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What Is MultiGig Ethernet

August 31, 2021

There is no denying the fact that bandwidth requirements per device are increasing with every passing day. Multimedia data is the driving force behind this ever-increasing demand. For instance, 8K or even 4K televisions can consume much more data rates compared to modern HD TVs. This means network hardware vendors have to come up with intelligent ways to fulfill this surging demand. They have to achieve higher speeds in a cost-effective manner. Multi-gigabit Ethernet comes to the rescue here; this data connectivity link facilitates bandwidth of more than 1G on legacy copper cables already used by a large percentage of users.

Intro to Ethernet

Ethernet is the most popular local area networking (LAN) technology in the world. This claim is substantiated by sales of millions and millions of ether network hardware including cards, repeaters, hubs, switches, etc. Ethernet beats any competitor in sales by a large margin. This sale is owed to the fact that the use of Ethernet in Metro Area Networks (MANs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs) has been extremely cost-effective. Since Ethernet is the favorite LAN technology of the IT world, therefore it enjoyed the attention of researchers. This attention helped in the evolution of Ethernet, consequently helping the users. Evolution from Ethernet to Fast Ethernet, 1G, 2.5G, 5G, and 10G has been instrumental in keeping its popularity intact.

What is MultiGig Ethernet?

As mentioned above Multigig is a data connectivity link that facilitates speeds of more than 1G on already available CAT5 and CAT6 copper cables. Multigig helps achieve bandwidths of 2.5G, 5G, and in some cases 10G. Most of the commercial establishments use UTP, Cat5, Cat6 cables as an integral part of their networks

Multi-gigabit Ethernet is a technology, which exploits the existing bandwidth at each access point of a network. Nowadays, multigig equipment is devised in compliance with IEEE 802.3 standards, which has well-defined criteria for 2.5 and 5-Gigabit Ethernet links on Cat5, Cat6, and similar Ethernet cables.

The key advantage of Multigig is in businesses where the state-of-the-art and latest WLAN Access Points are being installed. Both 802.11ax and 802.11ac Wave 2 access points can provide aggregate throughput in the range of 1G. The 802.11ac can provide a bandwidth of 1.7-2.5Gbps, and 802.11ax with time has the potential to deliver bandwidth up to 3.5Gbps. Moreover, with the heightened demand for SSDs and 4K TVs the need for MultiGig Switches will increase continuously.

Switching to MultiGig not only allows users to cross the 1G bottleneck but it also helps in the resolution of inefficient link aggregation. MultiGig networks only use one port per connection thus eliminating the requirement of complete network upgrade cabling as required in 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GBase-T) installation.

All industries frequently come across network bottlenecks that significantly hamper efficiency. More bandwidth will benefit any organization irrespective of its size; an increase in network speed is usually welcomed. An upgrade of the network from Gigabit to multigigabit results in a faster network, which results in new opportunities. This improved network will allow faster transfer and backup of data along with smoother remote work. Regular tasks like database management, video production/editing, storage will benefit greatly from increased bandwidth by aiding users with faster access to their data.

Point to Consider Before Upgradation

A faster network requires the right environment to be productive. Hardware has to be checked for compatibility before upgradation from existing Ethernet to multigigabit Ethernet. Only the hardware that can accommodate higher speeds can be beneficial in a new network.

Hardware

Yes, the prospect of higher bandwidth on existing networks is very exciting and the information that this bandwidth can be achieved on already in-use copper cables is also welcoming but the condition of these cables matters a lot in such a case. A network of worn-out or below-average quality CAT5 or CAT6 cables will not be able to support higher speed. Networking hardware (switches/ports) also needed to be checked, these devices must be able to sustain greater throughput. Any hardware, which does not have this support, will drop throughput below 1G.

Cost is another important factor in any network design/upgrade and yes, investment in the future is also very important. Where does that leave us? In a conundrum. However, like always there is a solution. Instead of going for low-cost but short-term usable hardware, one must go for hardware that may be a bit costly but can be used for the long term.

Compatibility

Next is the issue of compatibility of user devices such as network-attached storage (NAS) devices, if these devices do not have the required support, users may not be able to take advantage of higher bandwidth. Expansion cards and USB adaptors are available which can be a cost-effective help in this regard.

Storage Hardware

Faster storage is critical in faster bandwidth networks; otherwise, there will be severe bottlenecks. Storage hardware has to sustain higher speeds to avoid these bottlenecks. What good is a high-speed network where the storage hardware does not allow faster read/write features? The use of correct RAID mode is a good option; it helps in achieving speedy data transfers in the case of NAS.

Power and Cooling

Higher bandwidth entails higher power consumption, which in turn asks for more effective cooling/ventilation. These issues must be considered to avoid any loss to network/data.

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