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Industrial Ethernet, Part 4.

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I n our very fi rst arti cle on Ethernet
we di scussed the basi cs of i ts
operati on. We menti oned that
multi -segment Ethernet networks
can be constructed by usi ng
repeaters and hubs. A segment i s
defi ned as a length of cable
consi sti ng of one or more cable
secti ons and associ ated connectors
wi th each end termi nati ng i n i ts
characteri sti c i mpedance. For
example wi th 10BASE5, the
segment represents the complete
end to end length of thi ck coaxi al
cable even though several medi um
attachment uni ts ( MAUs) are
clamped onto the cable. The
maxi mum length of a 10BASE5
segment i s 500 m and thi s would
represent the network di ameter of
the Ethernet network i f no
repeaters were used. However,
Ethernet can be expanded to a
larger network di ameter by usi ng
repeaters as long as the network
di ameter does not exceed the
colli si on domai n of Ethernet. Thi s
arti cle wi ll di scuss those
restri cti ons.
For thi s arti cle, we wi ll li mi t
di scussi ons to 10 Mbps, shared
Ethernet. Wi th shared Ethernet, all
nodes parti ci pate i n medi a
arbi trati on and must resi de wi thi n
one colli si on domai n. Another
characteri sti c of shared Ethernet i s
that communi cati on i s half-duplex.
Although all nodes can send and
recei ve, there cannot be any
si multaneous sendi ng or recei vi ng.
Thi s would result i n colli si ons and
i t i s thi s detecti on of colli si ons that
i s used to arbi trate medi a access.
Repeaters must not i nterfere wi th
thi s arbi trati on method by favori ng
one node over another.
The requi rements for repeaters are
stated i n I EEE 802.3. The standard
uses the term repeater set whi ch
consi sts of a repeater wi th two or
more attached MAUs. These MAUs
may also have an AUI cable
connecti ng the repeater to i ts
attached MAU but wi th modern
repeaters thi s i s not usually the
case. We wi ll use the terms
repeater and repeater set
i nterchangeably. A repeater i s
usually vi ewed as a two-port
devi ce, whi le a repeati ng hub has
more than two ports. Thei r
operati on i s the same. A vali d
si gnal on one port i s retransmi tted
to all other ports. Regardless i f we
are usi ng DI X V2.0 or I EEE 802.3
frame format, the expansi on i ssues
are the same. Addi ng a repeater
should be transparent to the
network by not causi ng any
di srupti on of Ethernets basi c
operati on or i mpacti ng medi a
arbi trati on. Repeaters are
commonly vi ewed as a devi ce that
restores the ampli tude of the si gnal
i n order to correct the effects of
cable attenuati on. However,
Ethernet repeaters are requi red
to do more. Repeaters must do
the followi ng:
Restore the ampli tude
of the si gnal
Restore the symmetry
of the si gnal
Reti me the si gnal
Rebui ld the preamble
Enforce colli si ons on
all segments
Extend fragments
As a si gnal propagates down a
cable i t suffers loss of si gnal
strength, symbol symmetry and
ji tter i s i ntroduced due to effects
i denti fi ed as i nter-symbol
i nterference. These effects must not
accumulate through the use of
repeaters. Repeaters must restore
the i ntegri ty of the si gnals whi ch
i ncludes reti mi ng.
The preamble of an Ethernet frame
consi sts of 64 bi ts and i t i s possi ble
that all bi ts are not present due to
Using Repea ters to Increa se N etwork Dia meter
By George Thomas,
Contemporary Controls
Volume 1 Issue 6
Ma yJune 2 0 0 0
t he
A Technical Supplement t o control N ETW O RK
transcei ver startup delays. The
repeater must count the bi ts i n the
i ncomi ng preamble and i nsert bi ts
i f any are mi ssi ng. Thi s means that
the repeater must have a fi rst-i n-
fi rst out ( FI FO ) buffer i n order to
accompli sh thi s. All repeated ports
wi ll have the proper 64-bi t
Preamble regenerati on should not
be confused wi th packet store and
forwardi ng. Accordi ng to the
standard, repeaters are not allowed
to store and forward. Bri dges and
routers provi de thi s functi onali ty,
not repeaters.
Ethernet reli es upon colli si on
sensi ng as i t arbi trates access to the
cable. Repeaters must rei nforce the
detecti on of a colli si on by asserti ng
the same colli si on si gnal on all
ports. I t does thi s by sendi ng out a
32-bi t jam si gnal. I f the colli si on
was sensed duri ng the 64-bi t
preamble, the preamble i s sti ll
repeated but a 32-bi t jam si gnal i s
appended i n order that all ports
see a mi ni mum of 96 bi ts for
proper colli si on detecti on by
devi ces connected to the ports.
