|Data link layer||Ethernet||Token Ring||FDDI||...|
FDDI rings are normally constructed in the form of a "dual ring of trees" (see network topology). A small number of devices, typically infrastructure devices such as routers and concentrators rather than host computers, are connected to both rings - these are referred to as "dual-attached". Host computers are then connected as single-attached devices to the routers or concentrators. The dual ring in its most degenerate form is simply collapsed into a single device. The whole dual ring is typically contained within a computer room although FDDI was also deployed as a Metropolitan area network as well.
This network topology is required because the dual ring actually passes through each connected device and requires each such device to remain continuously operational (the standard actually allows for optical bypasses but these are considered to be unreliable and error-prone). Devices such as workstations and minicomputers that may not be under the control of the network managers are not suitable for connection to the dual ring.
As an alternative to a dual-attached connection, the same degree of resilience is available to a workstation through a dual-homed connection which is made simultaneously to two separate devices in the same FDDI ring. One of the connections becomes active while the other one is automatically blocked. If the first connection fails, the backup link takes over with no perceptible delay.
The four standards are:
FDDI-2, a second-generation FDDI network, also supports voice and video.