The following is an article that explores the potential (and frequently realised) uses of Fast Ethernet in both the personal sphere and that of business.
Strictly speaking Fast Ethernet is a term that is applied to Ethernet connections with a rate of 100Mb/s (i.e., 100 megabits, or 100,000,000 bits, per second). These Ethernet connections are termed as such because they are 10 times faster than the original Ethernet. In practice the term can also be applied to speeds which reach a thousand times faster than that.
Fast Ethernet allows the transfer of large amounts of data at a faster rate and it is this feature that has led to its various uses, as it improves the capabilities of existing technologies as well as unlocking opportunities previously prohibited by the limits of traditional Ethernet speeds.
Wide Area Networks
Fast Ethernet is essential for the capabilities of Wide Area Networks (WANs) which allow businesses to operate securely across multiple office locations, providing them with private networks interconnected using leased lines or secure protocols (e.g., encrypted data packets). Whilst there are obvious efficiencies to centralising operations on a single site most businesses will be unable to avoid the necessity of having multiple sites such as branches. Fast Ethernet enabled WANs increase the feasibility of employees working seamlessly across such networks by allowing greater amounts of data to be transferred and therefore more complex IT functions to be performed which rely on these high data transfers. Importantly of course it will also increase the rate at which all transfers occur and therefore the speed of business operations.
Website Hosting
In short, websites are hosted, or stored, on servers which ‘serve’ the web page to the end user across the internet when they request it. As websites become more advanced they are including and displaying far more content than ever before whilst they are also increasingly relying on technologies which allow individual elements of the page to be updated after the web page has loaded. What’s more, there are more people using the internet than ever before and so successful websites will be hoping to attract thousands of these visitors. All this data flowing between the server and the multitude of end users at any given time puts more pressure on the networks that connect the servers up and connect the data centres (where servers are stored) to the rest of the internet. Again faster Ethernet connections can allow this data flow, prevent failed attempts to serve the web page and speed up loading times for the end users. The website visitor can access more content and functionality, more reliably and quickly; the website owner can keep their customers happier, providing them with more engaging services whilst exploring more profitable e-commerce avenues.
Gaming & Home Entertainment
Gaming requires the streaming of video and information data across networks, whether its streaming across a Local Area Network (LAN), or via cloud based gaming services which will run on remote server networks, accessed via the internet. Similarly, streaming of video, movies and TV for example, from central home media hubs or from cloud based providers is growing in popularity, as people look to access and store their video media in the digital world. Video in particular requires a very large amount of data to be transferred per second, especially when the video being streamed is high definition. Fast Ethernet networks, at both the home network and service provider levels, are vital to facilitate collaborative gaming and on demand home entertainment by allowing the video, audio and interactive game-play to be responsive as the mass of data is exchanged between the central servers and each player or consumer.
Video Conferencing
Rich video conferencing as part of a unified communications package requires the streaming of video, again preferably high definition, together with voice data (VoIP – Voice over the Internet Protocol) and complimentary services such as instant messaging and document collaboration. With such services, enterprise users can communicate effectively and timely, whilst saving them the lost time and productivity of travelling between locations. Businesses that use the technology are empowered to operate across disparate offices and engage with customers and suppliers across the globe.

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