News Release

New Version of FDDI Interface for Cisco Systems Routers Adds Translational/Transparent Bridging for VAX Environments

MENLO PARK, Calif., Aug. 17, 1992 -- A new version of Cisco
Aug 17, 1992

MENLO PARK, Calif., Aug. 17, 1992 -- A new version of Cisco Systems' widely used FDDI router interface card offers translational and transparent bridging capabilities, supporting communication of non-routable protocols such as those used in Digital Equipment Corporation VMS operating environments.

Recent tests by Scott Bradner at Harvard University rated the new card's aggregate performance at 60,000 packets per second, setting a new milestone for high-speed FDDI internetwork- ing. Previous published industry maximums were under 50,000 pps.

The new FDDI Interface Card with Translational/Transparent Bridging addresses "the proliferation of FDDI (fiber distributed data interface) media into the DEC VAX world," said Rick Johnson, Cisco router product manager. "With more VAX systems being attached directly to FDDI rings, we saw a need to offer an alternative to encapsulation bridging, which required that the hosts be attached to an Ethernet LAN off the FDDI backbone. Now Ethernet-attached hosts or terminals running LAT can communicate directly with hosts on FDDI".

Besides just DEC installations, Johnson said, "the new FDDI bridging facilities will be a boon to environments where the user has chosen, for any reason, to bridge instead of route."

Cisco continues to support its original FDDI Interface Card, of which more than 5,000 units have been installed since its introduction in 1989 as the industry's first multi-protocol FDDI routing device. Cisco accounted for over 60 percent of FDDI routers shipped in North America in 1991, according to International Data Corporation.

Translational bridging converts Ethernet packets into FDDI format and vice versa, allowing Ethernet-attached hosts or terminal servers running a non-routable protocol such as LAT to communicate directly with hosts on an FDDI ring. All routable protocols still can be routed normally between multiple FDDI networks while the Cisco device performs translational bridging.

Transparent bridging moves FDDI packets intact from one FDDI ring to another without encapsulation or translation. This capability is required when multiple FDDI rings separate terminal servers from their VAX hosts, when a single VAX cluster is spread across two FDDI rings, or when redundant VAX clusters are placed on separate FDDI rings to link redundant data centers.

Like the earlier version, the new FDDI card works in Cisco's high-end AGS+ router/bridge chassis and contains a dedicated 16- MIPS (millions of instructions per second) custom bit-slice processor, direct memory access for high-speed data transfer, and AMD's Supernet chip set. The cards are compliant with ANSI X3.139/148/166/184 and ISO 9314 standards.

Up to four FDDI interfaces (any combination with or without translational/transparent bridging) can be installed in the AGS+. Alternatively, one FDDI interface of either type can be combined with up to 20 serial, 12 token ring or 22 Ethernet interfaces. Both FDDI cards support single- and multi-mode FDDI and offer all FDDI fault-tolerance and redundancy techniques, including dual- station attachment, optical bypass and dual homing.


Available beginning in October, the Cisco FDDI Interface Card withTranslational/Transparent Bridging is priced at $16,500. Users of Cisco'searlier FDDI interface can upgrade to the new version for $5,000. (Allprices are U.S. list.)

Cisco Systems, Inc., is the leading global supplier of high- performance, multimedia and multiprotocol internetworking products, including routers, bridges, communication servers and network management software. Cisco technology can be used to build enterprise-wide networks linking an unlimited number of geographically dispersed LANs. Cisco is publicly traded over-the- counter under the NASDAQ symbol CSCO.

Posted: Dec 15 13:43:06 1992