it.  I feel it
> > of great value to 10GbE, and will be very interested to know what people
> > think after they have had time to absorb the core of the technology, and
> to
> > see the implications.
> >
> > Joe
> >
> > PS:  I'll be on travel, to an unrelated standards meeting, the week
> > July 1999.
> >
> > >> -----Original Message-----
> > >> From: gwinn@xxxxxxxxxx [mailto:gwinn@xxxxxxxxxx]
> > >> Sent: Friday, July 16, 1999 2:15 PM
> > >> To: stds-802-3-hssg@xxxxxxxx
> > >> Subject: Does Ten-Gigabit Ethernet need fault tolerance?
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> The purpose of this note is to present a case for inclusion of fault
> > >> tolerance in 10GbE, and to offer a suitable proven technology for
> > >> consideration.  However, no salesman will call.
> > >>
> > [snip]
> > >The basic technical document, the RTFC Principles of Operation, is on
> > >GbE website as " groups/802/3/
> > >email_attach/ gwinn_1_0699.pdf" and "
> > >groups/802/3/10G_study/ public/ email_attach/ gwinn_2_0699.pdf".