Chapter 19. Ethernet Performance

Performance is an umbrella term that means different things to different people. To a network designer, the performance of Ethernet equipment means the ability of that equipment to operate at the full bit and frame rate of the Ethernet channel. On the other hand, for the user of a network, performance often refers to how quickly the network-based application they are using responds to their commands. In this case, the performance of the Ethernet channel that the user’s computer is connected to is only one component in a whole set of entities that must work together to deliver network applications.

Since this is a book about Ethernet local area networks (LANs), we will focus on the performance of the Ethernet channel. Along the way, we will also show how the performance of the network is affected by the whole set of elements that provide application services between computers.

Network performance includes a range of components and concepts. The first part of this chapter discusses the performance of the Ethernet channel itself. We will examine some of the theoretical and experimental analysis that has been used to determine the performance of an Ethernet channel. Later, we discuss what reasonable traffic levels on a real-world Ethernet can look like. We also describe what kind of traffic measurements you can make, and how to make them.

In the last part of the chapter, we show that various kinds of traffic have different response time requirements. ...

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