Why your office needs a gigabit network

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Why your office needs a gigabit network

Good afternoon all,

If you own a business that shares files between computers, chances are you were recommended to make your network gigabit at some point. Its one of the first things that IT consultants will recommend, and rightfully so. Here’s some background info on why every IT professional recommends a gigabit network.

Gigabit (Gb) vs Gigabyte (GB) vs Megabit (Mb) vs Megabyte (MB) :

This comes down to computer basics. There are 8 bits in 1 byte. There are 1000 megabits in 1 gigabit, just like the metric system. Most of what you see is measured in bytes. When you buy a new harddrive, it is advertised as 500 GB or gigabytes. Measured in bits, this would be 4000 Gb or gigabits. Megabits/bytes are just smaller, but follow the same principle. When you download something, you’ll often see internet explorer say that you’re downloading it at 1.5MB/s, or Megabytes per second. This equals 12 megabits per second, or Mbps. This is the same reason that ISPs advertise their Megabit speed (its bigger).

Now, lets discuss how this affects your network. If you have a 100Mb (megabit) network, the maximum throughput on your network is going to be ~12.5MB/s. This means that if you have 12 people sharing documents on the network, they will start to experience slowdown quickly. As an example, I have multiple word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in my documents folder (which is on a server) that are well over 1MB each. Some of which are over 5MB. If there are 3 people sharing 5MB files, they will being to wait more than a second, or even multiple seconds, to access the files.

Now, extrapolate the above over a full day of work, add 5, 10, or 15 or so people, consider the fact that they are multitasking, sending and receiving emails,and are most likely on the internet for one reason or another. Do you start to see how 100Mb, or 12.5MB, simply won’t cut it? The traffic in your office can get slowed down just as it does on your commute. Using a 100Mbps switch is like that 1 lane state highway that makes you late to work every morning. Wouldn’t you like to use a 10 lane expressway?

That analogy is accurate. A gigabit switch (usually called 10/100/1000)  is exactly ten times faster than a 100 megabit switch (10/100). Instead of 12.5MB/s total bandwith, you have 125MB/s. Downloads, uploads, file transfers, even printing… everything is faster. When things are faster, your employees are happier. They’re more productive. They put in less support tickets. Everything improves. There is zero downside to them. The increased productivity they bring more than pays for the upfront cost of the switch(es).

Traffic is bad enough to and from work. Improve the traffic at work. Being on a gigabit network should be one of your highest priorities at your business.