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Gigabit Switch vs Fast Ethernet Switch: What’s the Difference & Function?



Gigabit Switch vs Fast Ethernet Switch

The increased demand for higher bandwidth capacity has led to the development of Gigabit Ethernet and Fast Ethernet. We have been using Ethernet switches to transmit data across devices for years.

Both gigabit switches and fast Ethernet switches have an important role to play in the network edge. But before you decide to get a network switch, you need to determine which one is more suitable for you.

If you are not familiar with the difference between a fast Ethernet and gigabit switch, you have come to the right place. In this post, we will discuss the difference between the two switches in detail.

Our Top Picks: Gigabit Switch and Fast Ethernet Switch

Best Gigabit Switch

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Best Fast Ethernet Switch

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The Function of Gigabit Switch

Gigabit switches are the latest standard of Ethernet switches, which were first introduced as IEEE 802.3ab in 1999, and as IEEE 802.3ah in 2004.

It supports transfer speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second or 1000 megabits per second. Standard IEEE 802.3ab makes Gigabit switch suitable for 1000 Base T networks and UTP cabling.

Gigabit switches with IEEE 802.3ab standard are applied for both desktop users and industry working with the Category 5 cables. On the other hand, Standard IEEE 802.3ah certified Gigabit switches are for additional 1000 Base T network protocols. It is especially meant for 1000 Base BX10 and 1000 Base LX10 for fiber optic transmissions and multi-mode fiber, respectively.

Gigabit Ethernet-enabled devices and appliances can transfer data packets at a much faster rate than Faster Ethernet. While a Fast Ethernet switch has a transmission speed of 10 megabits per second, a Gigabit switch transfers data packets at a rate of 1 gigabit per second.

To put it simply, a Gigabit switch has a transmission speed 100 times faster than a Fast Ethernet switch.

Gigabit switches are used for connecting multiple bandwidth-intensive devices. It is also suitable for broadband internet connections for high-quality streaming, and other demanding online activities.

Gigabit Ethernet applications comprise gigabit switches that can transfer data between multiple network appliances and IP security cameras. It also includes switches that support high-quality signal transfer between home servers and HD monitors and televisions.

The function of Fast Ethernet Switch

Fast Ethernet is an upgraded version of standard Ethernet which was initiated as IEEE 802.3u in 1995. It provides data transmission speeds of up to 100 megabits per second.

It supports 100 Base T networks as well as 10 Base T networks. This allows users to enjoy faster Ethernet speeds even without upgrading their network systems.

Fast Ethernet switches are 10x faster than standard Ethernet switches. They can also maintain a connection with high-speed servers while reducing bandwidth bottlenecks. It is ideal for network systems that include multiple IoT, and IP video cameras. It supports complex networks that include more than one bandwidth-intensive package at the same time.

Fast Ethernet devices and appliances can easily run on UTP cabling, including Category 5 and other high-rated cables. But the maximum ideal length of the cable is 100 meters. Also, it might have limited bandwidth.

Fiber optic transmission allows for increased bandwidth capacity over longer distances. This enables Fast Ethernet-enabled devices and appliances to work with full potential.

When to use Gigabit Switches?

A Gigabit switch can be used for your home or office network. But before you decide to upgrade your network to Gigabit Ethernet, you should know the benefits it will offer.

You must understand that all network operations are benefited from Gigabit Ethernet. For example, a Gigabit Ethernet cannot speed up things like uploading or downloading files, or web browsing. These activities are limited by the speed of your internet plan.

However, if there is more than one user on the same network, Gigabit Ethernet will provide more bandwidth to go around. This in turn will reduce network lagging or congestion. Plus, it will improve the overall performance. Gigabit Ethernet is also helpful when transferring large files over the network.

You will need a Gigabit Ethernet switch when you don’t have enough Gigabit Ethernet ports for your wired devices. If you often use wires for faster speed, you can get Gigabit Ethernet ports installed in your home wall. But using a Gigabit switch is surely a better idea.

When to use Fast Ethernet Switches?

Fast Ethernet switches are an upgraded version of the original Ethernet switch. It supports speeds up to 100 megabits per second.

A fast Ethernet switch works over Cat5 cables. They include RJ45 ports that help you to connect all your network components. It can transfer data in 10/100/1000 megabits per second. But the problem is that it doesn’t have an interface to support the gigabit speed. Hence, they are not suitable for larger businesses.

Fast Ethernet switches are ideal for home networks. It is also suitable for people who are looking for a cheaper option.

Pros & Cons of Gigabit Switch

A gigabit Ethernet switch makes the best choice when you are looking for fast internet speed. It can handle the fastest internet connections without hassles. It is designed to meet high-speed LAN demands. The best thing about a gigabit switch is that it is future-proof. With a gigabit switch, you can enjoy maximum data travel and internet speed. That being said, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a gigabit switch.

Pros

  • Provides fast internet speeds.
  • Future-proof.
  • Supports speeds up to 1000 Mbps.
  • Best for large businesses.

Cons

  • Very expensive.
  • Requires gigabit compatible network hardware.

Pros & Cons of Fast Ethernet Switch

A Fast Ethernet can handle speeds of up to 100 Mbps. It is usually faster than your internet connection. This type of network switch is enough to meet your LAN needs. So if you want an Ethernet switch for your small business or home, you can opt for a Fast Ethernet switch. But before that, let’s check out the pros and cons of a Fast Ethernet switch.

Pros

  • Best for old network setups.
  • More affordable.
  • Fast enough for LAN.
  • Has the same functionality as a Gigabit switch.

Cons

  • Drops speed when used heavily.
  • Outdated.
  • Slower than a gigabit switch.

Check The Difference Between Gigabit Switch vs Fast Ethernet Switch

Gigabit Switch Fast Ethernet Switch
It can transfer data packets at a rate of 1000 Mbps per second.It offers a transmission speed of 100 Mbps per second.
It is suitable for applications that demand high internet speeds.It is ideal for small businesses and home applications.
It has a delay of 4000-bit times.It has a delay of 100-150 bit times.
It requires specifically designed Ethernet switches and devices.It does not have any specific requirements.
It is difficult to configure.It is easy to configure as it doesn’t include any specific devices.
It is expensive and requires a major investment when it comes to upgrading your network to Gigabit Ethernet.It is affordable and doesn’t require any heavy investment.
It provides a coverage of 70 km.It can cover up to 10 km.
It is energy efficient.It consumes more power.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How much traffic can a Gigabit switch handle?

Ans: A Gigabit Ethernet switch can transmit over 81000 full-size frames per second. Since Gigabit Ethernet runs in full-duplex, it can receive 81000 frames at the same time.

Q2. What does a Fast Ethernet switch do?

Ans: A Fast Ethernet switch can transfer data at a rate of 10 megabits per second. It is faster than a standard Ethernet switch.

Q3. Will a Gigabit switch give you faster internet speed?

Ans: A Gigabit Switch cannot increase your internet speed. For example, if you are using a 10Mbps connection, the most speed you will get is 10Mbps.

Conclusion

We have pointed out some of the major classifications for both switches. Now your confusion for both must have been cleared. Based on your requirement, you can buy the right one.

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Routernetwork Editor

I am Editor, in charge of designing content for Routers Network. I aspire to use my experiences in marketing to create reliable and necessary information related to Networking.

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