It’s easy to just go along with what’s working. 100-Mbps Ethernet seems perfectly adequate right now and your four-year-old server does the job.
But standards and speed requirements increase quickly. New software requires more speed and power. Network security needs to prevent ever more sophisticated threats. Obsolete hardware is less efficient and increases downtime, leading to wasted time and user frustration. Older software is often retired, so the vendor no longer provides security patches. Or you may receive files from other organizations in a newer format and be unable to open them.
This need to upgrade isn’t planned obsolescence. Upgrades are necessary because technology is evolving so quickly. The often- quoted Moore’s law states that computing power doubles every 18 months. Although eventually there will be some logical limit to this rapid growth, today you can expect that computers and network equipment will become obsolete about every three years. You can expect a somewhat longer life cycle for network infrastructure such as cabling and connectors. Software may need to be replaced or upgraded more often—sometimes every few months.
Network infrastructure, computers, and software need to be replaced regularly to stay up to date and function efficiently. Ideally, upgrading a network is an ongoing process, with some components being replaced every year on a planned schedule. Trying to save money by not performing needed upgrades often costs you more in the long run. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to wait until the situation becomes critical, requiring an upgrade “right now” to perform some critical task. This situation is not only aggravating, it also leads to making errors in purchasing and installation.