| By Becky Waring |
It’s a sad fact of computing life that we obsess over upgrading to the latest smartphone or laptop while allowing key supporting hardware to languish until it’s dead or obsolete.
Your network, for example, is only as good as its weakest link. Save time and money with these often-overlooked yet relatively easy upgrades for home or small-office networks.
Chop network backup times with gigabit Ethernet
One of the first things I look at when asked to consult on a new computer, printer, NAS drive, or other network device is the underlying speed of the network it’s being attached to. Although most business-class computers have included gigabit (1,000Mbps) Ethernet ports for years now, the same is not true of the routers and switches linking them together. Unless you buy a high-end router, you probably have only 100Mbps of networking capability.
Although 100Mbps is plenty fast for Internet traffic, it can be cripplingly slow for network backup purposes. A typical full-image backup image passing over a 100Mbps network can take days to complete, if it ever manages to finish at all. Compare that to a few hours over a gigabit network.
Even tasks that are less demanding (such as incremental backups, file-server access, and file sharing between computers) can be slower than necessary, bogging down both your computer and the entire network — especially in a multicomputer environment.
So how can you make the leap to gigabit? Start by checking which devices on your networks already have gigabit ports. For the best performance, all major components in your network need to support gigabit networking. That includes network-infrastructure devices like routers and switches plus computers, servers, and network storage devices. If your NAS drive doesn’t have a gigabit port, upgrading your router or switch won’t speed it up.