Title: "Why Leave Token-Ring?" Copyright © 2002 Author: Andy Quick Contact Author: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Publishing Guidelines: You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as a link to "FindMyHosting - Web Hosting Search" is included. For link URL, please use http://www.findmyhosting.com Although preferred, no notification required.
Why Leave Token-Ring? Andy Quick
One day I was having a discussion with a telecommunications director, swapping stories about network projects we were each working on. "We propose to spend $100,000 replacing all of our token-ring local area networks throughout system next year.", he said. "Token-Ring is old, out dated junk that has reached end of its life." "So what?", I responded. "Just because something is old doesn't mean it needs to be replaced." "Come on.", he responded, "Token-Ring completely limits ability of new applications on desktop to take advantage of client-server and web-based applications. PC's are useless on Token-Ring networks." "I completely disagree", I argued. "I'll bet you're about to waste some of your company's money on this project." Before you decide to make a blanket switch from a Token-Ring architecture to Ethernet, analyze costs, benefits, and risks.
Show Me The Money
"What money are you saving by switching to Ethernet?", I asked my colleague. "What's financial justification?". "Like I said", he responded, "Ethernet is cheaper and faster. Over time, our company will spend less on keeping networks up." Although this may be true, investing $100,000 without quantifying benefits up front may mean you're throwing money down drain. We shouldn't rely on our gut to make these types of spending decisions. Unfortunately, many technology professionals attempt to justify projects using qualitative benefits. Always strive to convert qualitative benefits into hard numbers. "That would be nice, but it would take forever to quantify benefits" he said. "This is a strategic project. You really can't put a value on this type of initiative." I totally disagree. But rather than argue further, I decided to perform analysis on spot with help of my colleague.
Identify Conversion Costs
Before you can determine whether switching from Token-Ring to Ethernet makes sense, you have to identify costs of actual conversion. Usually, these are easy to quantify. My friend provided me with following figures:
Per PC, conversion costs are:
Labor - $75 Cabling - $200 (they're running category I cabling and need to convert to category 5)
Per floor, conversion costs are:
Ethernet switch - $150 (includes labor)
Per site, conversion costs are:
Intra-floor cabling - $200 (includes labor)
The next question I asked was how many sites, floors per site, and PC's per floor were in scope of his project. He again provided me with good numbers:
Site A - 5 floors, 20 PC's per floor Site B - 1 floor, 50 PC's per floor Site C - 3 floors, 17 PC's per floor Site D - 8 floors, 22 PC's per floor
So entire project cost would be calculated as follows:
Site A Conversion Cost = $200 + (5 x $150) + (5 x 20 x $275) = $28,450 Site B Conversion Cost = (1 x $150) + (50 x $275) = $13,900 Site C Conversion Cost = $200 + (3 x $150) + (3 x 17 x $275) = $14,675 Site D Conversion Cost = $200 + (8 x $150) + (8 x 22 x $275) = $49,800