Fiber Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL)
A fast serial bus interface standard intended to replace SCSI on high-end servers. FC-AL has a number of advantages over SCSI. It offers higher speed: the base speed is 100 megabytes per second, with 200, 400, and 800 planned. Many devices are dual ported, i.e., can be accessed through two independent ports, which doubles speed and increases fault tolerance. Cables can be as long as 30 m (coaxial) or 10 km (optical). FC-AL enables self- configuring and hot swapping and the maximum number of devices on a single port is 126. Finally, it provides software compatibility with SCSI. Despite all these features FC-AL is unlikely to appear on desktops anytime soon, partly because its price, partly because typical desktop computers would not take advantage of many of the advanced features. On these systems FireWire has more potential.