My NIC sucks

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My NIC sucks

Postposted on Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:34 pm

Comcast's service may be sub-par, but I think the problem I'm having is with my cheap-o Gigabyte NIC. I have this one desktop with the Gigabyte NIC, and two other laptops -- a Gateway netbook and a new Macbook -- that conect to the Internet with no problem. According to the GB drivers, I'm getting a good signal.

1. What can I do to determine conclusively that my NIC is the problem? I don't have any spare computers or NICs laying around to test with.

2. In what NIC should I invest to assure a trouble-free connection?
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Re: My NIC sucks

Postposted on Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:49 pm

I ditched my built in Marvell NIC for one of the Intel Pro/1000 PT adapters a few years ago.
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Re: My NIC sucks

Postposted on Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:56 pm

Yup, Intel gigabit NICs are the standard that others aspire to.
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Re: My NIC sucks

Postposted on Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:00 pm

It sounds like you're describing a WLAN adapter. What sort of problem are you having? The answer to that question determines troubleshooting.
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Re: My NIC sucks

Postposted on Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:10 am

But Marvell aint too shabby, at least not for workstations. I regularly get 95-98%+ utilization from mine. Although, NEVER EVER try to use the vlan filter driver since its a software feature, it will lower throughput enormously. From 950+mbps to somewhere around 250mbps and less.
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Re: My NIC sucks

Postposted on Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:59 am

If you're talking about a wireless NIC, not to put too fine a point on it, most desktop ones suck or at least that's been my experience of them. If I were you, I'd look at one of these along with an Intel 5100 or 5300 wireless adapter to go with it.
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Re: My NIC sucks

Postposted on Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:30 am

Yeah, should have been clearer. It's a wireless adapter. The problem is that most of the time my connection is painfully slow. Throughput is not the issue. The issue is that when I click on a link or enter a URL, the browser takes a long time to respond. I also noticed that if I click a link or enter a URL two times in succession, it makes the connection more responsive. This makes no sense to me, but it seems to work: I click a link, and nothing happens. I click a second time, and Firefox jumps to the page (though it still takes a while to load).
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Re: My NIC sucks

Postposted on Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:03 pm

Sounds like a DNS issue with it taking time to resolve the IP but then once the IP is there the throughput is good. Before blaming the hardware, double check that the DNS settings are the same on the machine that is giving trouble as those that are working well. Also check that you don't have IPv6 enabled on the slow machine as that can make DNS slow http://smallvoid.com/article/winnt-ipv6-dns-error.html
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Re: My NIC sucks

Postposted on Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:27 pm

Seconded on it likely being a DNS issue. Ever since all current OSes rolled out the security patches to implement DNS source port randomization, I've been experiencing symptoms similar to those described in the OP for any systems that run through my Netgear WGR614v5 router. I strongly suspect (but haven't proven conclusively) that the Netgear's NAT routing is getting confused by the port randomization, and dropping a lot of DNS responses on the floor. Unfortunately, Netgear appears to have abandoned this router; they haven't issued a firmware update for it in nearly 5 years. :evil:

I suggest you check whether there are any firmware upgrades available for your router, and see if that helps.

In my case, I've mitigated the issue by setting up a local DNS proxy... but the real solution is to ditch this POS router. I'm actually planning to do some tests tonight using one of my Linux boxes as my Internet firewall/router instead of the Netgear.
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Re: My NIC sucks

Postposted on Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:02 am

just brew it! wrote:In my case, I've mitigated the issue by setting up a local DNS proxy... but the real solution is to ditch this POS router. I'm actually planning to do some tests tonight using one of my Linux boxes as my Internet firewall/router instead of the Netgear.

I'd be real interested in seeing you write a blog about that. Specifically, IPv6 internal to IPv4 external. :D
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