Gigabit Ethernet Overview
Ethernet was first developed in the 1970s and is now the de facto standard for computer networking. Before Gigabit Ethernet came into play, the last major enhancement to the protocol was Fast Ethernet, a development that raised the maximum data speed on Ethernet to 100 Mbps form its initial 10 Mbps. At 1,000 Mbps, Gigabit Ethernet increased Ethernet speed by another factor of ten, offering more significant benefits than the change to Fast Ethernet. Right now, computer desktops and servers are frequently equipped for Gigabit Ethernet out of box.
Gigabit Ethernet adapters, cables, switches and routers look a lot like those made for Fast Ethernet (with the exception of gigabit fiber), so just about any computer that ran on Fast Ethernet can be upgraded to gigabit. The important thing to remember is that in order to have a Gigabit Ethernet connection established, both ends and the cable need to be capable of operating at gigabit speeds. This means that gigabit and Fast Ethernet can coexist, on the same network. For example, companies can still maintain Fast Ethernet nodes while still improving network performance by maintaining a gigabit backbone.
The IEEE has approved 10 Gbps standards for fiber and twisted pair, a technology that is now replacing gigabit backbones on corporate networks.
A gigabit router is necessary in order to connect network nodes at implement gigabit speeds across a network. The router can b
e connected to either a T1 or other high speed connection or to the corporate backbone. The router is programmed to forward incoming data to desired destinations and to appropriately route outbound data to its appropriate destination. Routers are effective in the enterprise for defining subnets, routing packets and for managing Quality of Service (QoS) for various service types and protocols.
Formerly a technology found in corporate environments, gigabit routers are now available for consumers via retail outlets. Home networking users should keep in mind that only gigabit enabled devices will be able to communicate with their gigabit router at 1,000 Mbps speeds. While a home router might be able to provide gigabit speeds on the network, users should not expect to have gigabit service through the broadband modem to the Internet.
Restricting unauthorized access to a network and repelling attacks from external sources is done by a network device called a firewall. Legitimate traffic is allowed to flow through the firewall to the router, but other traffic is rejected. The firewall inspects every packet that is entering the network and evaluates its source and credentials. If the packet is permissible by the firewall’s programming, it allows the packet through so it can be handled by the router.
While many consumer firewalls run as services on personal computers, dedicated hardware firewalls are usually implicated in the corporate environment. Firewalls can function as a packet filter, application security gateway, or as a proxy.
Advantages of Gigabit Ethernet Network Firewall Routers
Gigabit Ethernet firewall routers are made to combine the function of a firewall and a router in a single device. The router and firewall functions still need to be programmed as the would if they were discrete components. The advantages of having a combined device include space savings, as well as convenience, since the router and firewall functions can be programmed and maintained at the same time through the same console. Depending on the specific specifications of the devices, a cost savings can also be realized by implementing a Gigabit Ethernet firewall router rather than a separate router and firewall.