Tech Talk

The future of LAN modules

Innodisk EGPL-T101


Last updated 25 February 2022

Before we start to look into developments in LAN modules, lets take a step back an understand what  LAN is.

 

What is LAN?

A local area network (LAN) is a collection of devices connected together in one physical location, such as a building, office, or home. A LAN can be small or large, ranging from a home network with one user to an enterprise network with thousands of users and devices in an office or school.

A LAN comprises cables, access points, switches, routers, and other components that enable devices to connect to internal servers, web servers, and other LANs via wide area networks (WAN).

Regardless of size, a LAN's single defining characteristic is that it connects devices that are in a single, limited area. In contrast, a wide area network or metropolitan area network (MAN) covers larger geographic areas. Some WANs and MANs connect many LANs together.

The Rise of connected devices

The rise of virtualization has also fuelled the development of virtual LANs, which enable network administrators to logically group network nodes and partition their networks without a need for major infrastructure changes.

For example, in an office with multiple departments, such as accounting, IT support, and administration, each department's computers could be logically connected to the same switch but segmented to behave as if they are separate.

What are the benefits of a LAN?

The advantages of a LAN are the same as those for any group of devices networked together. The devices can use a single Internet connection, share files with one another, print to shared printers, and be accessed and even controlled by one another.

Are there different types of LANs?

In general, there are two types of LANs: client/server LANs and peer-to-peer LANs.

A client/server LAN consists of several devices (the clients) connected to a central server. The server manages file storage, application access, device access, and network traffic. A client can be any connected device that runs or accesses applications or the Internet. The clients connect to the server either with cables or through wireless connections.

Typically, suites of applications can be kept on the LAN server. Users can access databases, email, document sharing, printing, and other services through applications running on the LAN server, with read and write access maintained by a network or IT administrator. Most midsize to large business, government, research, and education networks are client/server-based LANs.

With more and more devices becoming connected via networks herein lies a potential problem, the speed of which data is transferred back and forth to the end device. Let’s take the simple office computer. A group of office computers will be on a local area network (LAN) which consists of a series of computers linked together to form a network in a defined location. The computers in a LAN connect to each other via TCP/IP Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Typically, office or home PCs can run easily off speeds of 1Gbps.

While the benefits of having devices connected to a network have always been well understood, it wasn't until the wide deployment of Wi-Fi technology that LANs became commonplace in nearly every type of environment, including restaurants, coffee shops, stores, hotels – pretty much everywhere.

Wireless connectivity has also greatly expanded the types of devices that can be connected to a LAN. Now, nearly everything imaginable can be "connected," from PCs, printers, and phones to smart TVs, stereos, speakers, lighting, thermostats, window shades, door locks, security cameras--and even coffeemakers, refrigerators, and toys – the list goes on.

Standard LANs work off a 1GbE however they can no longer fulfil the required speeds for more complex and faster speeds. If 1GbE isn’t fast enough what other options are available? What about 10GbE?

In a digitized and technology-powered world, demand for high-speed Ethernet is rising in tandem with Industry 4.0, the installation of advanced software, and cloud computing.

What is 10GbE?

10GbE, short for 10 Gigabit Ethernet, or 10GigE, is a group of technologies for an ultra-fast wired network that transmits data frames at a rate of 10 billion bits per second.  When inter-devices transferring data reach the limits of your network, 10GbE is the answer.

Do I need a 10GbE network?

The average computer doesn't need a 10Gb connection and can cope just fine on traditional 1 gigabit Ethernet. Unless you're in need of a faster connection, typically for work purposes, you might find yourself paying unnecessary prices for high speeds you just don't need.

How fast is 10 Gbps? 

With 10 GbE, you can download a 4K movie in less than 30 seconds or stream around 1,700 movies simultaneously. To put it into context, the average broadband speed in the UK is 51 Mbps.

10GbE networks are more suited to edge devices and industrial applications and systems that are gathering and transmitting a constant stream of data, through 100’s if not 1000’s of devices to a central storage location. 

What solutions are available for 10GbE expansion?

Innodisk has released the world’s first M.2 10GbE expansion solution to meet the demand for increased speed and reduced size, high-speed LAN solutions. The EGPL-T101 M.2 2280 10GbE LAN module is a small 10GbE solution with low-latency and low power consumption. It is also 10x faster than standard Gigabit Ethernet and features flexible integration and excellent compatibility with existing network infrastructure for backward compatibility. The EGPL-T101 is ideal for upgrading existing systems to cope with increased demand and transfer speeds required for edge devices.

Rather than replacing existing systems, upgrading is a far more cost-effective option. The backward compatibility of the T101 supports 10/5/2.5/1Gbps and 100/10Mbps so covers many bases and can be swapped out in minutes

If you have multiple devices that are be deployed on the edge of a network gathering data but the transfer speeds are simply not cutting it, then a 10GbE LAN module could be the solution you are looking for. 

What industries would benefit from 10GbE expansion modules?

Where do we start! The honest answer is any industry network that requires a 10 Gigabit Ethernet network and as mentioned, has the requirement for transferring data at super-fast speeds. Industries include but not limited to; surveillance, gaming, industrial automation, machine vision (automatic inspection/process control/robot guidance) to name a few.

In a world obsessed with speed, it is easy to forget that speed is only one aspect of performance. For many applications, latency (or time delay) is a much more important performance aspect. Typically, 10GbE delivers much lower latency so any delay in the transmission of data is often unnoticeable. 

If you have devices that might be deployed on the edge of a network gathering data but the transfer speeds are simply not cutting it then a 10GbE LAN module could be the solution you are looking for. 

Innodisk provide a range of LAN modules and other embedded peripherals, click here to find out more https://www.simms.co.uk/embedded-peripherals/ 

Watch the video review of the EGPL-T101 from Brue Computing below

Author

Graham

Graham is the Marketing Lead for the Industrial & Embedded team and has a wealth of knowledge in this area, with an extensive background in aviation, aerospace and defence.