Faculty Advisor

Professor David Cyganski

Faculty Advisor

Professor Nathaniel Whitmal

Faculty Advisor

Professor John A. Orr


The world of computers experienced an explosive period of growth toward the end of the 20th century with the widespread availability of the Internet and the development of the World Wide Web. As people began using computer networks for everything from research and communication to banking and commerce, network failures became a greater concern because of the potential to interrupt critical applications. Fault tolerance systems were developed to detect and correct network failures within minutes and eventually within seconds of the failure, but time-critical applications such as military communications, video conferencing, and Web-based sales require better response time than any previous systems could provide. The goal of this thesis was the development and implementation of a Network Fault Tolerance (NFT) system that can detect and recover from failures of network interface cards, network cables, switches, and routers in much less than one second from the time of failure. The problem was divided into two parts: fault tolerance within a single local area network (LAN), and fault tolerance across many local area networks. The first part involves the network interface cards, network cables, and switches within a LAN, which the second part involves the routers that connect LANs into larger internetworks. Both parts of the NFT solution were implemented on Windows NT 4.0 PC's connected by a switched Fast Ethernet network. The NFT system was found to correct system failures within 300 milliseconds of the failure.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Electrical & Computer Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





switch, network fault tolerance, fault tolerance, Fault-tolerant computing, Local area networks (Computer networks), Computer networks, Failures