Dramatic increases in PC performance over recent years continue to be reflected in the network traffic they generate. The potential of PCs to utilize network bandwidth is still far from fully realized by current business software, but the upward trend is clearly evident. The PC's growing ability to handle telecoms, video and multimedia, as well as data, is causing all these elements to converge on the same networks. This convergence, combined with rapid growth in the individual areas, is increasing demand for network capacity. In turn, pressure on cabling infrastructure is also growing, and decisions on its future are becoming more important to an organization's survival and success.

As a rule-of-thumb, each GIPS (billion instructions per second) handled by the CPU can produce approximately 1 Gbps of LAN traffic. Using this rule, a measure of the emerging challenge can be gained from predictions that CPUs operating at 100 GIPS will be widely used within the life of a new cabling system.

High-speed LAN applications, such as Gigabit Ethernet and 10Gigabit Ethernet, are making this communications potential easier to utilize. Software developers will be quick to capitalize on the new opportunities this creates to produce more powerful applications, just as they have taken advantage of higher CPU speeds. At the same time, cost driven changes in the way organizations operate and are managed is generating demand for bandwidth-hungry applications. Flatter hierarchies and greater devolution, for instance, mean that more people are making decisions about their own actions. To do this effectively, they must have fast access to information and training, so data flow through the organization needs to be quicker and more efficient. In response, many organizations are installing intranets designed to make information easier for staff to access and use. Not only text, but graphics and images are being used to help people at all levels assimilate the information they need.

This is increasing average file size dramatically, putting additional pressure on the network infrastructure.

Teleworking and co-operative working are also on the increase in order to improve productivity and reduce costs. Together with increased emphasis on travel avoidance, these developments are creating demand for video, audio and data conferencing. Such applications, together with on-line computer-based training, consume network capacity on a scale that dwarfs the requirements of most current business software.

Even if such innovations realize only 10% of the PC's communication potential, at today's rate of CPU speed increase, means that 40 gigabit and 100 gigabit speeds will be needed in the backbone and datacenter networks and 10 gigabit to the desktop becomes justified.

Over this time, traffic patterns will continue to change. Use of network PCs and tablets, for instance, can be expected to alter the traffic balance from local workgroup to remote, resulting in growth in loads on backbone and datacenter systems.

Whatever network application is chosen in response to these developments, the cabling infrastructure will be an increasingly vital investment. Cabling is the central nervous system of any organization and must be fit to meet the impending bandwidth challenge, and why we believe the performance exhibited by the GigaSPEED® X10D and LazrSPEED® solutions are a must for any forward thinking customer.

What are the bandwidth challenges for your network in this age of convergence?

About the Author

James Donovan

James Donovan is Vice President of the CommScope Infrastructure Academy. James joined CommScope in 1993 and has held positions in Sales, Technical, Marketing, Training and Business Development and served most recently as VP of Digital and Creative Services for CommScope. James oversees the CommScope Infrastructure Academy, which is CommScope’s partner and customer training platform. Prior to joining the company, he held positions at GEC, ITT and Alcatel. He holds a Masters Degree in Engineering and a BSc Honors degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

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2 comments for "Technology Trends, Bandwidth Needs, Cabling Decisions"
Russ Grigg

Great article we are still finding people insisting on Cat5 networks and not seeing how they are out of date already. I can see how we are increasingly using more and more bandwidth but for most office workers accessing databases via a web front end Cat5e is more than suitable. It will be interesting to see how the 10 Gig copper Vs Fibre works out with increasing copper prices.


Thanks Russ, I agree, it will be interesting to see how the next few years pan out with technology that workers use. And after years of speculation about when fibre would or would not take over from copper and what application would cause it, I find it ironic that it might be the depletion of mother earth's resources that actually tips the balance!

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