Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gigabit Ethernet ....Business Solution For Increased Network Performance

In a scenario all too familiar to network managers, users begin complaining of slower response times. Network management tools indicate that a high-transaction server is hogging bandwidth in a shared domain or that server CPU utilization is not optimal – classic bottleneck symptoms. What’s the best solution? More and more often, IT managers are turning to Gigabit Ethernet technology.

When Gigabit Ethernet was standardized for fiber optic cabling in the late 1990s, IT managers began to see the benefits of Gigabit speeds applied to the network backbone and in the data center. Today, with Gigabit over copper, 1000Mbps connectivity is being deployed even more widely – including switch stacks, servers and desktops – using the cabling that is already in place in most buildings.

IT managers have found that Ethernet is simple, easy to use and readily upgradeable. An organization can scale from 10 to 100 or 1000Mbps Ethernet, either network-wide or a segment at a time, knowing that the new equipment will be backwards compatible with legacy equipment. This reduces the infrastructure investment that an organization must make. Ethernet is also a reliable technology. Experience shows that it can be deployed with confidence for mission-critical applications.

A prime reason for the success of Ethernet is the fact that Ethernet standards, over 25 years old, have progressed along with networking requirements. This progression of standards provides a clear and straightforward migration path for companies as their bandwidth requirements increase.

In general, upgrading to Gigabit Ethernet over copper is ideal even when budgets are tight, because it increases performance by building on a company’s current investment in cabling. Typically, the network infrastructure simply adjusts to this higher speed. No technician re-training is needed, and any disruption to the network is usually minimal. What’s more, Gigabit over copper is the most economical cabling choice in terms of cost per Mbps.

Gigabit Ethernet is also a good choice because it supports Quality of Service (QoS) methods that are increasingly important for avoiding latency problems as voice, video and data share the cable for Next-Generation Networking (NGN) applications. Like Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet supports existing traffic management techniques that deliver Quality of Service over Ethernet, such as IEEE 802.1p traffic prioritization and Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS).

Benefits of Gigabit

Gigabit Ethernet is 100 times faster than regular 10Mbps Ethernet and 10 times faster than 100Mbps Fast Ethernet. The principal benefits of Gigabit Ethernet include:

* Increased bandwidth for higher performance and elimination of bottlenecks

* Full-duplex capacity, allowing the effective bandwidth to be virtually doubled

* Aggregating bandwidth to multi-Gigabit speeds using Gigabit server adapters and switches

* Quality of Service (QoS) features to help eliminate jittery video or distorted audio

* Low cost of acquisition and ownership

* Full compatibility with the large installed base of Ethernet and Fast Ethernet nodes

* Transferring large amounts of data across a network quickly

Deployment of bandwidth-hungry applications, more powerful processors and increasingly powerful operating systems are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, requiring faster network connections. Just as networking has historically moved to higher-speed connections in stages, individual networks also proceed from early to mainstream adoption.

First, network managers must think through the network environment to identify the power users/segments of their network that would need highperformance connections first. These users or segments are often retrofitted with Gigabit connections without waiting for the normal cycle of PC replacement.

Network managers then begin purchasing Gigabit-enabled systems for other segments in the organization. The most cost-effective method is to order new PCs equipped with triple-speed 10/100/1000Mbps connections to prepare these desktops for the coming increases in bandwidth requirements. Organizations want to avoid being “blind-sided” by the new wave of next generation applications.

To help you navigate the network design issues....and obtain bandwidth rate quotes from multiple providers available in/at your install locations...I strongly suggest using this free service: Gigabit Ethernet


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