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This paper serves as an introduction to a wholly new IBM data processing interconnection system called Enterprise Systems Connection (ESCON™) Architecture™. Utilizing state-of-the-art fiber optic technology, the ESCON system introduces a unique concept to computer interconnection topology, the dynamic switched point-to-point connection. A comprehensive solution to the interconnection of data processing equipment and systems, the ESCON system offers superior connectivity, bandwidth, distance, and ease of installation. The ESCON architecture is directed toward the structuring of large dispersed multisystem data processing centers with campus distributed user communities, but it is equally well suited to the needs of small processing configurations. The paper first reviews the objectives of the ESCON development and then gives a more detailed discussion of the system design alternatives and choices which were made. Topics discussed are the fiber optic technology, the interconnection topology, the ESCON architecture, and the design of the major system elements.
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