Posted by & filed under All, Telecommunications Systems.

It’s interesting to think that just a couple of decades ago, people were not only content to rely on stodgy, dial-up modems for internet connectivity, but we were amazed by the ability to use them to connect to the internet at all. These days, technological advancements have changed our expectations dramatically.

Now we not only want immediate access to streaming data, but we want it without limitations like having to rely on pesky wires. While technology companies seem to be virtual miracle workers, striving to deliver on every consumer and commercial demand when it comes to communications and data transmission products, the truth is that we still rely on hardware and software to get the job done.

In other words, there are a variety of factors that could affect the speed with which your various systems for gathering and transmitting data operate. Even your point to point wireless system has points that data must travel between. Of course, most systems, even wireless ones, also have cabling somewhere along the line.

The point is that any components you rely on for capturing and transmitting data could play a role in how your full duplex communication systems works, in particular how fast it works. This includes your GigE (gigabit ethernet), or the technology designed to transmit data. How does the speed affect your performance?

Packet Loss

If you’re using free space optical communication to transmit informational, voice or video data between short distances, you might not think your GigE speeds will pose a serious problem. After all, gigabit ethernet technology is so fast that the average person might not notice if it’s running a little slower or faster.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly work this way. Yes, GigE is designed to transmit data at speeds so rapid that the average person would never notice if it was incrementally slower or faster. Unfortunately, your ethernet technology doesn’t work alone.

It not only interfaces with other hardware and software, but it also relies on connecting infrastructure that allows for communications between points of transmission and reception. While your free-space optics system sends data wirelessly through the air, that data must then be routed so that you can access it on specific devices, such as a computer or smartphone, just for example.

So what can go wrong? What if the speeds your GigE technology is running at are incompatible with hardware, software, or cabling that your system is trying to interface with?

In such cases, you could see packet loss, which basically amounts to portions of your information being lost en route, or more likely, never being sent. Let’s say it’s lost in translation. The end result is an incomplete set of data.

This is not necessarily due to your GigE speeds, or more accurately, it is not due to your GigE speeds alone. However, incompatibilities somewhere along the transmission line can definitely cause issues between data transmitted and received.

Large Packet Failure

In some cases, a failure in the system will result in more than just incomplete data transmission – packets of certain sizes may not send at all. This can be controlled to an extent by understanding system limitations, but when streaming data via GigE technology, you shouldn’t have such issues. If you’re experiencing send failures, the likely culprit is not your ethernet, but an incompatible connection.

Peak Usage Issues

Even with the most advanced GigE system and the highest possible speeds of transmission, a network can only handle so much data at once. We are unfortunately limited by our technologies. This could result in slower than usual connectivity during peak usage, as when everyone is in the office and utilizing the network. With GigE, however, you have the best opportunity to realize high speeds, even during peak usage.

Outages

Your system of data transmission relies on several components to function, including point to point hardware and software. Whenever there are connections along the line, however, you’ll also have to rely on switches.

These switches not only route data; they also process it. When they become overloaded, there’s a chance they may reset or fail. The result could be outages in service.

Increasing your GigE speed should only improve the performance of your network. The truth is, though, that it is only one component of a much larger system. So if you’re noticing performance issues, you’ll probably find that the culprit is incompatible or less functional technologies.

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