Using existing Ethernet for other devices


I have a LAN setup at college, I want to be able to use the same LAN to plug in other hardware(such as a voice address system) without compromising communications over the LAN. Is this possible and can someone point me to resources on the web that they know of ?
I need this for a project for my prof. We also have a 802.11b Wireless LAN, so we can use that as an alternative to the Ethernet too.

Thanks in advance :)
Any new load on a network will degrade it's performance. The questions are how much additional degradation does each new funciton add and how much additional degradation can the other network functions tolerate.

You also did not mention the existing network bandwidth. Ethernet comes in 3 flavors (last time I checked) 10 megabits, 100 megabits and 1 gigabit (there may be a version around 200 gigabits also).

Voice messaging will work with minimal degradation on any version.
Real time video streaming will degrade anything but the 1 gig substantially.

You mentioned a lab. If you are using the LAN to run a real time operations risk of degradation will depend on the real time task frame rate(s) or if the task is asynchronous and how many data packets are required. If your existing tasks are not real time then risk is minimal.

There are limited ability LAN throughput tools available in windows to monitor network load and there are free or trial tools on the web for download.

BTW You did not mention operating system OS for terminals and server. Or is it peer to peer?

Now to the real answer. First you have to create a statement of work:
1) Define existing network, HW & SW and functions performed with the bandwidth required.
2) Define growth requirements in order of priority and estimate their bandwidth requirements.
3) Define special requirements like real time process control.

If all this sounds like work. It is, that's what life turns into after you graduate (plus the proposals, budget requests, power point charts, etc).

Short answer is unless you're running real time functions go download "ventrillo" for free. Install the Host software on the server and a client copy on each PC on the network. It won't even degrade a 10 meg network noticeable since it uses compression and it has excellent sound quality. The software can be configured for VOX or PTT (that's voice activated or push to talk mapped to a normally unused key). The software will allow 6 clients and duplex 2 way communications.

PS I hope I didn't scare you too badly with that real life stuff up above. Enjoy still being in school. It goes down hill fast after graduation. And stay in India. Thats where all the jobs are headed. ;)


Thanks for you really informative reply Lee :) the thing I want to do is to interface various 8051 controlled devices so that they can talk to eash other over the ethernet or if possible over the wireless LAN. The ethernet is a 100 Mbps LAN. Implementing voice comm is just part of the thing, they are to be used for various other control purposes. They will be coordinated through a central server running Windows Server 2000. It wont be used for continuous real time monitoring but for things like ringing the bell when the class period is over, switching off the lights and the AC when the lecture is over, in upto 6 different classrooms. I hope you get the idea. In fact the control thing is more of a priority right now rather than the voice comm. The only thing I dont know how to implement is to get the controllers to talk to each other over the ethernet. Thanks for your time and patience.

PS. I am enjoying my stay in school and my country :D and, its not that bad with the jobs :p


Folding Team
Adding those controllers to the network shouldn't degrade the network in any way. The traffic for the controllers should be rediculously small compared to the capacity of the network.

I don't think voice communication should bother the network either unless it's very poorly implemented, or if the network is an allready heavily loaded 10Mbit network.
100 mbps no problem for those added funcitons. Here are some commercial product links but it sounds like you are supposed to develop your own from 8051 controllers. Besides most commercial products are intended for industiral use where the idiots are willing to pay 1000% mark up because they are technically inept.

Note the amusing price variations for essentially the same circuit cards.

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