T.H.E Journal, June 1999, p. 24


The authors describe the process of scalability, a scheme by which a network can be grown over time to accommodate more users and with an increased number of applications. Using scalability allows your school district to increase bandwidth when you can afford it and without having to re-install what was already in place.

The first key to scalability is to employ switching to replace shared technology. This will increase the bandwidth each end user receives. For example, in shared technology, all end users vie for a piece of 10 Mbps of bandwidth. With switched technology, each end user will enjoy at least that much bandwidth alone, dramatically increasing the speed at which tasks can be completed.

Switching can be achieved using your existing infrastructure and has now become an alternative and cost-effective procedure for schools. Here are five key elements to installing a switched network:

1. 10/100 Network Interface Cards.

2. 10/100 Switches at strategic locations.

3. Fiber optic infrastructure.

4. Gigabit switches for large districts or to accommodate large bandwidth.

5. Network management software.