Definition: Fibre Channel is a set of related physical layer networking standards. Fibre Channel technology handles high-performance disk storage for applications on many corporate networks. Fibre Channel supports data backups, clustering and replication.
Like Ethernet, its main competitor, Fibre Channel can utilize copper wiring. However, copper limits Fibre Channel to a maximum recommended reach of 30 meters. When using more expensive fiber optic cables, Fibre Channel reaches to 10 kilometers.
The original version of Fibre Channel operated at a maximum data rate of 1 Gbps. Newer versions of the standard increased this rate up to 16 Gbps, with 8 and10 Gbps versions also used.
Fibre Channel networks have a historical reputation for being expensive to build, difficult to manage, and inflexible to upgrade due to incompatibilities between vendor products.
Pronunciation: fi'-ber chan-nel
Also Known As: Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop, FC-AL
Alternate Spellings: Fiber Channel
Examples: Many storage area network (SAN) solutions use Fibre Channel technology. Gigabit Ethernet has emerged, however, as a lower cost alternative for storage networks. Gigabit Ethernet can better take advantage of Internet standards for network management like SNMP.