Do you need 10 Gigabit Ethernet?

Although the original standard was published in 2002, it’s only more recently that 10 Gigabit Ethernet has started to gain traction. As the name suggests, the networking standard is 10 times faster than the current ubiquitous Gigabit Ethernet standard. But, do you really need these speeds, and what hardware do you need to get it working reliably?

Not for clients

The truth is that, a few specialist cases aside, such as high-end graphics development, your average desktop computer doesn’t need a 10Gbit/s connection. In fact, many computers would struggle to use the full bandwidth, which comes in at a quick 1,250-megabytes per second (MB/s). Currently, Gigabit Ethernet (1Gbit/s or 125MB/s) is more than fast enough for any application.

That doesn’t mean that 10 Gigabit Ethernet is pointless. In fact, it’s going to become an increasing requirement for modern businesses. Thanks to higher internet speeds, more cloud services, and more intensive applications running on servers, computers are starting to use a lot more data.

With everything running at 1Gbit/s, bottlenecks can soon develop. For example, in a business network where there are 10 computers all trying to talk to a server cluster, they have to share the bandwidth, effectively giving each computer a throughput of 100Mbit/s. Up that to 100 computers, and each is only getting 10Mbit/s. Suddenly, Gigabit Ethernet doesn’t seem so fast, and 10Gbit Ethernet starts to look like a winner.

Faster backbones

One of the main uses for 10 Gigabit Ethernet is as a backbone to your business. Several clients may be connected via Gigabit Ethernet to a switch, but the data connection to your server room could be upgraded to 10 Gigabit Ethernet. This relieves pressure and speeds up access to critical services around your company.

Installing 10 Gigabit Ethernet in the right locations, then, can work to alleviate bottlenecks and give a perceived speed boost to your computers. It’s sensible to monitor your network and work out where crunch points are, so that you can plan where to install 10 Gigabit Ethernet. >>Read more


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