how important is flow control on an ethernet switch?

Discussion in 'Networking and Computer Security' started by jrtepper, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. jrtepper

    jrtepper Geek Trainee

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    I found a great deal on a gigabit ethernet switch, but it has a few limitations; I'd like some insight into how much they will affect performance.

    First, the switch does not support 803.2x (flow control on full duplex switches via a pause frame). To what degree will this affect performance? There will definitely be some machines on the switch using 100 Mbit ethernet (including a router) while others will be using gigabit ethernet. Thus, I'd guess that without flow control there will definitely be dropped frames. However, it seems like most people are uncertain as to whether or not flow control will actually improve switching performance. Insights?

    Next, while the switch supports up to 10 GBit of total switching throughput, it only supports up to 2 GBit of fully duplexed connections--maybe the reason flow control isn't implemented. In practice, will this limitation affect performance? The only programs that I can think of that would really benefit from fully duplexed streams are apache and the sftp server (but maybe there are others). So is this a problem?

    To be sure, this switch is not being used for anything special; definitely not hpc. I guess the real reason for my concern is that I'm getting my money's worth.

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