LAPTOP USERS DEMAND NEW PERFORMANCE BENCHMARKS

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With high speed data transfer speeds of 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) speeds now commonplace within corporate networks, users are looking towards the next performance benchmark; 1000 Mbps or one Gigabit per second (Gbps) to speed up workflow and give them access to the latest high resolution, high volume solutions such as CAD/CAM and multi dimensional graphics manipulation, writes Andy Robb, a technology specialist at Duxbury Networking.

Traditionally, these are the speeds at which vast quantities of data transverse corporate wide network backbones. Desktop PC users have been migrating from their commonplace 100 Mbps to these speeds for some time to address these and other high volume requirements.

With the increasing use of notebook computers in the workplace - research figures predict a 30%-plus growth in the next 12 months - the challenge facing network administrators today is how to give these users access to the ultra fast speeds common to their desktop user colleagues.

The fast-paced notebook market has recorded a number of quantum leaps in processor speed, screen resolution and size and the latest units are capable of delivering the same capacity, performance, resolution and ergonomics standards set by new desktops.

This means they are quite capable of handling the huge CAD, video or database files that were off-limits to desktops of only a year ago.

With little to differentiate the notebook from the desktop in terms of performance, users are expecting similar network-attached data transfer speeds.

After all, most corporate facilities are hard-wired for maximum bandwidth today. Network infrastructures now consists of fibre-optic and Category 5e or 6 cable capable of transmitting data at speeds of one Gbps-plus.

The high speed link to the laptop is being taken care of by new network interface cards that are 10/100/1000 Mbps capable. What's more, autosensing capabilities eliminate manual switching, so that the laptop can be linked seamlessly to home networks (running 100Mbps) and the corporate network (1000Mbps).

At the same time, there is also a growing and significant demand for high-speed Internet connections. Globally there are a select handful of organisations that have Internet2 (I2) connections, capable of transmitting data at a speed of 10 Gbps.

With the advances in laptop technology - how long before 10 Gigabit technology reaches the notebook user of the future?