How we tested with SmartBits

How we tested with SmartBits

• The GCN Lab used the SmartBits 2000 test system from Netcom Systems Inc. of Calabasas, Calif., to measure the Layer 2 communications performance of three switch configurations.

• Of the 50 ports tested, the lab staff set 36 of them to 100 Mbps and full duplex, 12 to 10 Mbps and full duplex, and two to 1 Gbps and full duplex.

• GCN configured SmartBits 2000 6.60 firmware with 48 ML-7710 cards, which use RJ-45 plugs. Standard Category 5 cable connected the switches. The SmartBits 2000 device also had two GX-1405B cards connected to the switches via SX fiber cable.

• Netcom Systems' SmartApplications 2.22 software controlled the tests.

• The lab tested with seven different Ethernet packet sizes: 64, 128, 256, 512, 1,024, 1,280 and 1,518 bytes. The packet type was User Datagram Protocol, as required by the Network Working Group's Request For Comments 1242, the standards document for measuring performance of Ethernet and Fast Ethernet devices. All tests lasted 60 seconds.

• Overall grades are based on the following attributes: performance, which accounts for 50 percent; management, 25 percent; and value, 25 percent.

• Performance testing examined two different data traffic patterns.'Many-to-one tests simulated all clients attached to one or two servers. For these tests, the client loads per server varied from all being attached to a single server to a 50-50 split with 24 clients per server. One-to-one tests simulated client-to-client traffic and server-to-server traffic. Client-to-client traffic examined intraswitch and interswitch communications.

• As a part of the performance grade, GCN examined throughput, lost packets and latency. The lab staff set the management grade based on ease of setup and management interface.

• The staff determined value by the overall price compared against performance.

GCN Lab assistant Arthur Moser contributed to this report.

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