Fiber Channel Over Ethernet

What Does Fiber Channel Over Ethernet Mean?

Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) is a protocol that encapsulates Fiber Channel (FC) frames over Ethernet networks. FCoE relies on storage area network (SAN) mapping without Ethernet forwarding dependence for robust and reliable SAN performance.


FCoE utilizes 10 gigabit (Gb) Ethernet networks and fully adheres with FC protocol requirements. FCoE links to networks via converged FC host bus adapters and/or Ethernet network interface cards (NIC). FCoE provides FC-2 layer transfer for upper FC-3 and FC-4 layer transmission and replaces FC0 and FC1 Ethernet stack layers. FCoE does not function in routed Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

Many storage and network vendors support FCoE, which is a standard component of the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) T11 FC-BB-5.

Techopedia Explains Fiber Channel Over Ethernet

FC is a dominant storage solution that delivers viable input/output (I/O) consolidation and maintains FC security, latency and traffic management. FCoE deploys easily, depending on organization and product requirements.

The three key FCoE components are as follows:

Native FC encapsulation into Ethernet frames
FC replacement of lossless Ethernet media access control (MAC) addresses
Ethernet extensions, which enable lossless fabric

FCoE features are as follows:

Operates in the network protocol stack
Requires Ethernet standard enhancements for flow control support
Ethernet bypasses industry consolidation protocols
One time only Ethernet wiring
Enables FC network device frame transmission at data transfer rates (DTR) of over 10 gigabits per second (gbps)
Simplifies user engagement
Integrates FC network and management software

FCoE requires the following FC extensions:

FC encapsulation into Ethernet frames
FC N_port identification and Ethernet MAC address mapping
Ethernet extensions for lossless Ethernet fabric during congestion


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…