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Objective Measurements

 

Using a gigabit to gigabit setup, I first tested a single pair of ports for maximum throughput. Technically, a 10/100 switch should be able to achieve 100Mbps (12.5MB/s <= note the difference). In the real world losses, sometimes in the form of "overhead" occur and the peak bandwidth is reduced by a percentage. The key is to buy a product that performs at the highest level possible and to that end, the DS2216 had the highest throughput tested to date. I consistently measured 10MB/s (80Mbps).

4-Port Trunking Test

The test setup for this relatively huge undertaking involved 8 Pentium 4's with 10/100 NIC's and IBM 120GXP series 7200 rpm hard drives. Four boxes were connected to switch "A" and the remaining four were connected to switch "B." Next, a 115MB .cab file was located to simulate a large high speed transfer. At the precise moment, with the help of fellow TEC staffer Annette Kaple, we did a copy and paste that transferred the data from switch A to switch B.

Panel Closeup

We watched the file transfer meters spool up and sure enough an average of 7-8MB/s (NIC limited, not switch limited) per pair was noted. This adds up to 28-32MB/s, which calculates to 224-256Mbps. This is well above the typical 100Mbps (realistically 64-80Mbps experienced in most single switch port-to-port transfers. Based on this test and the aforementioned gigabit port-to-port transfer of 80Mbps, I would have no problem stating that a pair of DS2216's can saturate at 320Mbps. Remember that this is in one direction only. Technically full duplex would imply that 640Mbps would be 100% saturation in both directions.

Conclusion

Purchasing two DS2216's is certainly a cost effective option to full gigabit switches. One particular DLink model I'm eyeballing at the moment still sells for many times the price of a pair of Compex's and the DLink only has 8 ports total! Yes, a full gigabit solution is preferable, but is also so costly that many small firms (or small colleges) will balk at the price. The DS2216 being "upgradeable" as it is offers a tempting alternative to expensive gigabit over copper solutions. If this type of networking device meets your upgrade needs then run out and grab a few pairs. The time savings expressed in shorter file transfers will be your reward.

 

William Yaple
11/24/02

 





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