Difference between datacenter Gigabit Ethernet and Fast Ethernet

Posted on 2003-03-05
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-14

We are considering relocating our servers to a new datacenter.

Initially we will rent a 100Mbps Fast Ethernet port which will be more than enough for our needs right now.

However when we approach the 100 Mbps limit of this port we will of course want to purchase more bandwidth.

This is where the figures don't conform to the normal economies of scale which you would expect.

For example we can get 100 Mbps for 6000 Euro / Month on a fast ethernet port. If we bust this limit then we will need to rent another full (100mbps) fast ethernet port to expand it or go to Gigabit ethernet.

For 100Mbps on a Gigabit Ethernet port it will cost 8000 Euro per month. 400 Mbps costs 70 Euro / Mbps which is still 10 Euro / Mbps higher than the initial 100Mbps connection on Fast Ethernet.

Can anyone explain why this is, why should 100Mbps cost 33% more on a Gigabit circuit than it does on a fast ethernet connection. Bearing in mind this is just a charge for raw bandwidth rack rental and switches etc are seperate.

I've asked the quoting company as well but would like some outside feedback on this as well.

Isn't 100Mbps still 100Mbps no matter what kind of equipment it goes through.


Question by:neilmcaliece
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LVL 79

Expert Comment

ID: 8085904
It's the actual physical cost of the Gigabit port vs the cost of a 100Mb port, for one thing. For example, a single Gigabit Ethernet port for one Cisco router model is $6000 vs a 100Mb port for $200. Plus, the added ability to increase your bandwidth with a simple administrative change, no physical port changes to involve dispatching an individual, resulting in a higher class of service to you.
The initial cost, flexibility, plus the lower port density available, makes it justifiable that the gig port is more expensive per mb.

Author Comment

ID: 8088169
Actualy I've been told seperately that it's due to the latency expectations on the 100Mb port.
When you reach about 70% of it's capacity which would be 70Mbps problems start to appear when the usage peaks and the whole thing will slow down access.
With the Gigabit connection you can get a full 100 Mbps and really get the full 100 Mbps of transfer which actually makes it cheaper.

Am I wrong ?


LVL 79

Accepted Solution

lrmoore earned 300 total points
ID: 8088343
That is yet another facet of the higher quality of service of a Gigabit port, and another reason for a premium price.
The concept is serialization delay. The bigger the pipe, the faster the packets can be injected into the pipe, therefore less delay on a fatter pipe, even if it is rate-limited by some other mechanism.

Expert Comment

ID: 8114360
lrmoore is correct: the primary reason is that you're reserving an entire GigE port even if you're not using all of it yet.  Your landlord doesn't care if you never use the basement; his opportunity cost is still for the whole house.  (Their quote for a full Gbps will be cheaper per Mbps than the 100Mbps link).  But what you've been told about the 70% limit is true as well, and more significant if you're needing the full 100Mbps.  Due to overhead, you'll top out at about 70Mbps on a 100Mbps link.  That's the dirty secret that no one talks about because they already know it and it's generally accepted, or it's unknown and the provider doesn't want to stress it.  (I used to be a sales engineer with a major global ISP.)  Another cost factor is that the datacenter will have to put you on a faster subnet internally; if it was built more than a couple years ago, it probably just had the 100Mbps infrastructure and had to retrofitted.

So the short answer to your questions "Isn't 100Mbps still 100Mbps no matter what kind of equipment it goes through?" is no, it's not really.

Sign a one year contract for the 100Mbps port and then reassess what you need after that.

Expert Comment

ID: 8139537
I can't help you on why it would be more, but what I would do is setup etherchannel (some switches call it port sharing) and just use 2 100 mbps connections. When my connection went over 100 mbps (in Seattle) there was no cost upgrade in going to dual ethernet, and then no charge again when we upgraded to gigE. In fact our rates per mbps go down the more bandwidth we actually use.

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