Corporate America Implementing New Gigabit Ethernet Strategies.The network architect had put together an enterprise information and communication infrastructure with plenty of headroom to accommodate corporate requirements to run robust and complex voice, data and video traffic on a single network. She had integrated a broadband wireless See wireless broadband. network that allows her company's increasingly mobile workforce to access enterprise resources.
She had determined that the enterprise would need to support at least Gigabit Ethernet An Ethernet standard that transmits at 1 Gbps. Used mostly to connect high-end workstations and servers as well as for network backbones, Gigabit Ethernet transmits full duplex from point to point using switches and half duplex in a shared environment (CSMA/CD) using a hub. (Gig E--1,000 Mbps) speeds to keep the network humming. More importantly, she sold it up the line and had the support of Finance. The company would get a return on investment within two years. Everything was going according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. plan ... until she was asked to find the least expensive physical network components. She balked balk
v. balked, balk·ing, balks
1. To stop short and refuse to go on: The horse balked at the jump.
2. . She made her best case for a state-of-the-art passive infrastructure--the cables and connectors that course through data closets, over dropped ceilings and under raised floors. But push came to shove, and yesteryear's technology was deployed. She knew the company would come to regret the decision. And she would be right ...
Enterprises spend millions of dollars designing, purchasing and implementing network technology. A modest portion of this expense is for the cabling that interconnects all equipment, and over which all networked traffic flows.
In a typical new network build, cabling and connectors will account for about 15 percent of the total network hardware and installation, points out Mark Ricca, a vice president with IT and telecommunications consulting firm Noun 1. consulting firm - a firm of experts providing professional advice to an organization for a fee
business firm, firm, house - the members of a business organization that owns or operates one or more establishments; "he worked for a , InfoTech Consulting, (Parsippany, N.J.). But what too many managers and executives fail to remember is that cabling tends to outlast out·last
tr.v. out·last·ed, out·last·ing, out·lasts
To last longer than.
to last longer than
Verb 1. the hardware that it interconnects--by several multiples.
"When properly specified, cabling typically remains functional for two to three times as long as network equipment," says Ricca.
As with active network devices and computers, cabling obsolescence ob·so·les·cent
1. Being in the process of passing out of use or usefulness; becoming obsolete.
2. Biology Gradually disappearing; imperfectly or only slightly developed. typically is not a matter of declining performance, but rather a function of new requirements exceeding old capacities. For cabling, that capacity is bandwidth. With cabling--even the twisted-pair cabling used in the last 100 meters of most network connections--currently available products can be purchased with bandwidth ratings in excess of the current requirements.
Though cables look alike to the uninitiated, cabling designs and performances vary markedly. This is true even of cables from different manufacturers that are designed to meet the same industry standard. The governing standards body in this context is the Telecommunications Industries Association/Electronics Industries Association (TIA/EIA), which has published the Category 5e standard for high-speed premises networks. The TINEIA Category 5e standard was developed by TINEIA in harmony with the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, New York, www.ieee.org) A membership organization that includes engineers, scientists and students in electronics and allied fields. 802.3 committee responsible for the 1000BASF-T Ethernet standard. It incorporates several new transmission parameters required to support full duplex (Computers) arranged so that the information may be transmitted in both directions simultaneously; - of communications channels between computers; contrasted with
(2) (International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland, www.iso.ch) An organization that sets international standards, founded in 1946. The U.S. member body is ANSI. ) are also hard at work developing the next generation standard, Category 6.
How vendors describe their adherence to standards can be confusing. Manufacturers may list the same "typical" or "average" performance values, explains Jeff Craig, national market manager/enterprise market at Graybar (www.graybar.com), a St. Louis, Mo.-based international distributor of networking products and cabling. But unless a company buying equipment has some way of knowing how the various components they are implementing will work together, complying with the standards does not guarantee the desired performance.
"Performance must be measured and compared in the context of an installed system," points out Paul Kish, chair of the TINEIA TR-42 engineering committee on user premises telecommunications infrastructure, and director of IBDN IbDN Internet-Based Distributed Navigation
IBDN Integrated Building Distribution Network (US West) systems and standards with Montreal-based cable and connector firm NORDX/CDT (www.nordx.com). System testing (testing) system testing - (Or "application testing") A type of testing to confirm that all code modules work as specified, and that the system as a whole performs adequately on the platform on which it will be deployed. often will show degradation of rated throughput of cables and connectors, especially if the cable infrastructure includes products that have not been qualified as a channel.
