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Networking High-Speed Lan's - Is There Place for Fast Ethernet?
Publication: CI Press Release Issued: Date: 1996-01-01 Reporter: CI Systems

CI Press Release

1996-01-01

In today's highly competitive business environment, high-speed networks are not a luxury; they are a necessity. Spurred on by impatient users, vendors are constantly investing in research and development programmes that will deliver faster standards.

When it was publicly announced in the early 1980s, T-1's 1.544 Mbps was quickly adopted. Later that decade, looking to replace data switches, users snapped up Ethernet LANs, then considered high-speed.

And at the beginning of the 1990s, it seemed that FDDI's 10 to 100 times greater speed would see it become one of the most significant standards for high-performance LANs through the decade.

At least that was true before ATM was introduced. Today, network managers have a wide choice of technologies - from Fast Ethernet to FDDI and ATM, from ISDN to Fast Relay.

According to respected industry watcher, Computer Technology Research Corporation, an American industry publication recently polled its readers as to the technologies most likely to impact on their professional lives in the immediate years ahead.

ATM finished first by a wide margin, well ahead of Fast Ethernet and FDDI despite the fact that ATM technology is far from standardised. Add to this the ongoing debate about the virtues of FDDI versus those of ATM, and the market is clearly in a state of turmoil.

For those network managers who can't afford to wait until the dust surrounding the FDDI vs ATM debate has settled, Fast Ethernet could be a solution.

The twist in the tale, however, is that some of these users may find that Fast Ethernet meets their needs for many years to come.

In CCII Systems' experience, Fast Ethernet is gaining supporters among those network managers seeking to enhance LAN capabilities for desktop applications. This is because, at this level of implementation, price is important.

FDDI and ATM technologies are at a distinct price disadvantage and, although costs per user are falling for all three technologies, the difference between them should remain constant, as the table below indicates.

What can we conclude from this brief overview?

Perhaps the most obvious lesson is that Fast Ethernet solutions should not be overlooked in the scramble for more glamorous high-speed networks.

Yes, the more alluring solutions are ATM and FDDI but, in the short term at least, Fast Ethernet could turn out to be the "Cinderella" of the high-speed ball capturing more than the Prince's heart.