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1st Published,  Mar. 2004
Updated, Dec. 2006

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Giga and Peer to Peer Home Networks.

At the moment Giga is of Value while installed in Busy Networks that run server software and high level hardware that is already tuned to use Giga efficiently.

Giga benefits the Network at level of the communication between the servers and main Nodes (a lot of this traffic is actually fed into Fiber conduits).

When using Giga with regular Desktop OS, and as part as a small Home/SOHO Network, the 1000% improvement that you would expect, results in 25% improvement at best.

By next year (hopefully) desktop OSs will be "Tuned" for Giga and entry level system would be capable to benefit more from the Giga Hardware.

However if you are not stressed by the extra expense it is a very "Cool", Geek "Social Advantage" to be able to say: "Hey, I have Gigabit Network".

"Boring" Technical Notes:

Giga means that the Internal Clock is running 1000MHz. Trying to attribute it to "Speed of Transfer" is a Marketing thing.


Current Giga NICs are highly dependent on the OS and the System that is used.  Nowhere in the real world it is even close to 1000% (x10) improvement.


Under "normal situation" between two home computers on a peer to peer Network. The gain of "Speed" might be only 25% to 50% (x .25 to .50)

I.e. if your system is 100Mb/sec. and yields 10MB/sec. transfer, by replacing the NIC with Giga NICs and the Switch with Giga Switch the Network will probably yield 12.5MB/sec. to 15MB/sec. (if your hardware is fast).


If one of the computers have a Real Server OS, like Windows 2003. The "Speed" from Server to client might improve by 150% i.e. you will get 25MB/sec. (x2.5)


If you install Giga on Double Xenon Computers with fast SCSI RAID, and Server Software you might get 400% (x4) improvement.

In order to Fully benefit from Giga it is necessary to use Jumbo frames.

Jumbo Frames needs an MTU of 9000 (the typical MTU used now in broadband connection is 1500).

Regular Desktop OS is not tuned for such a size of MTU, and most of the Entry Level Switches that are sold as Giga can not support Jumbo Frames.


In other words, the current state of Giga for regular Home systems is mainly an attempt to make some money by catering to wishful thinking.
 
If you are engage in major File transfer or frequent over the Network BackUps it might be worth your while, other wise you are paying for being Cool rather than for technology.


Unless you are doing something specific that can work better by having more bandwidth, you would be better of waiting for desktops computer that can take advantage of Giga  Network components.


Most of the numbers in this page are approximation for demonstration purposes. YMMV.


Note: 1GHz = 1000MHz.

1000Mb/sec. (b=bit) is 125MB/sec. (B=Byte)

1Byte = 8bits.  To indicate Bytes you use Capital B.


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