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UBC Theses and Dissertations

On the feasibility of using StarLAN to implement the FASTBUS Serial Network Cam, Richard


During the inception of FASTBUS, an autonomous data link, informally known as the FASTBUS Serial Network, was conceived as an auxiliary communications channel to be used in diagnostic applications for debugging FASTBUS systems. Since then, there have been several attempts at implementing this serial network, all of which have produced somewhat mixed results. This thesis describes the latest attempt to implement a prototype FASTBUS serial network. By using a new LAN specification called StarLAN, some promising results have been obtained. These results show that StarLAN can be successfully adapted to implement the serial network without requiring major modifications. Furthermore, StarLAN seems to have the desirable characteristics of simplicity, low cost, an 'acceptable' data rate, and having multiple vendor support — advantages that previous implementation attempts had not possessed simultaneously. As such, StarLAN is the most promising solution to the serial network problem to have appeared so far. This document will begin with a background discussion of FASTBUS, the FASTBUS Serial Network, and StarLAN. It will then discuss, in detail, how the prototype network was built, followed by a description and analysis of the performance measurements that were taken. It will also discuss considerations and options for a practical implementation of the serial network, based on experience from the work done with the prototype. Finally, a summary of the key results and an assessment of the StarLAN approach is given to conclude the thesis. It is hoped that this document will be able to resolve many outstanding questions about a StarLAN-based serial network. Perhaps, FASTBUS users can now decide on whether or not to use StarLAN to implement the FASTBUS Serial Network.

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