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kylejwx

Understanding Fast Ethernet vs Gigabit Ethernet

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kylejwx

Hey guys, this is a bit of an enterprise question, but I bet a bunch of you will have some answers. I am trying to understand how much it is impacting our network that many of our endpoints (desktop PCs) are still running at 100 Mbps instead of 1000 Mbps. (The reason for this is that our IP phones sit between each PC and the Ethernet jack in the wall and the phones are limited to 100 Mbps.) 

 

For example, we have an MDT server that we use to deploy Windows images. It has 1 Gigabit NIC and is connected to a Gigabit switch. When a lot of Windows images are being deployed, the server will use almost 100% of its 1000 Mbps. This actually consumes almost all the bandwidth on the switch so we had to limit that port on the switch to about 800 Mbps so that other users on the network could keep functioning. So anyways, if I have 10 PCs running at 100 Mbps each, I'm using up all the bandwidth that the server can spit out, right? So is there really any benefit of upgrading each PC to 1000 Mbps?

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nrf

You seem to have the math figured out. If one server is able to create so much havoc you may have some topology issues 'inside the walls'...

 

 

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schoondoggy

How big are the images? What does your switching structure look like, brand and models? If the server is saturating its NIC you could tried adding a Gigabit NIC to the server and try team the NIC's. Although, one saturated Gigabit port should not drag down your whole network.

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kylejwx

I think the images are around 6 or 7 GB, basically just Windows 10 and Office 2016. The switching structure is a variety of different models that have been stuck together over the years. This is a school district with about 11 different buildings, which are connected via some sort of fiber. I'm actually not the network guy, so I am not really sure on all the details, just trying to learn. I know we have some Extreme Networks switches and some newer HP switches.

 

Overall, the issue of the Windows deployment is just one example (and the speed isn't that important since it happens during the summer when teachers and students are not around). I'm really just wondering about the overall impact of all our endpoints having 100 Mbps connections. One theory says that since we have so many devices, the network can't pass more than 100 Mbps to one individual device so it doesn't matter. The contrasting theory says that if all the endpoints were 1000 Mbps, each request/data transfer across the network would complete faster so that the network could move on to the next request sooner. 

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schoondoggy

Both theories could be real.

Have you done any speed testing from an endpoint to a server? It would be good to confirm you are getting 100Mb/s or 12MB/s. In many office environments using 100Mb Ethernet I have run into an issue with auto negotiation, it defaults to the slowest connection, 10Mb half duplex. You should confirm that you are running full duplex on the 100Mb connections.

When users complain about the speed of your network, it is a good idea to quantify what they are unhappy with. Webpages loading, email send/receive, file services, enterprise applications, your networking team should be looking for bottlenecks in the network. Some network tools can show user load over time. 

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nrf

in general the endpoint/pc speed in this case is more like a question of delay 'because of lack of thruput' because the delay at the ends may cause congestion in the middle. given a whole school is involved cost could be an issue. a reasonable approach would be to start by understanding the actual 'pain points' rather than looking at it from a pure technology point of view.

Edited by nrf

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Poppapete

How smart is the switch? If it has QOS settings I would play with them to see what is happening!

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