Layer-2 Forwarding Methods:
Switches support three methods of forwarding frames. Each method copies
all or part of the frame into memory, providing different levels of latency
and reliability. Latency is delay – less latency results in quicker forwarding.
The Store-and-Forward method copies the entire frame into memory, and
performs a Cycle Redundancy Check (CRC) to completely ensure the
integrity of the frame. However, this level of error-checking introduces the
highest latency of any of the switching methods.
The Cut-Through (Real Time) method copies only enough of a frame’s
header to determine its destination address. This is generally the first 6 bytes
following the preamble. This method allows frames to be transferred at wire
speed, and has the least latency of any of the three methods. No error
checking is attempted when using the cut-through method.
The Fragment-Free (Modified Cut-Through) method copies only the first
64 bytes of a frame for error-checking purposes. Most collisions or
corruption occur in the first 64 bytes of a frame. Fragment-Free represents a
compromise between reliability (store-and-forward) and speed (cut-through).