Worth upgrade to 100Mbs Switch ?

Discussion in 'Home Networking' started by Richard Ward, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. Richard Ward

    Richard Ward Guest

    Our local school runs a 17 PC Peer-Peer Newtwork through a 10Mbs hub. All
    PC's are low spec (P266mhz etc)
    Our headmster has been told to upgrade the hub as this will increase network
    speed .

    1) Do you think its worth the money. (Yes even £100 is a lot from school
    budget)
    2) Would NIC in each PC need to be changed to 100Mbs (more ££'s)?

    tia for any advice

    I personally think the money could be spent on a new pc.
     
    Richard Ward, Jul 21, 2003
    #1
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  2. Richard Ward

    Rob Morley Guest

    It depends very much on the usage patterns of the network, and what they
    hope to achieve by upgrading the hub. If there's a lot of traffic
    evenly spread across the network then a switch will help, but if a lot
    of the traffic is going to a file or application server, web proxy or
    whatever then the bottleneck will still exist. Duplex operation will
    help some, but not necessarily very much. Has anyone analysed the
    network traffic before coming to this conclusion? Or inventoried the
    existing network cards? It's unlikely that many, if any, are 100Mbps -
    if the "busy" machines have flow-control 100Mbps NICs then an
    autosensing store-and-forward switch with flow control should further
    improve performance, but as I said it does depend on the pattern of use.
     
    Rob Morley, Jul 22, 2003
    #2
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  3. Richard Ward

    Mike Scott Guest

    I've just ugraded my home network (2 w*ws boxes, one freebsd) from 10
    to 100Mb. Frankly, the improvement was disappointing; I regularly do
    dumps across this network, and the speed has improved only by perhaps
    50% -- I think because of slow w*ws file access, plus cpu limits for
    compressing the data. On the other hand, I used to run a network of
    diskless Sun w/stations some years ago actually swapping across a 10Mb
    network -- it just about worked -- and the company's entire network of
    perhaps 500 machines worked on a 10Mb lan, segmented by bridges to
    localise traffic where possible; it worked, even though we were very
    heavily into nfs.

    Also, (and this may be a either a problem or a solution!), don't
    forget that a switch will prevent any machine monitoring network
    traffic between others on the network, which is allowed by a hub.

    As already said, you need to check your requirements (now and future)
    carefully before stretching any budget.

    Btw, you can buy an 8-port switch for £25 inc vat, and network cards
    for a fiver (no frills like WOL, but I assume that needn't be a
    problem)
     
    Mike Scott, Jul 22, 2003
    #3
  4. Richard Ward

    Mike Yates Guest

    No, no, no!!

    My wife's school is in exactly the same situation.
    You may have no choice when the LEA start making more and more stringent
    support conditions.
    Cynically, I think its similar to the total Microsoft monopoly being
    imposed by DFES after they took a £2m cash bribe from Mr Gates himself -
    remember him coming grinning out of Downing Street 3 years ago?

    Think about the bottlenecks. Even if you've got (or will get) a 2Mb/s
    broadband link, that's only 1/5 the speed of your existing 10Mb/s
    ethernet. Round here they're proposing groups of 4-6 primary schools
    sharing each 2Mb/s link. BT's ADSL suffers from over-sharing itself, so
    you're unlikely to get your full 2Mb/s or anywhere near it, except at
    02:00 am!

    Even if your 17PCs are mostly using a few popular websites which reside
    in your local server's cache, access to the disc to read the cache is
    unlikely to exceed 50Mb/s within the fastest small servers and thats for
    big files, not the thousands of little graphic buttons you need for
    webpages.

    100Mb/s switches do give an improvement, but for 17PCs on a small server
    (I mean single 2GHz processor, single hard disc) it will be much more
    like a 50% improvement, for internal work only, than a tenfold increase.
    More like a 5% improvement in Internet speed.

    I wonder how the LEAs really justify their pressure for this
    expenditure, or have they been duped too?

    There are only three computer viruses which are known to infect humans:
    the first is called "Cynicism" the second "Altzheimers" and I can't
    remember for the life of me what the third is called....
     
    Mike Yates, Jul 22, 2003
    #4
  5. What is the problem you are trying to solve?
    It's not worth spending any money on an upgrade to the hub unless
    a) you actually have some identified problem,
    b) the cause of which is the hub,
    c) nothing else would also need upgrading to solve it,
    d) it's the most pressing problem which is solvable given the
    available resources.

    You need to satisfy these points first.
     
    Andrew Gabriel, Jul 23, 2003
    #5
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