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A high-performance parallel interface (HIPPI) is a type of communication bus used to attach different devices to local area networks (LAN) at high speed so that they function as if they are all part of a single supercomputer. HIPPI uses a point-to-point protocol for the transmission of large amounts of data at speeds of up to 1 billion bits per second over short distances. HIPPI was widely used in the late '80s and '90s, but has since been replaced with faster interface standards like SCSI and fiber channel.
The original HIPPI standard specified 800 Mbps data transfer rates over a 32-bit data bus, or double that on a 64-bit bus. It also specified the use of a cable with 50 twisted pair copper wires and a maximum distance limit of 25 meters. Full duplex is achieved by using two channels. Data is sent as bursts of 1,024 or 2,048 bytes in a unidirectional channel. One of the highlights of the HIPPI network is that it makes use of a switch allowing data to be forwarded with little processing involved. There is error detection, but the correction is done by a higher protocol level so that encapsulated HIPPI packets can be sent over ATM or fiber channel networks.