I have been using a 10/100 network for many, many years with no problems.
Just for the non-tech people, when speaking of network speeds, the above 10/100 means it will run at either 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps depending on hardware. Mbps=Megabits per second.
Our network here has all been running at 100Mbps and doing just fine.
Last year a friend of mine gave us a nice HP ProCurve switch. All of the modules were 10/100 switches. He mentioned that you could put another card in that works at 1000Mbps (Gigabit) if we needed it. Well, until recently, we did not have any need. Then I bought the new server. The new server came with a Gigabit network card (1000Mbps) so my friend gave me the Gigabit card for the switch. I installed it and hooked the server up to it. I did not do any tests before and after, but since nothing else was running Gigabit, I doubt it helped any.
Our most recent purchase was a new computer to run the projection software (www.easyworship.com) in our auditorium. It also came with a Gigabit network card. I got to thinking, maybe hooking both these up to run at Gigabit speeds could be helpful. We do transfer very large video files to this computer so a speed increase would be helpful. It is also quite a long cable run from our main switch to the auditorium so that slows things down as well. Unfortunately, the Gigabit card for the ProCurve switch only has one port. Also, we have two computers and a wireless router in the auditorium and those are hooked up to a regular 10/100 switch.
I checked out www.newegg.com and purchased two 5 port 10/100/1000 switches. They are TRENDnet TEG-S50g (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833156250). The cost was $24.99 each.
This time, I ran some tests before making any changes. I found a simple, free program that would write/read a 100MB file and time it for you. I ran it on the projection computer and had it test the speed between it and the server. So before any changes, it took around 9 seconds to write 100MB which equals about 87 Mbps.
When the two new switches arrived, I installed one with the ProCurve switch. I fed the Ethernet cable from the server and the auditorium into it. I also ran a short cable from it the the Gigabit port on the ProCurve switch. I then replaced the 10/100 switch in the auditorium with the second new switch.
My test results were quite impressive (at least to me). Running the same test as I mentioned above, it took only 1.5 seconds to write the 100MB file which equates to about 540 Mbps. No, it is not doing 1000 Mbps, but as I said before, it is a long Ethernet cable run so I am happy.
Thoughts of upgrading the whole network to Gigabit have crossed my mind, but I am not sure there is a real need. I see there is a TrendNet 16 port switch for $46.99. Hmmm.