Using High-bandwidth Network Systems

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For client/server systems, hardware that supports high network bandwidth is as important as I/O capacity. The speed of the network often becomes a bottleneck for performance when many users are making demands on the network simultaneously.

Inexpensive 1000 BASE-T ethernet equipment is common today, but this technology is bare minimum for LAN configuration. It is recommended to use at least 100 Base-T for a high-performance network. The following graph illustrates relative bandwidth rates for various network interface technology.

The maximum bandwidth of gigabit ethernet extends beyond the scale of the graph above.

At the time of this writing, most gigabit ethernet network interface cards (NICs) provide only 600 to 700Mbps bandwidth. Switches, routers, and repeaters also have constrained capacity. It is expected that the state of this technology will continue to improve.

It is recommended that you research reviews and experiment to learn the true throughput of all network hardware in your environment. The slowest component ultimately determines the true throughput.

Tip: Network cables develop flaws surprisingly frequently. The result can be sporadic lost packets, for which operating systems compensate by automatically resending packets. This translates into mysterious network performance degradation. You should test network cables regularly. Replacing flawed cables is a low-cost way to keep your network running at peak efficiency.

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