Introduction to ESCON and FICON and their differences


Fibre Connection (FICON) is a high-performance I/O interface standard. It is mainly used for high-speed access and storage access services. FICON devices use ANSI-based fiber channels �?physical and signaling interfaces (FCPH). FCPH interfaces define the physical layer signaling, media, and transmission rates of optical fiber channels. Each FICON channel supports more than 4000 I/O operations per second, and the rate of each channel can reach the capacity of eight ESCON channels. The link rate of FICON channels is 100 Mbit/s, and the link rate of ESCON links is 17 Mbit/s. Generally, the FICON direct transmission distance can reach 10 km, and even can reach 20 km in some cases. Enterprise Systems Connection (ESCON) is an IBM standard. It is used for interconnection between S/390 computers, and interconnection between S/390 computers, auxiliary storage devices, local workstations, other devices that use optical fiber technologies, and switches that are called ESCON directors with dynamic changes. In IBM server systems, the interconnections of local hardware units are called channel connections, which are used to distinguish from remote connections. ESCON fibers can extend the connections between local workstations and servers to 60 km (about 37.3 nautical miles). The data transmission rate of links can reach 200 Mbit/s. In some cases, the data transmission rate is lower than 200 Mbit/s for adaptation to channel interfaces. ESCON, FibreChannel, and SCSI are three technologies for SANs.

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Rate of ESCON services
The rate of ESCON services is 200 Mbit/s.

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