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Fragmentation Affects Internet Performance

With the decreasing costs associated with today’s bandwidth technologies, a high speed connection can easily be had by every corporation. Of course, proper implementation of defrag software ensures a speedy connection stays that way. Despite the number of employees or file transfers within an organization, fragmentation can and will occur on a daily basis.

Every business plugged into the net has experienced a sluggish file transfer at least once. Now, while most of these download issues are related to latency and bandwidth, there is another critical factor involved…fragmentation.

Fragmentation can be broken down into the following two categories:

1. Whole files that are broken into numerous pieces and scattered across hard drives.
2. Free space on hard drives that is broken into various sections across the drives.

When a new file is downloaded, regardless of origin, the operating system has to quickly locate a section of free space for the file to reside. However, if the designated gap of free space is smaller in size than the file in question, the excess part of the file spills into the next available piece of free space. And thus, we see how easily fragmentation can develop…signifying the need to defrag.

Let’s take a look at an example of how fragmentation occurs over the Internet. When a user downloads a file from the net, it is initially copied to a temporary location on the computer before being transferred to the intended location once the file download process completes. Now, depending on the current level of fragmentation, the time necessary to actually download and copy the file to the appropriate location can be dramatically increased.

The very same phenomenon can be seen regarding file transfers over a local network as well. With the immeasurable number of internal file transfers that occur daily in corporate America, the affects of fragmentation can be staggering.

Today, many small businesses depend on a single file server to handle the workload of their entire organization. In such a scenario, fragmentation soon occurs on a large scale due to frequent local file transfers and modifications. As you might expect, this puts a damper on production and, in some cases, can bring it to a halt completely.

While a broadband connection can definitely increase production, fragmentation can make routine downloads feel like dialup. Without defrag software, a business can end up stalled on the Information Superhighway.

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