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Is 230 feet of Wire w/17 clients to far?

Posted on 2004-08-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-03-18
I have a run of cable that is about 230 feet long that runs from Cisco 2950 #1 to Cisco 2950 #2 and at Cisco #2 I have 17 client machines. But the data rate to those 17 machines is noticably slow using a particular database driven vb6 application.
I can transfer a 60mb file to the servers main drive in about 30 seconds. But a request from a client for data from a flat file database, which only raises the servers CPU load to 1% and network load to 0.25% and totals about 1/4 mb, takes sometimes over 2 minutes. Client machines connected to Cisco #1, which is the switch the server is plugged into, takes only 1 second for the same data.

Everyone who is plugged into Cisco #1 (which is where the server is plugged into) can grab data off the server fast.

Everyone who is plugged into Cisco #2 (which is about 230 feet away) has a VERY noticable slower ability to get the same application data from the server.

This just baffles me and I have run out of ideas and heres why.....

1. If I run a NEW  230 foot cable , across the floor from Cisco #1 to Cisco #2 the data rate doesn't change.

2. If I install a NEW non programable 24 port SMC switch running at 100mbs, in place of Cisco#2, to either the new or old cable the data rate doesn't change.

3. If I turn off all but 5 computers that are connected to Cisco #2, and make only one request from the server, the data rate doesn't change.

5. If I run a 230 foot cable from Cisco #1 directly to a client machine which was slow ...the data transfer is FAST.

In all instances I am connecting to a 100mb port (at least that is what my laptop tells me when I jack into it)

Yet ONE machine connected to Cisco #2 WAS fast even when I switched its ports on the switch! :/  ...But when I hooked it up to the plain SMC switch it slowed back down like all the others :/

I have run etherpeek on the server and have recorded a small amount of network errors between client and server durng the data transfer but it wasn't a significant amount.

It seems to me that 17 machines, 9 of which are used all the time, should be fine on one 200 foot wire running at 100 full duplex but maybe I'm wrong....am I?

Thanks for any Ideas or suggestions as to what I can do to solve this problem.
Question by:Matrix1000
LVL 76

Accepted Solution

David Lee earned 750 total points
ID: 11860165
230 feet isn't too far.  That's born out by the results of test #5.  I don't think distance is the problem.  My first guess would be a mismatch on duplex settings with at least one of the clients.  I'm guessing that the adapters are probably set to autonegotiate.  In my experience autonegotiation doesn't always work right.  I'd run a two part test.  First, turn off 16 of the 17 machines.  Test the application and see if it seems slow.  Then bring another machine on and repeat the test.  At what point does the app seem to get slow?  Now, turn all but one machine off again.  Change the adapter settings on that PC and force the conenction to 100-full.  test the app.  Is it slow?  Move on to another PC and force its connection 100-full.  Keep doing this down through all 17 PCs and see if the app still gets slow.  One other thought, are the 17 machines slow when running any other applications or is it just this one app that's slow?  
LVL 11

Assisted Solution

infotrader earned 750 total points
ID: 11860417
I think the Cat5 should be able to handle upwards of 300+ feet.

There are a few possibilities I can think of:

1.  1 of the 5 computers might be broadcasting like crazy, or has a bad NIC card.  That way, it would really mess up your network transmission speed.  Since your Cisco#2 and Cisco#1 is connected via ONE Ethernet cable, then that could be your bottleneck.  (i.e.  It doesn't matter if you are running 100mbps on each machine... if one machine is using 99Mbps of the potential 100Mbps, then everybody else will have to share the remaining 1%.

2.  You may have QoS running on Cisco#1 that limits the bandwidth for other devices connected through it.

3.  Somehow one of the 5 machines is constantly talking to another machine on Cisco#1, thus taking up the bandwidth.  This could be a result of a virus, etc.

- Info
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 11861704
The cable between the two switches must be crossover. If it's cat5 or cat5e, the maximum length could be 100 metters, meaning 330 feet. Conect to switches administration and enable fast port on every port that connect to a computer, you don't need stp on these ports. You can enable fast port on every port, since it's a small network. Refresh the connection by restarting computers.

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