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OSI Model TCP/IP Model

Physical Layer

Digital Transmission Analog Transmission Transmission Media Switching

Data Link Layer

Error detection and Error correction Data Link Control Multiple Access Aloha

Network Layer

Network Layer - Logical Address Address Mapping Unicast Routing Protocol

Transport Layer

Process to Process Delivery User Datagram Protocol Transmission Control Protocol Stream Control Transmission Protocol Session Layer and Presentation Layer

Application Layer

Domain Name System Application Protocol E-mail Cryptography


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Source Routing Bridge in Computer Networks

A Source Routing Bridge (SRB) is a type of network bridge that uses source routing to forward data packets between different network segments. In an SRB network, each data packet contains the complete path that it should follow to reach its destination. This path is determined by the sender and is included in the packet header.

When a packet arrives at an SRB bridge, the bridge reads the path information from the packet header and uses this information to forward the packet to the next hop in the path. The bridge does not need to make any routing decisions of its own, as the complete path is already specified in the packet.

SRB was commonly used in IBM Token Ring networks as a way to provide deterministic routing and improve network performance. However, it has largely been superseded by other routing protocols, such as the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) and the Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP), which are now widely used in modern Ethernet networks.

Advantages of Source Routing Bridge

Source Routing Bridge (SRB) has several advantages over other routing protocols, including:

  • Deterministic Routing: SRB allows for deterministic routing, which means that the path a packet takes through the network is predetermined and does not depend on the routing decisions of the intermediate nodes. This can improve network performance and reduce packet loss.
  • Flexibility: SRB allows for a high degree of flexibility in network design, as the path a packet takes can be controlled by the sender. This can be useful in situations where certain paths need to be avoided or where traffic needs to be routed through specific nodes.
  • Reduced Overhead: Because the complete path is included in each packet, SRB can reduce the overhead associated with maintaining routing tables and making routing decisions at each hop.
  • Security: SRB can provide a higher level of security than other routing protocols, as the path a packet takes can be controlled by the sender and cannot be easily changed by a malicious node.

Disadvantages of Source Routing Bridge

While Source Routing Bridge (SRB) has several advantages, it also has some significant disadvantages, including:

  • Complexity: SRB is a complex routing protocol that requires significant configuration and management. It also requires specialized hardware and software, which can be expensive.
  • Limited Scalability: SRB is not as scalable as other routing protocols, as it relies on the complete path being included in each packet. This can result in increased overhead and reduced network performance as the network size grows.
  • Single Point of Failure: Because the complete path is included in each packet, SRB relies heavily on the correct functioning of the sender. If the sender fails or is compromised, the entire network can be affected.
  • Lack of Flexibility: While SRB can be flexible in terms of allowing the sender to control the path of each packet, it can also be inflexible in terms of adapting to changes in the network. Any changes to the network topology require the sender to update the path information in each packet, which can be time-consuming and error-prone.
  • Vendor-Specific: SRB is a proprietary routing protocol developed by IBM for use in Token Ring networks. This means that it may not be compatible with other network hardware or software, and may require specialized knowledge to configure and manage.

Overall, while SRB can be useful in certain network environments, it has several significant disadvantages that have limited its adoption in modern network architectures.

Applications of Source Routing Bridge

  • Source Routing Bridge (SRB) was primarily used in IBM Token Ring networks as a way to provide deterministic routing and improve network performance. Some specific applications of SRB in Token Ring networks included:
  • High-performance computing: SRB was used in high-performance computing environments, such as scientific research labs, where deterministic routing was important for ensuring that data was transmitted quickly and reliably.
  • Real-time applications: SRB was also used in real-time applications, such as video conferencing and telephony, where latency and packet loss could have a significant impact on the quality of the user experience.
  • Mission-critical applications: SRB was used in mission-critical applications, such as financial trading systems and air traffic control systems, where the reliability and security of the network were paramount. While SRB is no longer widely used in modern network architectures, its legacy can still be seen in some Token Ring networks that are still in use today. Additionally, some of the concepts and principles behind SRB have been incorporated into other routing protocols, such as the Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) protocol, which is used in modern Ethernet networks.

In conclusion, Source Routing Bridge (SRB) was a legacy routing protocol developed by IBM for use in Token Ring networks. While it provided several advantages, such as deterministic routing, flexibility, and security, it also had significant disadvantages, such as complexity, limited scalability, and a lack of compatibility with other network hardware and software.