Fast Track Switching - Technology
Fast Track Switching is essentially based on three mechanisms that conform to Standard Ethernet:
Step 1: Detect
Fast Track Switching detects automation frames based on the header information in the Ethernet frame. Once an automation frame has been detected, further mechanisms can be purposefully applied.
Step 2: Accelerate
Cut-through switching technology allows the frames to be accelerated through the switch. Unlike the wide-spread "store and forward" technology of the past, in this case it is not necessary for the complete frame to enter the switch's memory. Instead, once automation frames have been recognized as such, they are forwarded to the appropriate output port immediately.
Step 3: Overtake
Detected automation frames are always given preference on their journey. This mechanism ensures that IT frames always have to yield the right of way to automation frames. This even works if an IT frame has already seized an output port that an automation frame that has just arrived would like to use. In this case, the IT frame is ended in a controlled manner. After the automation frame has been sent, the IT frame, which has been waiting in memory, is sent again.
These mechanisms guarantee the necessary determinism and performance that automation technology demands. As Fast Track Switching is also protocol-neutral, it can play its role in all market relevant Ethernet systems. Moreover, vendor neutral, flexible and cost-optimized installations are possible due to the fact that the switch, as a network component, solves the performance and determinism problems according to the Fast Track Switching concept.
The Fast Track Switching flyer, available for download on this page, provides a more detailed description of the technology.