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Win95 , hub or other problem?

Dear Experts

   I run a computer shop. I have build recently 2 networked computer game
centers ,for   2customers ,so far .The equipments I used where as follows :

 1 3com 10baset hub 8port
6 Pcs : 233 mmx ,intel Tx shipset ,4 meg strio svga cards , 32 meg ram, wd hdds.
            3com ethernet cards.

The UTP cables were bought premade by experts.

The operating system is Windows 95

THE PROBLEM WAS that games such as "red alert" , "fifa 98" ,"need for speed"
 do not run smoothly over the networks ;The game always  Freeze for a second
and then get back to normal. In other words  there are jurky moves when moving the
units in "red alert" for example , specialy when playing over the network against
real oponents. So i tried to isolate the problem in the following way:

1) I have tried different type of 10baset hubs and ethernet cards:did not work.

2)I have disconnected 4 of the 6 Pcs from the network and tried to play
  "red alert" on 2 Pcs only in order to see if the bottleneck was the hub
  but the jurky moves did not go away.

3) I finaly tried to play "red alert"  with 2 Pcs and  a 100baset hub at home
    It ran very well .Therefore I thought THIS WAS THE ANSWER ,BUT

  While visiting another network game center I saw the same equipments
I had used ( same 3com 10baset hub ,same PCs) ,and the strange thing is
that "red alert" and other games were running without any problems .
The only difference between my network and the one i have visited
was the operating system :THE OTHER NETWORK WAS RUNNING


1) Is it possible that windows NT might solve the problem ?

2) I have installed windows nt but "red alert " would not run on
    windows NT . Altought I am sure the center i had visited was
    running red alert over an NT os.How to run "Red alert" on NT4

3) I have noticed that many network game centers use 10baset hubs
   Is there a patch for win95 that makes games run better over a

4) Could the problem be something else?

Thank you

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1 Solution
The problem is ethernet is shared media and one machine can talk on the wire at once,  so if machine 1 is transmitting data then machine 2 has to wait for the ethernet to become ready, when machine 1 is done transmitting then machine 2 can begin to use the wire.  So machine 2 is starving for packets while machine is using the wire to transmit his data.

The solution is simple but not cheap,  you need a 10baset switch
that will give all machines 10mbs at the same time and the media will no longer be shared.  All machines can transmit at the same time and no one will starve for packets.
Your game perforance should increase 10 fold.
A 4 port 10base-T switch you can get for about $200.00 or maybe a little less.

fadihAuthor Commented:
How about the other gamecenter which used the same hub and resources, but
had better performance?
Are you sure it is the same hub and not a switch and are they running tcp or ipx these things make a very big difference.
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ipx cuz thats what those games uses
mmm try setting full duplex on your 3com cards
shouldn't matter if all win95
id go for 32 more megs in each
did it at least improved when you hooked up 2 machines on 10baseT?
fadihAuthor Commented:
spacebrain :It did not improve when i hooked only 2 machines  on the 10baset hub.
                   Is Ipx faster than tcp/ip on a local net? How can you force 95 to use ipx
                   protocol instead of tcp/ip?

 wayneb: I am sure they are using the same 3com 10baset hub that i am using.
              Will ipx help?
most games uses ipx as protocol
i dont think those3 games run under nt cuz nt doesnt permit a direct disk access like some games requires, they might have a nt server though
i have a network at home using 10base2 under win95 running multiple games such as total annhilation, starcraft, nhl98, nfs2, and i have no problem
might wanna check how many megs of ram your competitor as
fadihAuthor Commented:
spacebrain: My competitors have 32 meg of ram too.That Can't be the problem
                 in my case, because when playing on each machine individualy
                 the problem  disapear.
                Is ipx faster than tcp/ip? Is having one Nt server and win95 clients better?
               If so why?
              Red Alert could be played over nt4 ,because there are many cheat utilities
             made for nt4 and win95 ,on the internet.I just don't dnow how.
what kind of 3com cards are they, isa or pci
are you using the latest driver for them
are they set at full duplex?
what protocols are set up under network neibourghood?
on a small network having a server wont help much
as for wich protocol is faster i dunno but ipx is required in lots of games such as nfs2
You can try to run the 3com cards in full duplex but the hubs have to support this on every port and few do.
fadihAuthor Commented:
In the contol panel -network ,i have all the protocols added  tcp/ip ,ipx ,netbios ....
If i want to use Ipx not tcp/ip ,what should i do?

Finaly , how to play red alert on windows nt4 ( i am sure it is possible) ?
You should remove all protocols that you are not using, this will optimize your system for a specific protocol and it may run a little better.  It seems as if you are running netbios over ipx when you should run just plain ipx without the over head of running ipx over netbios.  
with the software included with the 3 com cards look if it is full duplex
fadihAuthor Commented:
Finaly , how to play red alert on windows nt4 ( i am sure it is possible) ?
To play red alert on NT service pack 3 as to be installed. if any anything else is required i dont know but try installing sp3 (download from microsoft) and then run the game
I agree with wayneb, remove all protocols except the one you need.  Also do these games run off of a cdrom drive ?  I have seen this problem with games running from variable speed drives.
Forget 10 Base T and use 10 Base 2 instead. Not quite as sophisticated, but I've never had problems, and it's a damn sight cheaper than buggering around with a hub. You should be able to run all cards on full duplex, it seems OK on my setup.
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