TechTalk: Bridging the Ethernet LAN

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Q: Our installation is running a 10 megabits per second (Mbps) Ethernet LAN. We're using bridges to segment our network. It seems as if we're experiencing a slowdown when data packets cross the bridge. Is there a simple solution to this problem?

A: Based on the information provided, I'd have to say yes, there is a simple solution: a switching hub. Switching hubs reduce contention on shared network topologies (such as Ethernet) via microsegmentation. In a microsegmented network, a LAN segment may contain as little as one node. The switching hub is charged with connecting the different segments without the delays typically associated with bridges. Traffic is handled through an internal matrix switch, with all switching being performed at the medium access control (MAC) layer. A packet's origination and destination addresses are quickly determined by the switching hub, and a connection is rapidly established with the appropriate end segment. Since no other stations share the communications port, no contention arises, and full bandwidth is available for transmission.

? Kris Neely

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