Computer Laboratory

Technical reports

The design of a ring communication network

Steven Temple

132 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted January 1984 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the University of Cambridge, Corpus Christi College.


This dissertation describes the design of a high speed local area network. Local networks have been in use now for over a decade and there is a proliferation of different systems, experimental ones which are not widely used and commercial ones installed in hundreds of locations. For a new network design to be of interest from the research point of view it must have a feature or features which set it apart from existing networks and make it an improvement over existing systems. In the case of the network described, the research was started to produce a network which was considerably faster than current designs, but which retained a high degree of generality.

As the research progressed, other features were considered, such as ways to reduce the cost of the network and the ability to carry data traffic of many different types. The emphasis on high speed is still present but other aspects were considered and are discussed in the dissertation. The network has been named the Cambridge Fast Ring and and the network hardware is currently being implemented as an integrated circuit at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.

The aim of the dissertation is to describe the background to the design and the decisions which were made during the design process, as well as the design itself. The dissertation starts with a survey of the uses of local area networks and examines some established networks in detail. It then proceeds by examining the characteristics of a current network installation to assess what is required of the network in that and similar applications. The major design considerations for a high speed network controller are then discussed and a design is presented. Finally, the design of computer interfaces and protocols for the network is discussed.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Temple, Steven},
  title = 	 {{The design of a ring communication network}},
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-52}