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Very slow transfer rate over home network

This is a discussion on Very slow transfer rate over home network within the Archives forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I have two computers networked at my house. Both run Windows XP and are connected with a crossover cable. My


 
 
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Old 11-13-2003, 02:54 PM   #1
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I have two computers networked at my house. Both run Windows XP and are connected with a crossover cable. My transfer rate averages about 250 to 400 kbps. Before I restored both computers, just to "clean them up" a little, it used to average 3 to 4 mbps.

Everything seems to be working O.K. (Access to folders, transfering data, etc.) except the slow transfer of data. It now takes me around 45 minutes to sync the computers when I get home from the office. It used to take about 4-5 minutes depending on the files that needed to be transfered. By the way, I use a program called Backer 6.2 to sync.

Does anyone know how to improve the transfer rate over a network setup like this? I can't really find anything anywhere on the internet that explains what could possibly be causing the slow transfer.

Jamie
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Old 11-13-2003, 03:03 PM   #2
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Check your firewall (if installed) and your antivirus software. Disable it during a transfer.
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Old 11-13-2003, 04:04 PM   #3
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O.K. I disabled my firewall (Norton) and Anti-virus software (Norton) and it did not help. My transfer rate right now varies between 350 - 420 kbs still.

Does the transfer rate depend on other programs, services, etc. that are running?

Jamie
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Old 11-13-2003, 11:27 PM   #4
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Do you have your NIC's both set to full duplex? I'm assuming a 100Mbps network here, have you ruled out a cable barfing?
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Old 11-14-2003, 12:27 AM   #5
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Both of the NIC's were set to "Auto Mode" so I changed them to "100 Full". If that made a difference it was very small. I average a little better now at about 450 kbps.

I'm not sure what you mean by "barfing". If you mean that there may be something wrong with the ethernet cable then I don't believe so. The only thing I have ever done with it is to disconnect it when I restored the computers and then reconnected it. Other than that it hasn't been touched since I hooked it up over a year ago.

Jamie
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Old 11-14-2003, 01:14 AM   #6
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An update.

Just for fun I started playing with the duplex settings on both computers. I set them to 100 half, 10 full, 10 half and then mixed them up a little just to see if I could see a trend. I didn't see very much difference so I set them both back to "Auto Mode". To my surprise the transfer rate started to slowly increase while I transfered a file between the two computers. I now average about 1.4 mbps which is a big improvement. Although it is less than half the rate I used to get so I know that it is possible to increase it still.

I am going to ask a question and I hope I will get a lot of responses. What do most people average on their networks by way of transfer performance? Is 1.4 mbps average, slow, or fast? For me it is slow because of what I used to experience a week ago. I'm just curious since the network says 100mbps.

Jamie
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Old 11-14-2003, 01:31 AM   #7
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Is the hub or switch 100Mbps or 10Mbps? If you're using a 100Mbps switch/hub then you should see between 4-7 megs usually. If you're using 10Mbps you'd see around 500k to 1meg (in my experience these are correct numbers, your mileage may vary). What are you using to transfer files from one PC to another? As far as barfing I did mean that the cable went bad, sorry for the ambiguity.
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Old 11-14-2003, 02:19 AM   #8
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I don't have a hub or switch. Both computers came with a Realtek NIC Card built in. All I did was buy a cross-over cable from Best Buy, hooked it up to both computers, ran the network wizard and I was going. When I hover the mouse over the little LAN icon by the clock it says "speed 100.0 mbps.

Even when I thought the transfer rate was pretty good it rarely got over 4 mbps. It usually stayed between 3 and 4 mbps.

I use a program called Backer version 6.2 to sync both computers after I have worked on one of them so I always have a working backup of all my business and home files.

Jamie
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Old 11-14-2003, 02:22 AM   #9
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I just noticed something in "task manager". When I clicked on "Networking" under Network Bridge it says the Link Speed is 400 Mbps. I have no idea why it would say that instead of 100 Mbps.

