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Networking is largely about connecting together devices so that information can be shared between them. Since the idea is to send data from one place to another, a very important characteristic of any network is its speed: How fast can data be transmitted and received? This matter of speed turns out to be only one of several issues that determine the overall performance of a network.

In the computing world, performance is, in general, one of the most discussed but least understood characteristics of any system or hardware device. This is true of networking as well. For example, most people know ...

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