Reply to post: Re: Well that was an invisible problem

Ooh, my machine is SO much faster than yours... Oh, wait, that might be a bit of a problem...

Philip Storry

Re: Well that was an invisible problem

Loath though I am to defend Microsoft, this really wasn't their issue.

The important thing to remember here, which isn't mentioned in the article, is that in 1990 switching wasn't really a thing for the average network. It would have been hubs, broadcasting every packet to every machine, with the network card simply ignoring anything that's not for its own MAC address.

To put that into context, I remember the first switch I ever saw. It was 1996 (IIRC). It was a dedicated 1U rackmountable unit from 3COM that had twelve 10/100Mb ports and cost around £14,500.

Yes, that's fourteen and a half grand.

I remember it well, mostly because I was ordered to steal it from a rival department. (It's a long story. Maybe some other time.)

Again, for context, our hub stacks were 3COM 24 port 10Mbs units, with the 100Mbs backplane connectors grouping them lumps of 4, and a dropdown cable between each group that glowed a soft red when the teams started playing DOOM at lunchtime...

When we implemented the switch we removed the dropdown cables and plugged each stack into the switch itself, along with our primary SQL Server, the domain controllers, the IIS server (because "intranet" was the latest buzzword), the Exchange server and the WAN link. That really eased up network traffic both for WAN and local users, and was regarded as £14,500 quid well spent.

These days, if you buy a network device that costs more than about £40 it'll have switching built in, and the scenario described here could never happen on that network. Only the cheapest of kit, or wireless networks (for obvious reasons), have no switching capabilities.

Of course, everyone probably has stories about managers decreeing that "we won't pay for cabling that new floor we've expanded into, we'll use wireless as it'll be cheaper" and then the network grinding to a halt every day between 08:30 and 10:00 as everyone logs on and Windows pulls down their profiles... ;-)

That'll be the closest we'd get to this story these days.

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