Fibre Channel network protocols

Fibre Channel network protocols

Communication between devices in a fibre channel network uses different elements of the Fibre Channel standards. The following sections introduce the main concepts and show how a combination of primitives and frames is required.

Transmission words and ordered sets

All Fibre Channel communication is done in units of four 10-bit codes. This group of 4 codes is called a transmission word.

An ordered set is a transmission word that includes some combination of control (K) codes and data (D) codes


Each device has an Arbitrated Loop Physical Address (AL_PA). These addresses are defined by an 8-bit field but must have neutral disparity as defined in the 8B/10B coding scheme. That reduces the number of possible values from 256 to 134. The 134 possible values have been divided between the fabric, FC_AL ports, and other special purposes as follows:

In addition to data frames, there are non-data frames that are used for setup and messaging purposes. These fall into three categories, link control frames, link service frames, and extended link service frames. The following table lists the most common ones:

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