IBM 3705 Communications Controller

IBM 3705 Communications Controller

The IBM 3705 Communications Controller was a simple computer which attached to a IBM System/360 or System/370. Its purpose was to connect communication lines to the mainframe channel. It was a first communications controller of the popular IBM 37xx series. It was announced in March 1972. Designed for semiconductor memory which was not ready at the time of announcement, the 3705-I had to use 1.2 microsecond core storage; the later 3705-II used 1.0 microsecond SRAM. MST components, similar to those in S/370, were used.

The 3705 normally occupied a single frame two feet wide and three feet deep. Up to three expansion frames could be attached for a theoretical capacity of 352 half-duplex lines and two independent channel adapters.

The 3704 was an entry level version of the 3705 with limited features.


IBM intended it to be used in three ways:
# Emulation of the older IBM 2703 Communications Controller and its predecessors. The relevant software was the "Emulation Program" or EP.
# Connection of Systems Network Architecture (SNA) devices to a mainframe. The relevant software was "Network Control Program" (NCP). When used in this fashion, the 3705 was considered an SNA PU4.
# Combining the two methods above in a configuration called a "Partitioned Emulation Program" or PEP.


The storage word length was 16-bits. The registers had the same width as the address bus. Their length varied between 16, 18 and 20 bits depending on the amount of storage installed. A particular interrupt level had eight registers. Register zero was the program counter which gave the address of the next instruction to be executed; the other seven were accumulators. The four odd-numbered accumulators could be addressed as eight single-byte accumulators.

Instructions were fairly simple. Most were register-to-register or register-immediate instructions which executed in a single memory cycle. There were eight storage reference instructions which required two or three storage cycles to complete. The only shift capability was to shift right one or to add a register to itself.

Special hardware assisted in the calculation of a cyclic redundancy check for detection of transmission errors. Both CRC-16 CCITT and CRC-16 IBM were supported. Assuming the running value was maintained in storage, the execution time to accumulate one more byte was five storage cycles (three instructions).

Rapid context switching was a design objective. The register file was divided into four sections. The three commonly used interrupt levels and the background level had distinct sets of registers. Therefore entry into most interrupt levels did not require saving the registers of the interrupted program. The infrequently used level which processed program and hardware errors shared registers with the next highest level and thus had to save and restore registers.

The five program levels were:
# Error processing
# Communication line events
# Channel adapter events
# Service requests from other levels
# Background level

The 3705 had a flashing light style control panel which was superior to most other IBM panels of that style. The two unusual (for IBM) features were:
# Storage (and some external registers) could be displayed while the program was executing.
# The hex input switches and the two register-sized displays could be used by the program while the machine was running. This capability derived from the objective of emulating the IBM 2703 which had a fairly rich control panel.


Three types of peripherals were available: communications scanners, channel adapters and 8" floppy disk (only available in models without a channel adapter). The first Communication Scanner and the first Channel Adapter occupied the same frame as the CCU. Extra peripherals required extra frames.

Communication Scanners

Three different communication scanners were offered:

The Type 1 Communication Scanner was an entry level device which presented an interrupt on every received bit. Transmission also required an interrupt for every bit. In theory this would have allowed for rather imaginative uses such as Morse Code and connection to devices with unusual framing methods. A maximum of 64 half-duplex lines could be attached. The aggregate bandwidth was restricted to the heavy processing requirements.

The Type II Communication Scanner performed functions similar to a USART. There was an interrupt for every transmitted or received character. Six different asynchronous character formats, two forms of Bisync and HDLC/SDLC were supported. A single scanner could attach up to 96 (64 for the first scanner) half-duplex lines. This is the basis of the theoretical maximum capacity of 352 lines. In practice the limit was lower as a scanner with more than 48 half duplex lines could not support any 9600 bit/s lines.

The Type III Communication Scanner was a high performance device for attachment of Bisync and HDLC/SDLC lines. It operated on entire frames. DMA was used to fetch and store the bytes of a frame. In theory the line attachment capacity was the same as for Type II Communication Scanner (352 line limit). The need to restrict scanner size to 48 lines to support 9600 bit/s was still present. Restricting scanner size to 16 lines allowed line speeds of up to 30,000 bit/s. A scanner size of 8 lines allowed speed of about 60,000 bit/s.