Thi s i s called fragment extensi on.
Repeaters can be connected i n
seri es ( cascaded) i n order to
i ncrease the network di ameter but
there are restri cti ons. As menti oned
before, repeaters must rei nforce
colli si on detecti on but i f the
network di ameter exceeds a si ngle
colli si on domai n, unreli able
operati on wi ll result. The
maxi mum colli si on di ameter i s
determi ned by the round-tri p ti me
of a si gnal propagati ng between
the two furthest nodes. Thi s ti me
cannot exceed 575 bi ts ( 57.5s at
10 Mbps) .
Repeaters i mpact the maxi mum
colli si on di ameter si nce they
contri bute data latency due to thei r
electroni cs. The I EEE 802.3
standard does an exhausti ve study
on all contri butors of data latency
i ncludi ng cables, transcei vers and
the li ke. These values formulate
the rules that govern the number
of repeaters that can be cascaded.
There are two approaches that can
be used to calculate the number of
repeaters. Approach 1 i s more of
the cookbook approach whi le
approach 2 i s the more analyti cal.
I t would be ni ce to have si mple
cabli ng rules for expandi ng an
Ethernet network but unfortunately
that i s not the case. Here are the
rules for approach 1:
The transmi ssi on path permi tted
between any two DTEs may
consi st of up to fi ve segments,
four repeater sets ( i ncludi ng
opti onal AUI s) , two MAUs, and
two AUI s.
A DTE i s data termi nal equi pment
whi ch i s ei ther the source or
desti nati on of the traffi c. A repeater
set i s actually a repeater wi th two
attached medi um attachment uni ts
( MAUs) . An AUI i s an attachment
uni t i nterface whi ch i s requi red i f
external MAUs are bei ng used.
Wi th thi s rule the two MAUs and
the two AUI s are reserved for the
DTEs. The repeater sets, by
defi ni ti on, have thei r own MAUs.
When a transmi ssi on path
consi sts of four repeaters and
fi ve segments, up to three of the
segments may be mi xi ng and the
remai nder must be li nk
segments. When fi ve segments
are present, each fi ber opti c li nk
segment shall not exceed 500m.
A mi xi ng segment i s actually a bus
segment such as 10BASE2 or
10BASE5. A li nk segment consi sts
of only two MAUs and i s capable
of full-duplex operati on ( 10BASE-
FL and 10BASE-T quali fy) . Noti ce
that although 10BASE-FL i s capable
of achi evi ng a 2km segment
length, i t i s li mi ted to 500m under
the above condi ti ons. Fi gure 1
shows thi s si tuati on. Noti ce that
the maxi mum segment length for
10BASE2, 10BASE5 and 10BASE-T
can be achi eved. O nly the 10BASE-
FL segment length i s restri cted.
Thi s rule says that you cannot have
an all coaxi al system when usi ng
four repeaters; however, an all
fi ber or all twi sted-pai r network i s
possi ble usi ng four repeaters.
When a transmi ssi on path
consi sts of three repeater sets
and four segments, the followi ng
restri cti ons apply:
The i nter-repeater fi ber
segment can now be 1000m.
The end fi ber segments
( connected to DTEs) can
be 400m.
All segments can be mi xi ng.
Repea ter Set Repea ter Set Repea ter Set Repea ter Set
Link Seg
1 0 0 m
Link Seg
5 0 0 m
1 0 BASE-T
Link Seg
1 0 0 m
Link Seg
5 0 0 m
Coa x Seg
5 0 0 m 1 0 BASE5
1 8 5 m 1 0 BASE2
Coa x Seg
5 0 0 m 1 0 BASE5
1 8 5 m 1 0 BASE2
Coa x Seg
5 0 0 m 1 0 BASE5
1 8 5 m 1 0 BASE2
Figure1. Good example of 5-4-3 rule. Notice the distance limitation
on the fiber segments.
An all coaxi al network can be
created when usi ng three
repeaters, and i t appears that an
all fi ber system can extend to
2800 meters.
5-4-3 Rule
The above rules have lead to a
si mpli fi ed procedure for creati ng
multi -segment Ethernet networks
called the 5-4-3 rule. I n the 5-4-3
rule, a total of fi ve segments can
exi st connected by four repeaters
as long as no more than three are
bus segments. Thi s i s a very si mple
rule and i t does not address the
three, two or one repeater
confi gurati on. The rule also does
not address the maxi mum
allowable segment length under
the varyi ng condi ti ons. I n general,
fi ber segments are li mi ted when
usi ng multi ple repeaters. For these
speci al si tuati ons, approach 2
should be used to determi ne i f the
proposed expansi on method wi ll
not exceed the li mi t of the
colli si on domai n.