I don't know if that info helps or not.

Jamie
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Old 11-14-2003, 04:39 AM   #10
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It depends on a lot of factors. Such as:

Efficiency of software.
Disk I/O speed.
CPU and Memory utilization.
Power and capabilities of NIC processing.
Speed of NIC's for xmitting/rcving (10, 100, 1000?)
Duplex settings.
Latency (length of wire, amount of equipment).

Theoretically, if you have two fast computers, a cross over cable, two decent NIC's, you should get close to the maximum theoretical throughput.

Try doing this: forget about your backup/sync software. Get a FTP daemon/service and put it on one (Here's a good one: http://download.com.com/3000-2165-10...age&tag=button). Then get a big file (like 100MB or bigger). Xfer the file back and forth to measure your throughput. If you're looking for a good test file, check out this movie, Warriors of the Net - it explains how network traffic works and it's pretty cool. http://www.warriorsofthe.net/cgi-bin...riors-1150.mpg

Ideally, you can either set your NICs to 100Mbps, Full Duplex, or both to autonegotiate. DO NOT set one to "hard coded" and the other to autonegotiate. If you take one to the office, use the office settings - if the office is auto, then use auto. If the office is 100 Full, then use that at home.

Full duplex means you can talk and listen at the same time. If you use half duplex, you can only talk or listen. Half duplex will cause collisions (which aren't necessarily bad) but will cause your throughput to suffer - just stick to Full Duplex, no one does half any more.
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Old 11-14-2003, 04:55 AM   #11
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sorry Jaime, read the post wrong again. Lack of sleep is causing my brain not to function on all cylinders this morning
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Old 11-14-2003, 11:15 AM   #12
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I downloaded, installed, and set-up the FTP program that you mentioned. I hope I set it up right. My only concern was with setting up Norton Personal Firewall correctly. Some of the directions are not real clear. Although, I can turn it off to do the transfers.

I do have one humble question. Now that it is installed on my desktop, how do I use it to transfer files between my two computers? I can't find any thing in the help documentation to figure it out.

I imagine that if I give someone my current IP address while I am connected to the internet they could download the files that are in my FTP directory? Just a guess. But how do I get access from my laptop on my network?

Jamie
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Old 11-15-2003, 07:16 PM   #13
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Setup the FTP software on one machine. On the other, from a command line, type:

FTP ipaddress.

You'll have to log in - use "anonymous"
Whatever@whatever.com.

Then, type: bin to change to binary.
Type: hash to see what it's doing.

To get the file, type get "filename"
To put the file, type put "filename"

Sorry, didn't have much time to go into detail, wife wants laptop. ;)
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Old 11-15-2003, 11:12 PM   #14
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Pseudocyber,

Thanks for the instructions. I still couldn't figure it out though. I ended up downloading a free ftp client (ftp commander 7.0). That seemed to work fine. My transfer rate was about 2.5 mbps.

Now I have another question. What do I gain with using an ftp client and server that I don't get with just transfering the files between the two computers by way of "My Network Places"?

Is the speed supposed to be better? Better diagnosis features?

Jamie
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Old 11-15-2003, 11:25 PM   #15
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This problem seems to be getting more weird for me all the time. Earlier today I tried to sync my computers and to my surprise the transfer rate reached up to 3 mbps. I was happy and thought that everything might be O.K. again... ...now to tonight. I tried again and maxed out about 250 kbps. It would have taken over an hour to sync so I terminated the process. An hour or so later I tried again, just for grins, and it started about 350 kbps and then slowly increased to about 1 mbps. It still took over 20 minutes but at least it finished.

Does anyone know how to do a real thorough troubleshooting of a simple home network? I am getting some good help from some very knowledgable people and am very, very thankful. I have looked all over the net and can't find anything. I am getting so frustrated it is not even funny any more.