Maximum Communication Line Connection Estimates

With modem supplied clocking, a single line was limited to 50 kbit/s; with internal clocking the limit was 2400 bit/s.

Aggregate line connection ability was limited by processing speed.

For a Type II Communications Scanner, processing of a received or transmitted character might take fifty storage cycles (forty instructions). In a 3705-II this gives an aggregate capacity of 20,000 byte/s. This would allow about 160 half-duplex lines running at a mean speed of 120 cps. Alternatively sixteen half-duplex lines running at 1200 cps (9600 bit/s) would be the theoretical limit. IPSANET experience was that six full-duplex 9600 bit/s lines carrying a heavy load was the limit. IBM software may have had superior performance.

For a Type III Communications Scanner DMA processing of a single character was fairly inexpensive—a single storage cycle was required. This would give a theoretical limit of a million cps (eighty 9600 bit/s half-duplex lines). In practice the limit was probably lower as some processing would be required for end of frame. Also if the frame contents were moved about in storage this would require 3.5 storage cycles per byte.

Channel Adapters

Two types of channel adapter were offered:

Type 1 and Type 4 Channel Adapters were designed for 270x emulation. They recognized up to 256 channel addresses and transferred data in small bursts (four bytes for the Type 1; 32 bytes maximum for the Type 4). The hardware could accept almost all of the 240 possible channel command codes. Software had to analyse the command from the channel and either reject the command or process it according to specific rules. Interrupt processing required about fifty storage cycles to process a four byte transfer. The 3705 could only have a single Type 1 Adapter but two Type 4 Adapters were permitted.

Type 2 and Type 3 Channel Adapters were designed for NCP use only. Only one device address was recognized. Data transfer was via DMA which made the overhead low if large buffers were used. The hardware accepted seven channel commands of which four were completely processed by the adapter. This left a read and two write commands for the software to process. These adapters could be connected to any of the three System/370 channel types but a block multiplexor channel was preferred. The Type 3 Adapter could be simultaneously operational (but not in mid-command) on two different channels which might be connected to different hosts.

Related Machines

The Amdahl 4705 was compatible and ran about 2.5 times as fast as a comparable 3705-II. The IBM 3704 was an entry level version of the 3705. It was restricted to 26 half duplex lines (assuming Type 2 Scanner). DMA devices were not supported on the 3704. Performance was about the same as a 3705-I.


The 3705 was eventually replaced by the 3720 and 3725. The 3745 was similar but not entirely compatible. The 3705 was withdrawn from marketing in December 1985. Hardware maintenance service was withdrawn in January 1999.


* [ 3704 and 3705 Principles of Operation]
* [ ACF/NCP VERSION 3 FOR THE IBM 3705 AND 3725 COMMUNICATION CONTROLLERS Announcement Letter 283-396 dated November 15, 1983]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • IBM Systems Network Architecture — Systems Network Architecture (SNA) is IBM s proprietary networking architecture created in 1974. It is a complete protocol stack for interconnecting computers and their resources. SNA describes the protocol and is, in itself, not actually a… …   Wikipedia

  • IBM 3720 — The IBM 3720 was a communications controller (front end processor) made by IBM, suitable for use in an IBM System/390. Official service support was withdrawn in 1999 in favour of the IBM 3745. The IBM 3720 is unrelated to the similarly numbered… …   Wikipedia

  • List of IBM products — The following is a list of notable products from the International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation and its predecessor corporations, beginning in the 1890s, and spanning punched card machinery, time clocks, and typewriters, via mainframe… …   Wikipedia

  • Front end processor — For the computer program, see Front end processor (program). A front end processor (FEP), or a communications processor, is a small sized computer which interfaces to the host computer a number of networks, such as SNA, or a number of peripheral… …   Wikipedia

  • Bus (computing) — 4 PCI Express bus card slots (from top to bottom: x4, x16, x1 and x16), compared to a 32 bit conventional PCI bus card slot (very bottom) In computer architecture, a bus is a subsystem that transfers data between components inside a computer, or… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”