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Tip of the Day
Language: Web Development
Expertise: Beginner
Mar 18, 1997

LAN performance

Question:
I have many workgroups in my enterprise with different demands on the LAN. How can I improve the performance on my LAN without spending too much money?

Answer:
Ethernet allows users to share 10 Mbps of bandwidth. Although 100 Mbps Ethernet is emerging as a popular choice, the vast majority of installations continue to run 10 Mbps.

If your organization has many workgroups and you would like to see enhanced performance, Switched Ethernet is your answer. A typical Ethernet switch may provide, say, eight channels, with each port having its own 10 Mbps segment. Therefore, you can dedicate one or more 10 Mbps ports to your server(s) and connect each of your workgroups to the available switched ports. In order to do this, you would connect Ethernet hubs to each of the switched ports and connect the workgroup users to the hubs. Ethernet switching ensures that any intra-workgroup traffic remains within the group and thereby does not affect traffic on other switched segments.

A very inexpensive way to improve efficiency is to install multiple Ethernet adapters in your server.

Consider the following example:

A Novell 4.1 server with 100 users; there are primarily three distinct departments -- one of them needs heavy bandwidth because they transfer huge files on a regular basis to and from the server; the other two use the network on a low to moderate basis with occasional high-volume file transfers. We also have a bank of modems that allow users to dial in to the network.

Consider the following solution:

Install four Ethernet adapters in the server. Connect workgroup hubs to each of these adapters and segregate the traffic.

The high volume, high frequency transfers from one group will not affect users on the other nodes. Also, when users dial in to network, their traffic is localized on their own 10 Mbps segment. Although the bottleneck has shifted to the server, overall performance will be enhanced as Ethernet utilization on each of the segments will be lower than before. This means fewer re-transmission and timeouts, thereby translating to benefits in performance.

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