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Will I be able to take advantage of gigabit speeds with a 10mbps connection?

Hello Experts,

I am not too knowledgable when it comes to networking and network speed.  We have a T1 connection as well as a metro ethernet connection as our main connection.  The T1 is used for basic things like surfing the web and emails and the metro ethernet line is used for web applications.  The T1 connection is also used as a backup connection if the metro e line goes down.  The speed we are getting at best is 10mbps.  Would it matter if we started using gigabit switches on our LAN?  Will we be able to take advantage of the gigabit speed?  What would be needed to be able to get gigabit speeds?  If someone could give me a brief explanation of network speeds and summarize all this gigabit stuff, I'd greatly appreciate it.  Thanks!
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Using gigabit switches on your LAN would increase LAN speed, but not internet speed.  For example if you had client/server application that you used at the office and they were all connected on a gigabit switch you could take advantage of gigabit speeds internally.  As far as your internet circuit, your not gonna go any faster than the speed of you circuit.  
Basically the slowest connection is the bottleneck. So, if you have a 10MBPS Internet connection, that is the fastest you will go to the Internet no matter how fast the internal LAN is running.  However, if the switch also connects internal devices together and then have GB LAN connections, then yes, you would notice a speed increase between devices... again the slowest member sets the pace.  A GB PC talking to a GB server runs at that speed - a 100 MBPS PC talking to a GB server talks at the 100 MBPS speed.  And this obviously is tempered by shared bandwidth,etc.
As previously stated, your internal network might be able to take advantage of it, assuming your servers and clients also have Gb NICs. It would also allow you to future proof some of your network (make sure you are using CAT5e or CAT6 as well)

Your internet speed however will still be limited to what your ISP gives you, if its 10Mb then that's as fast as you'll get.

Think of it like pipes in your home. If you have a 4" inch pipe into your home, then the volume of water that a 4" pipe can supply is the best you will ever do, it doesn't matter that you put 10" pipes throughout your home if the line feeding in cannot saturate that.


Great way of putting it, comparing it to pipes going into the house.  Thanks!