We’ve seen multi-gigabit networks increasing in popularity worldwide as a potential solution for those wanting to not only upgrade networks to meet current demands but also future-proof businesses, schools, hospitals, and other organizations for whatever comes next.

Upgrading networks, though, is never an easy decision to make. With the prospect of networks being down for those who rely on them for work, or high costs being incurred, making network-wide switches can seem like a cumbersome task which should only be done when required.

We take a look at how multi-gig networks can benefit your organization, how to upgrade to multi-gig switching for your network, and the reasons why you might want to start now.

Why multi-gig?

It’s the IT manager’s job to choose the right network infrastructure. And, choosing the right network infrastructure depends on the unique needs and desires of each individual organization and geographic area. However, multi-gig networks could be an appropriate choice for many different kinds of networks, sizes of organizations, and types of activity running on top.

One of the primary benefits of switching to multi-gig is increasing bandwidth to support new demand due to growth in the number of users or devices on the network, or simply more bandwidth-heavy activities. In the past, system administrators looking to increase bandwidth from a single port would have to consider combining connections via link aggregation or upgrading the whole network to a 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Multi-gig networks resolve the inefficiency of link aggregation by only using one port per connection, and they eliminate the need for a full upgrade of the network cabling if a 10 Gigabit Ethernet were to be installed. With a multi-gig network, even starting with the 2.5 Gbps standard can be a huge upgrade in data capacity without negatively affecting the broader network, company activity, or the organization’s bottom line.

Why upgrade?

A more long-term benefit of switching to multi-gig is in future-proofing networks. While your business or organization might not currently work with VR, AR, voice technologies, or even large amounts of video content, the trend toward these technologies is clear. Education, health care, industry, media, and research are all investing in these new digital interfaces and businesses that are not geared up for this future risk being left behind.

It’s also not as disruptive to upgrade to multi-gig as you might expect. Upgrading your network to multi-gig is as simple as upgrading the switch. As Cat5e cabling is still the most common set-up in the walls and ceilings of businesses and organizations today, and most Cat5e cabling can already transfer at speeds up to 10 Gbps, network administrators can be assured that upgrading to multi-gig means doubling the speed without having to rip out old cables or severely affect business as usual.

Cat5e cabling is still the most common set-up in walls and ceilings of businesses

Why start now?

We are at the cusp of another wave of technological progress, where devices demand even more from networks, people conduct far more of their lives online, and the sheer volume of information being created continues to grow exponentially. Network administrators may already feel that their networks are out of date for the current demands, and so preparing for the future doesn’t just mean upgrading to fit the now, but building a network strategy that includes flexibility, a modular approach to fit an ever-evolving organization, and a foundation that allows for the network to be personalized over time to suit each organization’s needs. The fact that costs have also come down means that now is a very good time to make investments in adaptable IT systems.

Perhaps more bandwidth and speed isn’t a pressing need for your organization right now. However, you should still consider building that future-facing capacity into your network to ensure future needs and desires can be met just as effectively as they are today.