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True network Data Transmition Speeds

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Last Modified: 2010-07-27
Does anyone have a link to a website that describes how much data you can transfer through a 10/100 switch and how much you can transfer through a gigabit switch per second? Also, I know that you are somewhat limited by the operating system, so I would love to know what Windows, Unix, and Linux can transfer data at.
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I'm note sure true *data transfer* speeds cannot be measured the way you'd like to. If it could, they would be called "67 MB/s" switches, but they're not.

Data transfer speeds depend on:
- Frame/datagram/packet size (for switches, routers and firewalls respectively)
- Communication protocols used
- Wire length (or medium, for that matter)
- Congestion or collisions
- The quality of the fabric of the equipment. Generally, more expensive equipment has a higher backbone (aggregate) transfer speed than garden-variety switches.

This is exactly why the speed of network equipment is measured in bits/second, not bytes/second. Bits/second can be guaranteed, bytes/second depends on other factors.

An interesting read is the benchmark between 3Com and Cisco high-end switches, although these are usually measured in frames/second. http://www.3com.com/other/pdfs/products/en_US/tolly.pdf

Hope this helps.

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Steve AgnewSr. Systems Engineer
Yeah they give them names based on 'best possible' anotherwords 10 MB is 10,000 mega bits per second possible.. meaning in a perfect world you'll get that no more.  same for the 100 and 1000 versions.. 8 bits is a byte etc.  As far as operating systems I guess it depends on who you ask, Microsoft will tell you windows is faster and Sun will tell you UNIX is.. go figure.  All you can do is setup a machine and test it and then you can see what it does with your own eyes.. The world is full of salesmen that will be happy to give you the information your asking for, but the reality is they can't know what you will actually get only what they have been told you will get.  Test drive the car before you buy it, preferablly without the salesman...


Will either Windows or Unix let you push out 100 Mbps or a gigabit? I thought someone told me that you will never get those speeds because of the os. What would be the difference with Wireless. I have heard that 802.11b, which is 10Mbps actually is only 2Mbps and 802.11a/g, which is 54Mbps would be more like 10Mbps. THoughts?

Trust me, a customer of mine backs up his network with a LTO 400/800 GB tape drive in a Proliant ML370 on Win2003.

It averages 46 megabytes per SECOND over the network. (Outside business hours, of course). The bottle-neck is probably the drive array of the file server.

Throughput on a wireless network is very complicated. Other nearby networks, the distance between clients/ap's, the signal strength reducing logarithmically with distance, congestion. All quite invisible factors, too.

Wireless is not really my line of business, but if I put my laptop near the 54g access point it does some 3,5-ought MB/s (FTP).
Steve AgnewSr. Systems Engineer

The OS is generally only limited by the hardware.  In the office environment you have 1GB both cabled and fiber with fiber having a higher saturation rate.  Again, its probably going to be the hardware that controls how fast the OS can transmit data as processors and internal memory are ultimately faster than a network connection will ever hope to be the bottle neck is not in the OS but in the network.  There are faster speeds for networking, but these devices are not going to be used by the public or in business but by the telephone companies to provide services to multiple network nodes...


hehhee couldn't resist...
Steve AgnewSr. Systems Engineer

So if your question is which one is 'faster' I'll tell you there is no right answer both sides can argue that theirs is.  I will tell you however that both NOS (network operating systems) will provide you with different 'features' if bandwidth is your only concern then you need to know the differences, like total cost of ownership and how much bang for your buck.  They both can do 1GB easily.  I'm sure if you have a fast enough machine configuration and plug 4 1GB fiber NICS into a server and push data out of them both Windows and UNIX/LINUX will be quite capable.  The real question is TCO and features available for what price.  Total cost of ownership is how much it costs to 'own' it after you purchase it; how much to operate and maintain/support the equipment as for the two OS's this is very different.


"Test drive the car before you buy it, preferablly without the salesman..."

<inserts link to benchmark on MS website about MS products>

... Yeah, I know the test was performed by a third party. Had to chuckle anyway ;-)

No hard feelings, you're the one with the expert points.


Thanks for your input guys. I really appreciate it.
Steve AgnewSr. Systems Engineer

Rant I just wanted the free account because I was tired of seeing this website come up on searches and not being able to read what was on it, at first, then I realized what a great resouce this was and so I try to spend a least one day out of the month sharing my high priced contractor knowledge for FREE.. I'll admit I thought this site was the greatest scam I'd ever seen and tipped my hat to it's creators.....  but have grown to enjoy spending time getting exposed to 'other people's problems' kinda like other people's kids.. I'll help out as long as they behave..  Enjoy the site!

@DeadNight: Exactly the same here! Don't like kids, though. <g>

@judsoncollege: Yer welcome, you just awarded me my very first points! Yaaay! ;-)



I am honored to be the giver of your first points. Thanks for helping out and I hope you enjoy the site.
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