As far as I know all my hardware is fine. It all worked two weeks ago before I restored both computers and the only thing I have done to the hardware is to unplug the cross-over cable and then reconnect it.

After I run the "set up new LAN or new home network" wizard the LAN connection becomes bridged. Is that really normal and/or does it really make a difference? I read somewhere that it isn't necessary. Also, I have never read in one place that explains that it is normal or necessary to have the LAN connection be bridged. No where have I ever seen it even talked about when talking about a small home network.

I would be very happy if someone can continue to help me out.

Thanks,

Jamie
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Old 11-16-2003, 12:57 AM   #16
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I was able to answer my own question. Yes you can Network 2 computers without the little LAN icon under the "Network Bridge" heading. However, I was able to browse my laptop from my desktop once and now I can't. I still haven't been able to browse my desktop from my laptop. So something is still screwed up.

On the other hand. I tried using my sync software and it does work for some reason. The bad news is that the transfer rate is a measly 360 kbps or so. It actually started at 372 and slowly decreased over 10 minutes to about 345. It was a very very consistant rate like I have never seen before. Usually it jumps around a lot.

So, I was happy for a few moments but now I'm back to the same old crap again. Very inconsistent browsing of the network and super slow speeds when transfering data.

Any further help from anyone who knows more than I do would greatly be appreciated.

Jamie

P.S. Am I the only one whose network is sooooo slowww?
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Old 11-16-2003, 02:24 PM   #17
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try setting your ethernet card settings to 10 Half Duplex.

Good luck,

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Old 11-16-2003, 05:16 PM   #18
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Why would you set a 100mbit NIC to 10mbit half-duplex to speed it up?
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Old 11-16-2003, 05:31 PM   #19
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That's what I was wondering John.

Jamie, yeah, there is some sophisticated stuff that could be done at this point. However it involves some sophisticated tools. You can try using a packet sniffer, but you'd have to know how to read it. You could get a hold of ethereel, save to a file, and let us take a look at it.

Also, you can run performance monitor during your tests to see what's going on.

Have we tried getting virus scanning software and getting the latest updates and running full scans? What about spyware programs? Two good ones are AdAware and Spybot.
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Old 11-16-2003, 08:02 PM   #20
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Yes, I have run adaware and it found nothing. I run it every once in a while just to be sure there isn't anything on my computer.

My virus protection is up to date and I run it about once a week. I am going to run it right now again just to make sure there isn't anything.

An update to my previous post: I can now browse both computers just fine without the computers being bridged. That's the way I always pictured it, because the bridging part confused me on my little setup. So that is good.

In fact after I manually set up the LAN, turned both computers off, turned them both back on and ran the wizard in Norton Personal Firewall, turned them both off and then on again, I transfered a 120 MB file from my desktop to my laptop and the rate was a wonderful 6.8 Mb average. I thought, "Very nice". Then I transfered it back from my laptop to my desktop and it came back around 930 Kbps average. I did that process several times and going from the desktop to the laptop averaged around 5.5 mbps and from the laptop to the desktop was only about 930 kbps. So, I figured that the problem might be with the laptop.

Now to today. I turned on both computers and tried to transfer files (just to see if I would have the same results) again. To my disappointment both computers transfered data at a staggering 230 to 300 kbps. What disappointment!!!!

I am thinking that the problem probably isn't as much hardware as it is a possible software conflict or problem. For those of you that know a lot more than I do what do you think.

I picture that if there is a hardware problem the system just doesn't work at all or the problem is more "predictabe" (I can't seem to find the right words to describe it). Predictable as in, always a slow transfer rate, not so variable.

On the other hand I picture it to be some sort of software problem because the results are do different all the time (one time I stretch to get over 1 mbps on the transfer and then I turn the computer off, try again later and I'm transferring files at lightning speed, and then later that day I'm back crawling). Could there be problems with a heated up processor, programs running in the background, services started up or stopped, etc.?

Thanks again for all the great ideas and help.

Jamie "still troubleshooting" Flora
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