For a detai led analysi s on the
restri cti ons for cascadi ng hubs,
approach 2 can be used. Wi th thi s
approach two parameters are
calculated. Fi rst the worst case
round tri p delay i s calculated.
Second the i nterframe gap ( I FG)
shri nkage i s calculated. The I EEE
802.3 standard provi des tables for
these calculati ons. Thi s approach i s
used for si tuati ons not covered i n
the more generali zed approach
number 1.
The model used consi sts of two
DTEs i nterconnected by repeaters
as shown i n fi gure 2. There i s a
left end DTE and a ri ght end DTE.
The mi ddle segments are for the
repeaters. The round-tri p bi t ti mes
for all devi ces can be found i n the
table. Thi s calculati on i s done fi rst.
The total round tri p delay of all
devi ces or components cannot
exceed 575 bi t ti mes. Thi s number
i s based upon the 64-bi t preamble
followed by 511 bi ts of frame. You
should i nclude some margi n and
the standard recommends not
exceedi ng 572. Some techni cal
references wi ll say the li mi t i s
actually 512 bi t ti mes si nce thi s i s
the slot ti me. Thi s i gnores the 64-
bi t preamble. I EEE 802.3 consi ders
the preamble as well. For a more
conservati ve approach, si mply use
512 bi t ti mes. Table 1 provi des a
li sti ng of segment delay values
( SDV) for the vari ous medi a.
As an example let us assume an all
twi sted-pai r network consi sti ng of
si x segments and fi ve repeaters.
Si nce both ends are 10BASE-T
segments, there i s no si gni fi cance
to left end and ri ght end. I f the
end segments are i ndeed di fferent,
you would need to do the
calculati on twi ce si nce the left and
ri ght end delays are di fferent. Use
the worst case calculati on.
For our example, we want to use
the maxi mum allowable segment
length of 100 meters. Therefore,
from the chart select 26.55 and
176.3 for the ends and 53.3 for the
four mi d-segments. Addi ng them
all up yi elds 416.05 whi ch i s less
than the 572 li mi t. There seems to
be much margi n. I f you do not use
the maxi mum length of the
segments i n the calculati on, you
wi ll need to calculate the actual
delay value for a parti cular length
of cable usi ng the followi ng
equati on: SDV = Base + [Length *
( RT delay/meter) ].
The next calculati on i s to
determi ne the I FG shri nkage. As
frames are processed through
repeaters, there may be loss of bi ts
that must be compensated for by
the repeaters. The result i s that the
ti me between frames mi ght be
reduced below the mi ni mum stated
i n the standard. Therefore, a path
vari abi li ty value ( PVV) calculati on
Figure2. Approach 2 uses this path model.
MAUMedium a tta chment unit
RPTRRepea ter
DTEDa ta termina l equipment
Table1. Segment round-trip delay values in bit times.
must be made on the worst-case
path. Table 2 provi des the values.
Note that you do not need to
consi der the recei vi ng end.
Therefore, there are only fi ve
effected segments the transmi tti ng
segment and the four mi d-
segments. For the transmi tti ng
segment use 10.5 and for the mi d
segments use 8. The total would
be 42.5 whi ch i s less than the 49
maxi mum. Thi s example shows
there i s a si tuati on where fi ve
repeaters can be used i n a row
whi ch contradi cts approach 1.
However, i f you want to remai n
conservati ve, li mi t your network to
four repeaters. Noti ce that i f we
added one more repeater i n our
example ( one more mi d-segment)
that the addi ti onal 8 bi t ti mes i n
the PVV calculati on would exceed
49. Therefore, we could sti ll pass
the delay calculati on but fai l the
I FG test.
Shared Ethernet networks can be
extended wi th repeaters as long as
the network di ameter does not
exceed the li mi t of a si ngle
colli si on domai n. The I EEE 802.3
standard menti ons two approaches
i n determi ni ng the li mi t. Approach
1 provi des a set of rules whi ch has
resulted i n the short form 5-4-3
rule. Approach 2 i s more analyti cal
and should be used when the
network topology i s i nconsi stent
wi th the rules. What should be
remembered i s that i n a shared
Ethernet network, repeaters should
not be appli ed wi thout thought.
Practical Networking With Ethernet, Charles E. Spurgeon, 1997,
I nternati onal Thomson Computer Press
Switched and Fast Ethernet, Second Edi ti on, Robert Breyer and Sean Ri ley,
1996, Macmi llan Computer Publi shi ng USA
I nternational Standard I SO/ I EC 8802-3 ANSI / I EEE Std 802.3, 1996,
The I nsti tute of Electri cal and Electroni c Engi neers, I nc.
Table2. Segment variability values in bit times.