It was 2007 and we were living in the Fast Ethernet era… Fast forward to 2017, the world and networks have changed significantly over the past 10 years. As it is always a good idea to have a look into our recent past to better understand where we are and where we may be going with the future of our business, I have a customer story that I would like to share with you.
Back in 2007, Fast Ethernet was king. The majority of customers were running Fast Ethernet and most doubted that they would ever require Gigabit, as the average internet connection was just a few Megabits.
Does this sound at all familiar considering where we are at today with 10 Gigabit technology?
Ten years ago, NETGEAR was one of the first vendors to bring Gigabit speeds to SMB and we were often asked why. Why should I upgrade my network if the internet speed does not reach the capacity limit? Why should we invest in larger pipes if my network is running well as is?
In 2007 a school network administrator attended one of our events and asked us for a network design. Their needs were simple: 30 computers in an IT classroom, as well as 20 computers for the teachers and 3 servers (one running Exchange, another one running an Active Directory and the last one a file server). The idea was to design a network for the upcoming 7 years and so NETGEAR recommended to move to Gigabit as the technology was changing so quickly with new devices (like IP phones, IP cameras) and new technologies (like WiFi, xDSL). However, the customer was convinced that the network and applications would not change much in the next several years so they decided upon 3 Fast Ethernet Switches to deploy the entire network. It was a very successful deployment, and in less than a week, the customer was happily up and running with all the new gear.
Two very short years later, in 2009, I received a call from the school letting me know that the network was running slowly. Therefore, as a field engineer, I went to pay them a visit to better understand what the cause of the network slowdown could be. As it turned out, in just 2 years they had doubled up on the number of computers they used in the school, and they had upgraded their internet speed to xDSL and had implemented Voice over IP. So, now, just two years after their investment in a new network infrastructure, the switches were working at 90% of their load. The customer suddenly realized that the new network wasn’t enough for their current needs and they had to re-upgrade all the network equipment to Gigabit.
Here we are today in 2017, and Gigabit is the new king. NETGEAR launched our X Series a few years ago to bring 10 Gigabit to the SMB. The world is changing faster than ever and the Gigabit Ethernet is becoming the bottleneck: WiFi with 802.11ac already breaks the Gigabit barrier, SSD drives can move files at 5Gbps, USB runs at 10Gbps …. So if you don’t want to change your network again in the next couple of years, just a recommendation, think 10-Gigabit now.