Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reading Router Specification Carefully

As Internet bandwidth is ever increasing, routers are not performing fast enough to handle the increased load. Many router manufacturers are unable to catch-up with this and start playing numbers tricks. Having that said, buyer should be aware when choosing their next router, whether it’s a load balancing router or not.

System Performance/ Backplane Performance
These are more or less the capacity of the router hardware only. As an analogy, the Hard Disk Drive using SATA Interface has a performance capacity of 1.5Gbit/second. However, this number is just one of the many parameters that give you real performance. Writing file to your hard disk is also limited by, how fast the data is coming in, how fast the hard disk is spinning, etc. This is what happening with the router too. Router differs from the switch for its routing software inside, and the bandwidth after routing is usually slower than the backplane performance.

Throughput
This is the magic number you should be looking for. The faster a router throughput is, the more capable of this router in real world situation. Some router manufacturers call this utilization of routing performance, but they all imply the same thing. Throughput is the practical bandwidth after the routing software works.

The routing software will, for example, monitor TCP packets and applies the QoS feature. The more features a router has, the more resources it takes to process the traffic. This something you should consider when choosing your next router

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