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Computer Networking

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1. You have just begun working as a networking consultant with MTI Technologies Inc.
One of your first tasks is to help troubleshoot a small Ethernet network at a tax preparation office. The backbone of this network consists of six hubs connected in a bus fashion. Three of the hubs service workgroups of 10 workstations each. One of the hubs services two file servers and two shared printers. In anticipation of tax season and a heavier workload, the organization recently upgraded its network from 10BaseT to100BaseT. However, they have not seen any of the performance increases they expected. Before even visiting the firm, what can you suggest as reasons for the less than optimal performance?

If one of the NICs is not capable of 100BASE-TX the entire network will operate on 10BASE-T even if all of the hubs and other NICs are capable of negotiating 100BASE-TX. If there are a large number of transceivers trying to talk at once on a hub-based network they will jam up as packet switched traffic is inherently bursty. There's a limit to the number of repeaters that can be installed between any two hosts on a hub network. There is no such limitation for switches, which is what I would recommend for the company. 10BASE-T allows for 4 repeaters between hosts, but 100BASE-TX allows for only two and only under very strict circumstances. If my initial assessment of the topology is correct, each case involves no less than 3 hubs: one for the workstation group, one for the backbone bus itself, and one for the other workstation group or the servers. This setup would work for 10BASE-T but not 100BASE-TX. Setting up the network described using 100BASE-TX hubs would most likely fail.

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