Ethernet Speed question

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Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:34 am

Hopefully this is a simple question - I think it is.

2 computers linked through a NETGEAR router (WGR614 v7) via CAT6 cable, about 6 feet apart. A 3rd computer in another room links wirelessly.

Between the 2 wired computers I get 12MB/s tops for simple file transfers. Can that possibly be right? Acceptable? It really stinks. Is it because this router is so old?

Not to mention the 3rd computer, the one that connects wirelessly is always dropping the signal and constantly needs the router to be rebooted (which fixes the problem until the next session).

If I have to live with these slow-ass speeds, fine. But I find it hard to believe I can only transfer files at 12MB/s.

Any ideas, opinions, clues? If I have to buy a new router I will.

Thanks for any thoughts you can share.

[edit: all computers are running Win7 through a Homegroup. Both (wired Ethernet) computers using Realtek PCIe Family Controller - 12MB/s speed indicated by MS File Transfer pop-up]
Last edited by canoli on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
canoli
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Re: Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:45 am

The wired ports on that router are only 100 Mbit, not gigabit.

You either need to upgrade the router, or get a gigabit switch and plug both PCs and the router into that. If you're happy with the router other than the wired speed issue, I'd go with the switch.
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Re: Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:49 am

Sounds like 100Mb/s and not Gigabit speeds and whilst the product spec has been removed from Netgear's page http://www.afrisys.co.za/netgear/wgr614.htm confirms the 4 port switch is 100Mb/s.

If you can live with the wifi side of things then add a 4 port gigabit switch in front of the router and make sure all the wired computers have gigabit NICs. N.B. Only use 1 cable from the switch to the router LAN port and it doesn't have to be crossover as the GigE spec mandates Auto MDI-X. Alternatively pick up a new router and make sure the wired ports are GigE capable.

Once you are on GigE your speeds will then likely be determined by the speed of your storage subsystem and will usually not match the quoted sustained read/write specs as filesystems require updating of metadata.
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Re: Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:50 am

wow...okay. So 100Mbit is roughly 12.5MB/s right? Which is what I'm getting. Damn.

How would it help plugging a gigabit switch into a router that only uses 100Mbit ports? Wouldn't it still transfer at the 100Mbit speed?

(sorry I'm really ignorant with this networking stuff)

edit: oh wait, I think I get it. So plug the switch before the router and then connect the 2 Ethernet computers to that directly - is that the idea? And then use the router only for the wireless computer?
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Re: Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:54 am

Yup, exactly. All the file transfer would stay on the GigE side of things and never get near the slow router.
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Re: Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:57 am

Is it okay to leave the Speed & Duplex settings (on the NIC) at "Auto Negotiation" or should I put them on 1.0 Gbps Full Duplex?

btw I was wrong - one of the ethernet computers uses the Atheros Fast Ethernet Controller which doesn't have "Gbps Full Duplex" listed under Speed & Duplex. Damn. It's a crappy laptop that I'm sure I probably can't upgrade the NIC

If that's the case - that I can't upgrade the NIC on the laptop, then I guess I'm stuck with 100Mbit file transfers...?

Thanks you guys - I really appreciate your help!
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Re: Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:06 am

Generally you want to just leave everything set on automatic. That way it'll "do the right thing" no matter what type of network it is plugged into.

Yes, the NIC on that laptop is going to keep things at the same speed they're at now even if you upgrade the router or get a switch. A USB gigabit NIC for the laptop is a possibility, but USB 2.0 will still limit your effective throughput to around 30 MB/sec; at least that's better than 12 MB/sec.
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Re: Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:27 am

Ah interesting...a USB NIC ... thank you, I never would've thought of that at all. Even if I get 20MB/s consistently it'd be worth the price.

A gigabit USB NIC ... nice! I'll have to research them, see how hard they might be to configure. Can't be too complicated...

Thanks again!

[edit: ha! "too complicated" - guess not since every one I've looked at on newegg is plug n play. Pretty simple. Now I just have to find one that's actually Gigabit and not "Fast Ethernet" as apparently "fast ethernet" means 100Mbit and not 1000Mbit - boy I wish networking terms were less general and more accurate.]
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Re: Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:38 am

You can get in to some nasty scenarios if you hand configure some stuff and leave others at auto. Some stuff when hand configured goes dumb and doesn't respond to any of the autonegotiation, leaving the stuff running at auto to conclude it is 10Mb/s half-duplex. The speed will then get picked up correctly when it sees the format on the wire, but there is nothing to correct the duplex and you end up with a duplex mismatch - the hand configured end is at full duplex so sends when it likes, the auto configured end is at half-duplex so it considers the incoming packets as collisions and results in terrible throughput. Fortunately most stuff these days rather than going dumb keeps doing autoneg, but just for the speed/duplex that it was set to.

Short version, leave it all at autoneg.

And an Ewwww for the thought of a USB GigE, I thought PCI ones were bad enough! :cry:
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Re: Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:40 am

Quick guide to speeds when looking at marketing specs:
Ethernet = 10Mb/s
Fast Ethernet = 100Mb/s
Gigabit Ethernet = 1000Mb/s
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Re: Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:59 am

notfred wrote:And an Ewwww for the thought of a USB GigE, I thought PCI ones were bad enough! :cry:

Agreed. But for an old laptop with a 100 Mbit NIC it is still a step up.
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Re: Ethernet Speed question

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:09 am

Thanks NF - Thanks JBI - I'll prob just buy a new laptop and upgrade the router while I'm at it. Once I have a new Gigabit router I can tackle the wireless problems... maybe these super-thick (concrete) apartment walls are hampering the signal (although a simple reboot of the router fixes it so... guess the walls aren't the problem). Anyway - another day.

Thanks you guys - much appreciated as always!
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