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3com Fast Ethernet Vs. Gigabit Ethernet Comparison

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ABSTRACT

In this paper, we will conduct a comparison on Fast Ethernet Network Switches and Gigabit Ethernet Network Switches offered by 3COM. We will review a few specific components, as well as compare features, pricing and preferred usage.

DEFINITION

In order to have a greater understanding of the terminology and descriptions offered in this paper, we must first understand what a network switch is. A brief definition of a network switch is a computer networking device that connects network segments. It uses the logic of a Network bridge, but allows a physical and logical star topology. It is often used to replace network hubs. A switch is also often referred to as an intelligent hub.

A switch can be used to make various connections. Ethernet, Token Ring, and various other types of packet switched network segments together to form a heterogeneous network operating at OSI Layer 2.

Traditional Ethernets, in which all hosts compete for the same bandwidth, are called shared Ethernets. Switched Ethernets are becoming very popular because they are an effective and convenient way to extend the bandwidth of existing Ethernets.

PRODUCTS

3COM offers a wide variety of networking solutions. From Switches to Hubs to Gateways, 3COM is one of the frontrunners in the networking industry. In this comparison of Fast Ethernet Networks and Gigabit Ethernet Networks, before discussing the similarities with the various components and their respective operations, we must discuss the differences between the two.

Fast Ethernet Network was developed as an upgrade to traditional Ethernet Networking. Fast Ethernet improved traditional Ethernet by increasing transfer rates 10 times, from 10 Megabit to 100 Megabit speed.

Gigabit Ethernet Network is an upgrade on Fast Ethernet Network equivalent to Fast Ethernet Networks improvement over Fast Ethernet Network, offering speeds of 1000 Megabits (1 Gigabit). Gigabit Ethernet was first made to travel over optical and copper cabling, but the 1000Base-T standard successfully supports it as well. 1000Base-T uses Category 5 cabling similar to 100 Mbps Ethernet, although achieving gigabit speed requires the use of additional wire pairs.

Also, Gigabit Ethernet Networks can process Traditional, Fast, and Gigabit Ethernet transfer rates, as opposed to Traditional - Traditional and Fast - Traditional/Fast.

The products will be reviewed by cost as well as functionality, comparing components most closely related to one another.

COMPONENTS

3COM OfficeConnect Dual Speed 5 Port Switch

This switch is a member of 3COM's OfficeConnect family of products. It is used primarily for small business and small offices. The primary reason for this is this particular model offers the ability to share internet connections, at a minimal cost. Another benefit of this particular model is the ease of installation. This model offers plug and play setup, with no additional configuration needed. This model offers the availability of 5-16 ports. The listed price for this model is $31.99.

3Com OfficeConnect 5 Gigabit Switch

This switch offers similar component specifications to the Fast Ethernet version. This model is primarily used by small offices which require high network performance, in order to exchange larger data files and images, and to have real-time access to information. This model has a throughput of up to 3.2Gps, which allows them to be the ideal choice for connections to high-speed services, high-speed data links into the core of a network, or for connecting multiple switches in small offices. Some additional specifications are: Port Quantity: 5, Switching Protocol: Ethernet, and MAC Address Table: 4K entries. The listed price for this model is $77.99.

3Com SuperStack 3 24-Port Switch

This model is used because it offers exceptional switching performance for copper-wired Ethernet Networks without complex configurations and operation. Also, the performance is offered at a relatively low price.

A few of the main features of this model: Twenty-four auto sensing 10/100 copper ports provide flexible desktop and workgroup attachments, while two auto sensing 10/100/1000 copper uplink ports enable Gigabit Ethernet backbone and server connections. Resiliency features such as Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol, link aggregation (for the 10/100/1000 ports), and a redundant power option help ensure uptime. Built-in Gigabit

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