On a busy network what requirements do you suggest for video conferencing, e-mail, shopping cart and images, etc.?
It really depends on the number of users as well as what you are running. The best thing to do is to look at your existing traffic and plan above that. For instance, if you want to add video, you will need to look at your utilization at its highest point and plan on that being the norm. Real time applications are not particularly fond of dropped packets. Many companies are implementing gigabit to the desktop as applications are becoming increasingly larger (translated bigger network hogs). Some companies do gigabit backbones and still are happy with 10/100 (although in the next few years, I doubt seriously if that will remain true). Some only do gigabit to power users or servers. Bear in mind that you have to plan for growth and what you need in the future as well if you don't want to budget upgrades in the next couple of years. There are already gigabit VoIP phones on the market that incorporate video. E-mail can vary depending on the size of the e-mail and your acceptable wait times. One mistake that many companies make is to look at utilization averages. If your reporting package averages based on 24 hours, your numbers will be artificially low. If you really want a network that screams, I would suggest gigabit. It will carry you far. If the circuits are underutilized, the cost differential is low enough that it won't matter, but will supply you with room to grow without costly upgrades. You can limit the speeds on any ports that you feel necessary.