Primary LAN Connection to the Desktop PROJECTED GROWTH: 2000-2002 10 Mbps Ethernet -60% Token Ring -56% FDDI -50% 100 Mbps Ethernet +68% Gigabit Ethernet +1100% SOURCE: CAHNERS IN-STAT GROUP Note: Table made from a bar graph. 10 Gigabit Ethernet Market Size NORTH AMERICA 2001 $67 MILLION 2002 $700 MILLION 2003 $1.8 MILLION 2004 $3.1 MILLION 2005 $3.9 MILLION SOURCE: INFOTECH CONSULTING Note: Table made from a bar graph.
The consequences of not testing can be serious. Failure to test can lead to "premature obsolescence" of the passive infrastructure, which means the enterprise would have to go through an unnecessary replacement that is as disruptive to business operations Business operations are those activities involved in the running of a business for the purpose of producing value for the stakeholders. Compare business processes. The outcome of business operations is the harvesting of value from assets as it is expensive.
... Gig E See Gigabit Ethernet. in the Enterprise
One of the certainties of enterprise networking The networking infrastructure in a large enterprise with multiple computer systems and networks of different types is extraordinarily complex. Due to the myriad of interfaces that are required, much of what goes on has little to do with the real data processing of the payroll and orders. today is that bandwidth demand will continue to rise. For local-area networks Local-area networks
Computer networks that usually cover a limited range, say, within the boundary of a building. A computer network is two or more computers that communicate with each other through some medium. (LANs), 10 megabits per second (unit) megabits per second - (Mbps, Mb/s) Millions of bits per second. A unit of data rate. 1 Mb/s = 1,000,000 bits per second (not 1,048,576).
E.g. Ethernet can carry 10 Mbps. (Mbps) once was enough. Then 100 Mbps came on the scene. "When Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps) first came out, people were skeptical about its need," says Nick Maynard, an analyst with telecommunications research firm The Yankee Group, Boston, Mass. "But now it has become the standard."
And Gig E is now on deck. Though little used today, Gig E appears poised for an explosive growth spurt growth spurt Pediatrics A period of rapid growth in middle adolescence; ♀ ↑ ±8 cm/yr ±age 12; ♂ ↑ ±10 cm/yr ± age 14; GS is orderly, affecting acral parts–ie, hands and feet grow before proximal regions, . Cahners In-Stat Group, Newton, Mass., has determined that less than one percent of enterprise networks are using Gig E as their primary LAN (Local Area Network) A communications network that serves users within a confined geographical area. The "clients" are the user's workstations typically running Windows, although Mac and Linux clients are also used. transport. But in a survey of over 300 IT professionals, nearly one-quarter said they expect to deploy Gig E within two years. All in all, Cahners predicts that the deployment of Gig E will grow by 1,100 percent by 2002.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Ariba Inc., for instance, has deployed Category 5e cabling throughout its new campus to support high-speed Ethernet technologies.
"We have committed to using Fast Ethernet out to our workstations and using Gig E (or multiple Gig)in our core between switches. We have a few--perhaps 10 percent--of our servers connected via Gig E," says Ariba's Steve Cundall, Director of IT Communications.
... MAN/WAN Push, LAN Pull
While bandwidth demands grow in end-user networks, enterprise Gig E also is getting a push from the wide-area networking (WAN) and metropolitan-area network (MAN) markets because of the relatively low cost, scalability and reliability of Ethernet technology.
Expected demand in these network segments is leading to the development of standards and technology for 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Ten gigabit services are expected to come on line in 2002, when an IEEE Ethernet standard completes the approval cycle.
With multi-gigabit services coming to the premises from carriers, it will become easier for enterprises to adopt Gig E in their internal networks, explains The Yankee Group's Maynard. "We'll see 10 Gigabit Ethernet roll out into the metro network core, interconnecting co-location facilities. Then we'll see it push out to the edge of MANs and to the user interface--and eventually within enterprises," he says.
For enterprises, the result will be that they can operate end-to-end Ethernet: from LANS, through WANS and MANs.
... Laying the Groundwork for Enterprise Gig E
Organizations need to begin planning now for Gigabit Ethernet, if they have not already done so. This planning must address enterprise needs, legacy hardware and software, new network devices and interconnection infrastructure--cabling and connectors.
Often cabling is an afterthought in the network planning process. As networks move to higher and higher speeds, cabling performance becomes more and more critical. Fortunately, network-interconnection cabling has undergone tremendous improvements as network transmission requirements have increased.
In any event, to be able to reliably run Gig E in a LAN, an organization should, at minimum, have a Category 5e structured cabling system installed to perform beyond the standard. "To maximize Gig E throughput, companies should install Category 6 cable if they are installing a new network or if the current LAN cabling does not comply with Gig E requirements," stresses Kish. "The cost and business disruption of replacing cable later on is something to be avoided."