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Auto negotiation in IEEE 802.3 based layer 2 devices: A review

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  1. Introduction
  2. The auto-negotiation standard
  3. The arbitration control
  4. Recent developments
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

Auto Negotiation is an optional yet one of the standard Plug and Play features available in almost all modern day IEEE 802.3u (Fast Ethernet) and as a mandatory feature in IEEE 802.3ab Gigabit Ethernet compliant devices. Today's Fast Ethernet devices support multiple operational modes. The Auto Negotiation protocol enables any two such devices to negotiate upon the best possible operational mode automatically. Along with an overview of the architecture and working of the Auto Negotiation arbitration protocol, typical scenarios as well as certain precautions to be taken are discussed in this paper. Applicability of this standard to fiber optic based systems, Gigabit Ethernet and IEEE 802.11 wireless networks is also discussed. Keywords: Auto Negotiation, Auto Sensing, NWay, Parallel Detection, FLP, NLP, LCW

[...] LCW is a 16 bit entity containing the necessary management information that is exchanged during Auto Negotiation process. This information is represented as data pulses and encoded within FLP as shown in the fig. LCW bits directly map to the data pulses in FLP. LCW is also called as Page or FLP Burst. During Auto Negotiation a series of such LCW are transmitted by the devices supporting Auto Negotiation through FLP. The embedding of LCW in FLP is as shown in Fig FLP is just a train of NLP pulses. [...]

[...] CONCLUSION Auto Negotiation is a very useful plug and play feature for twisted pair copper based IEEE 802.3 layer two devices. It enables the link partners to negotiate their capabilities thus mitigating the risk involved in possible incompatibility of speeds and modes of operation. Moreover it makes upgrade to higher speeds/modes very easy because of plug and play nature. Also the negotiation is based upon the best possible performance and hence bandwidth efficiency is also preserved. This negotiation is automatic thus eliminating the need for manual intervention in the negotiation [...]

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