TOTW: how to make your network ten times faster


Date: 17 January 2013

Network switch{{}}With the volume of business data growing in virtually all organisations, it takes longer to save, transfer and open files. Customer databases, photos, videos and more - all are consuming increasing amounts of space and becoming more unwieldy.

In this tip of the week, we explain how to upgrade your company network so it can transfer data more quickly.

Plug in for large transfers

First of all, make sure you're plugged in to your company network when you work with these large files. In general, wired networks can transfer large amounts of data much faster than wireless ones.

Currently, most wired business networks run at a speed of 100 megabits per second (Mbps). At that rate, it takes around 25 minutes to transfer a two-hour long high-definition (HD) video.

However, most computers built in the last few years can connect to a network at 1,000Mbps (or 1 gigabit per second, Gbs). At that speed, your video will take less than three minutes to transfer.

Switch your switches

Buying network equipment

Installing a new router or switch is usually just a matter of disconnecting the old one and plugging in a new one.

However, always check with your IT supplier if you're unsure how to proceed.

Switches are available from all major IT suppliers, including:

In most business networks, it's the switches and routers that limit the speed the network can run at.

Switches and routers are pieces of hardware that perform the same basic job, acting as signposts that indicate where network data should go.

Check what speed yours run at. The speed is usually printed on them somewhere - if they're rated for 100Mbps, changing them for models rated at 1,000Mbps may result in impressive performance gains.

This is usually a straight swap - just buy a new router or switch, unplug the old one and then pop the new one in its place.

However, if your computers or other network equipment are more than a couple of years old, make sure you double-check that they're rated to 1,000Mbs. The speed of your network will be governed by the slowest device on it, so if all your computers are 100Mbps then upgrading your switches and routers won't make any difference.

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