Local area networks (LANs) provide a popular, cost effective way of interconnecting many computers in enclosed areas. The backbone of the LAN is a wiring system that provides a physical transmission medium for interconnecting the computing resources. LAN switches are used to provide data communication between LAN segments connected to multiple ports of the LAN switch. The overall performance and bandwidth of LANs are improved when interconnected by LAN switches. An LAN switch has ports for LAN interfaces which connect individually to separate LAN's. Each switch port is connected to a LAN segment or a single workstation. A "LAN segment" may be defined as a group of nodes where all nodes utilize the same Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model physical layer. The port adapter card receives LAN frames from its associated port and forwards them to the switching fabric for delivery to stations identified in the frames. The port adapter card also receives LAN frames, from other ports, from the switching fabric and delivers them to the associated port. A packet which is present on a first LAN, is read by the switch, and the switch determines from the destination address of the packet, whether the packet should be transmitted to a second LAN. The LAN switch reads the destination address, and through the use of a look-up table in the memory, determines if the destination address is in the first or second LAN. Typically, the LAN switch receives data from a node in one LAN segment and passes such data to another LAN segment which contains a destination node. LAN switches may be classified into two types, namely: low cost dedicated LAN switches and higher cost shared media LAN switches. The dedicated LAN switches typically support one/or a very limited number of stations connected to each port.
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